Simon English: Brace yourself for a bloodbath in the City

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The Independent Online

Outlook How bad are things in the City? Evidently, terrible. Anecdotally, even worse.

After dribbling his way through a post-lunch meeting the other day, a stock-broking correspondent reports that of the 25 people present, only three had any real reason to be in the room or meaningful work to do once time was finally called and the prisoners allowed out.

The rest were desperately trying to justify their jobs through presenteeism, embarrassingly blatant sucking-up tactics and having sharp pencils always available.

The correspondent concedes that he was not one of the three with a purpose and fears that his future is precarious (he happens to think the rest of us will be basically fine, for what that is worth).

He also says since there presently seems to be zero secondary market for bond and equity trades, the job losses at the end of the summer when all of the boss-types have returned from their French villas and started to survey the situation could be bloody indeed.

Something like 400,000 people work in the City of London and Canary Wharf. It is extremely likely that this number will be much lower by the end of the year.

Large firms with stock-market listings that have to make it public when they sack 2,000 people may be quiet on that score just now.

Smaller and medium-sized firms with no obligation to tell the rest of us what they are doing have been hacking away for a few weeks.

If you're pleased that wheeler-dealer trader types are getting their comeuppance, have a word with yourself.

City folk are people too. Some of them.