Peerage hailed as spur to Asian businessmen


The chairman of the London Metal Exchange, Raj Kumar Bagri CBE, received the highest honour of any UK businessman in the New Year Honours, a life peerage, and he hailed it as proof that there were no barriers to Asians in the UK.

"I am proud of my origins. This will be a great encouragement to Asian businessmen and other ethnic communities in the UK," said Mr Bagri.

The LME came in for criticism earlier this year when a multi-million pound copper trading scandal was unearthed at the Japanese trading company Sumitomo. Mr Bagri pointed out yesterday that Sumitomo was not a member of the LME, but despite this he had led moves to reform and strengthen the LME's operations.

A number of businessmen were knighted, including Robert Horton, chairman of Railtrack, and David Rowland, chairman of Lloyd's of London. Mr Rowland successfully steered the debt-laden London insurance market through a pounds 3.2bn restructuring this year.

Other business knights included Michael Jenkins, OBE, chairman of the City's Futures and Options Association and The London Clearing House, for services to the finance industry. John Laing, CBE, DL, chairman of his own building company, John Laing Plc, received a knighthood "for services to the construction industry".

Peter Davis, chief executive of Prudential insurance company, was awarded his knighthood for services to training and industry.