Justin Welby, the new British Archbishop of Canterbury, has a secret. His middle name is: Portal.
This does not indicate that Welby is linked to a different universe. It may, however, reflect his upper middle class upbringing: Portal was his mother’s maiden name. Welby attended both Eton and Cambridge and is related to former Conservative Party Chairman Baron Butler of Saffron Walden.
Welby is not the only member of the British establishment with a distinctive name: George Osborne is famously known in full as Gideon George Oliver Osborne. Nor are instruments of the state and church unique in having strange and multiple middle names: they also preponderate among investment bankers and hedge fund managers.
Take, for example, the seemingly parochially-named Paul Marshall, CIO of Marshall Wace. Marshall’s full name is: Paul Roderick Clucas Marshall. At Brevan Howard, Alan Howard’s full name is Alan Eldad Howard. Meanwhile, JPMorgan employs both a Mischa Alexander Nikoli Mikhail Dimitri Pierre Serge Pakhomoff and a Calixte Charles France Fernand DeVerdelon.
The incidence of lengthy and unusual middle names (which are frequently not disclosed by the individual in question but can be elicited by, for example, checking the FSA register), is an indication that financial services remains a popular career with aristocratic types – both from the UK and continental Europe.
“You’re more likely to have multiple middle names if you’re from a titled or upper class family,” says Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage. “It’s customary. Some families like to use the same names or a combination of names in a different order. There’s been rather a flourish in the use of middle names over the last few generations.”
Before attending an interview, it may be worth investigating the full name of the individual you’re meeting in order to get a better handle on who you’re dealing with. Notably, however, multiple middle names aren’t popular among US bankers of breeding: they simply call themselves the I, II or III according to their position in the lineage, points out Kidd.
This would seem to indicate that JPMorgan also employs various minor members of the US aristocracy. In London, for example, it is home to Richard Allen Thompson III, Mr John Louis Montovano III and Alfonso Pitts Robinson III, among others.