It's been a long time in coming, perhaps, but London is now thepreeminent financial centre in the world.The Square Mile is home to the mostvibrant and increasingly most successful financial sector on the planet, and itdrives the UK economy. Here is our list of the City's biggest hitters
THE TOP FIVE
Stanley Fink, 48 MAN GROUP, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN Fink is the UK's senior hedge fundplayer after transforming Man from sugar trader to global hedge fund manager. Ahealth scare in 2004 prompted him to devote more time to charitable work and heis now a major philanthropist. He lives in north London, France and Spain andowns the Hotel Kilimanjaro in the ski resort of Courchevel.
Marcus Agius, 61 BARCLAYS, CHAIRMAN Agius is smooth, urbane and the classicBritish banker. Ran Lazards and BAA where he rebuffed Goldman Sachs's offer ofmaking a friendly takeover of the airports operator as a way of fending off anapproach from Spain's Ferrovial. Merger specialist Guinness/Grand Metropolitanand Granada/Carlton were two of his.
A passionate gardener, he also chairs Kew Gardens Foundation. Collects art -his wife Kate is the daughter of Edmund de Rothschild and a leading dealer inold masters.
Christopher Hohn, 40 CHILDREN'S INVESTMENT FUND, FOUNDER The original "locust"-the term used to describe him by former Deutsche Borse boss,Werner Seifert,when under siege from Hohn's hedge fund, the Children's Investment Fund.Hohnhas created his own aura in the City.
Old guard don't know what to make of him; he makes a fortune for his fund withaggressive positions then gives it all away to a charitable foundation run byhis American wife Jamie.
See also Society
Michael Spencer, 52 ICAP, FOUNDER AND CEO Has built the world's largestinterdealer broker. An astrophysicist at Oxford, he has a brilliant mind and isthe City's richest self-made man. Famous for wild parties but more staid now heis treasurer of the Tories. Known to everyone as Spencer or Spence. Hugelywell-regarded in the City, in both dealing rooms and boardrooms. Originallywanted to be an Australian bush pilot.
John Duffield, 68 NEW STAR, FOUNDER Oxford biochemistry graduate who wanted toprove to Sir Charles Clore he wasn't marrying his daughter Vivien for the money- so went on to make a fortune of his own. Colourful, abrasive and the founderof two successful fund managers: Jupiter, since sold, and New Star. Said tohave created more millionaires in the City than anyone else. A keen farmer anddresses like one, even in the office. Divorced from Vivien, who said he was "awonderful fund manager but a lousy husband".
Clara Furse, 50 LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE, CEO Cometh the hour, cometh the woman.Furse has grown in stature and popularity since defending the LSE againsttakeovers. Few people wanted the job but she has made it her own. Private andlow-key, she has an impish sense of humour but a steely resolve.
Born in Canada to Dutch parents, educated around the world and speaking fivelanguages, she is married to Richard, a former Barings banker who now works forbreakingviews.com.
Damon Buffini, 45 PERMIRA, MANAGING PARTNER The son of a gas board worker mumand an African-American serviceman, he went to Cambridge, grew Permira andamassed a [pounds sterling]100m fortune. Led the private equity fight.
A churchgoer, he is the most prominent black man in British business and theface of the new City - and blessed with an intellect described as "inhuman". Noairs and graces - he drinks lager and greets people with "hello, mate". Chosenby Gordon Brown to sit on the new Business Council for Britain.
Mervyn King, 59 GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND Five years into the job andKing seemed secure. Then came Northern Rock. While the Bank didn't do well atfirst King put up a robust defence to MPs. Cerebral, with a dry wit, he remainsa respected and pivotal figure.
Michael Alen-Buckley, 49 RAB CAPITAL, FOUNDER The AB in RAB, one of the mostsuccessful hedge fund operators in town. …