Jitters in the Square Mile
Lascelles, David, New Statesman (1996)
The City is on edge, fretting about threats from European financial centres and hi-tech trading.
For centuries the City of London has survived through a mixture of buccaneering and plain muddling through. No conscious growth strategy put it at the top of the international financial league, no national plan enticed 500 banks in from 100 different countries, no tax incentives made it home to the multi-trillion-dollar international foreign exchange and bond markets.
The flexibility and pragmatism that are the City's hallmarks have encouraged entrepreneurship and innovation on a scale never previously seen in financial history. Yet there is a noticeable frisson rippling through the square Mile these days. People are asking: can it really go on like this? Will the City's freewheeling days soon be numbered? Has the time finally come for some heavy strategic thinking?
The immediate trigger for these anxieties is European monetary union, with the new financial order that it holds out for Europe: unified markets that may no longer see London as their hub, the rise of rival financial centres, the imposition of new centralised tax and regulatory regimes to smother all that famous flexibility and pragmatism. But further out there is an even more unsettling prospect: that the growth of alternative methods of financial dealing on the Internet will do away …
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Publication information: Article title: Jitters in the Square Mile. Contributors: Lascelles, David - Author. Magazine title: New Statesman (1996). Volume: 128. Issue: 4453 Publication date: September 13, 1999. Page number: Not available. © Not available. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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