Monday, 27 February 2012


I was delighted to return to Russia last week, the first time in many years and the first time during the Russian winter!

I was there to meet and sign an MOU with Valery A. Yazev President of the Russian Gas Society. We agreed to cooperate and market opportunities in the Russian energy sector to Commonwealth investors.

Russian Companies are looking to access finance via IPO and other means and the City of London is one of their key target and we have agreed to work together on a Russian Energy Forum early next year.

Enhancing links with Russia is part of CBC’s work to increase commonwealth trade with the wider economy and we are looking forward to receiving Russian business delegations at CBC’s investment events around the Commonwealth. This MOU follows a similar one signed in China last year.

It was a pleasure to be back in Russia, particularly in the winter – Moscow under snow is a site not to be missed.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Banking and the Wider Economy

The UK is currently in the midst of banking bonus season, there are legitimate concerns regarding the size of bankers bonuses, wider society is hurting in this time of austerity while the banking sector is seen to be doing business as usual. There seems to be a real disconnect between the financial services and the rest of the economy.

While the Government needs to reflect public sentiment and explore ways of tackling overly large bonuses and ensuring that they are linked to success and never reward failure, it must always act in ways that preserves London’s pre-eminence as the world’s leading financial sector. This leaves the lion’s share of responsibility to tackle bonus and repairing the relationship with the wider economy in the hands of the banks themselves and they need to take this seriously.

Much has been said of the importance of the City of London to the UK economy but little about the City’s responsibility to the rest of the world. London is the developing world’s finical centre of choice to raise finance, there are more African companies listed in London than anywhere else in the world except Johannesburg. 40 of the FTSE 100 have at least 25% of their revenues from emerging markets (predominantly Commonwealth countries) many have substantially more.

If the damage to the City’s reputation is not tackled and London loses its status as a world leading financial centre them impact will go far beyond just the UK economy.