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EDITOR’S TAKE: Remarkably, the City is hip again

If you can measure the extent of your success by the vitriol of your enemies, the City is doing well

Last month, Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister who has been advocating La Défense as a chic continental alternative to the square mile, went on the attack.

Lagarde told The Figaro that ‘foreign banks’ (AKA. banks in the City of London) simply aren’t “playing the game” when it comes to paying traders. Most particularly, she said they’re splashing out on guaranteed bonuses after the French Banking Federation (FDF) explicitly outlawed such things.

Her complaints were echoed by FDF president Georges Pauget. “We opted for a one year ban on guaranteed bonuses,” Pauget told L’Agefi. “If others don’t follow before the next G20 meeting in the autumn, we can’t stay separate from market realities.”

Guaranteed bonuses may seem fantastical to anyone out of a job. But they’re becoming mandatory if you want to hire senior revenue generators in London.

After a bad 12 months in which prospective tax increases and big job cuts dealt blows to the City’s appeal, the resumption of guarantees is helping to make London cool again.

The City’s cause is furthered by currency depreciation and falling house prices. According to Mercer’s cost of living index, London was the third most expensive city in the world for expats in 2008 and the second most expensive in 2007. This year it ranks 16th.

Can the City remain resurgent? Yes, if it manages to sidestep efforts to bring it into line with the rest of Europe. Unfortunately, this isn’t assured: proposals to subject the City to European majority voting on financial regulations, could yet see the likes of guaranteed bonuses outlawed in the Square Mile as well as La Défense.

Comments (9)

Comments
  1. Is the City the next Goldman Sachs?

  2. Luckily for us the days of anyone listening to what France says/wants have long gone!!

  3. What’s ‘France’?

  4. Is France not the next Goldman Sachs?

  5. I’m French but I’m happy that nobody is listening to what the French Government is saying because:
    * I’m a Banker (and not a f…… civil servant);
    * I work hard and I want to be rewarded for that; and
    * the French Government is made of low level narrow minded demagogues

  6. @Anglo
    I believe it’s part of germany

  7. A land inhabited by ‘cheese eaters’ as groundskeeper Willy would so eloquently put it.

  8. it’s a place where they make films that involve 2 people talking about philosophy , face to face and nothing else for 4 hours in a barely lit room, no flashbacks, no special affects, no nothing.

    5 minutes from the end, when the couple have finished talking, they will get naked, have teary eyed s*x for a minute, finished off with 4 minutes of chain smoking.

    The french leave the cinema, confident in the fact that we brainless anglo saxons are watching Transformers 2 and being entertained, while they can pat themselves on the back for being so so so clever in watching total drivel.

  9. It will be nice to see London return to the good old days, however a more sensible and realistic approach to paying guarantee bonuses should be encouraged. The reality is that the EU will be adamant with their financial regulations, and London might just have to toe the line. The upside will be to keep property prices in check!!

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