Saturday, 18 December 2010

City is biggest tax payer, and don't you forget it - Saturday 18th December 2010

Article from 16th December Daily Telegraph business news:

"The financial services industry regained its place as the largest individual contributor to Government finances in the latest financial year, according to figures from the City of London Corporation.

"Taxes paid by financial services companies were worth an estimated £53.5bn in the 12 months to March in a report produced by PricewatherhouseCoopers. ....the financial firms (were) the largest contributor to the Exchequer, comprising 11.2pc of the total UK tax take."

North Sea oil was in second place, distribution businesses were third and manufacturing businesses fourth in terms of the contributions to tax revenues.

Importantly, the reported figure does not include the tax paid by financial services professionals subject to the 50pc tax rate or those hit by the bank payroll tax.

Those numbers - £53.4bn, 11.2% - should be on the tip of the tongue for anyone wanting to promote the importance of the City of London to their friends and colleagues. This is what pays for our public services all over the UK (not just in London). If we want to be less dependent on financial services in future, by all means grow other businesses so that they become relatively bigger, but don't let's set out to reduce the absolute size and value-generating ability of the City.

Writer's cramp for Christmas - w/c 13th December 2010

We may be approaching Christmas but there is a year-end wave of physical mail to go out to members.

Court Assistant David Williams has produced a fabulous souvenir brochure of our Royal Charter celebrations, which encloses a DVD produced through the good offices of Court Assistant Peter Rees and Freeman Richard Teideman. They all hit the postal service late last week and most seemed to have arrived before the big snows of 17th December.

Christmas cards have been bought (from a brain tumour research charity) signed and sent to all members. Yes we could have done an electronic one and donated the money saved to charity, but it's not quite so personal is it?

The Marketors' Trust is making a special appeal for funds to support a second undergraduate student from the poorer boroughs around the City, so letters on that are going to all members too.

It's easy to forget just how much time it takes to write, stuff, seal and send 450 items. As always, it was a team effort.

House of Illustration display and auction at Sotheby's - Tuesday 14th December 2010

This was not strictly an invitation in my capacity as Master, but it was so interesting that I have to tell you about it.

Liveryman Ardi Kolah is a trustee of the House of Illustration, a charity promoting and preserving what they call the world's most accessible art form.
He kindly invited me to their exhibition of illustrations (mainly) from children's books of the 20th century, including Quentin Blake, Kate Greenaway, Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Nick Park, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham, Arthur Ransome, E H Shepard and Margaret Tarrent. What a feast for the eyes and heart.

The highlight of the evening was a reading by Peter Capaldi of two extracts from 'A Christmas Carol', accompanied by Quentin Blake live-illustrating the story, with his hand, pen and paper projected onto a screen so we could watch the drawing emerge. A touch of the Rolf Harrises, but on a smaller scale.

Some of the illustrations were auctioned on 16th December, raising about £70,000 for the charity. Good luck to it.

Anthony Seldon's blueprint for education - Wednesday 8th December 2010

Sir John Cass's Foundation, a charity established in 1748, has given millions of pounds for educational purposes ranging from nursery to postgraduate levels. It is one of the oldest educational charities in London, but it got off to a shaky start when the founder died in the process of signing his will. It took 30 years to get the contested will accepted.

Since then it has forged forwards and we are proud that Tony Mullee, a Marketor, is its current CEO. An annual Lecture programme was established four years ago. This year's lecture was given by Dr Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College, who addressed the questions, "Why schools? Why universities?"

At the heart of his recommendations were the concepts of breadth (8 aptitudes: logic, linguistic, creative, physical, moral, spiritual, leadership, character - I think), creativity and happiness in education. The crucial skills were to teach children and students to become independent learners and problem-solvers.

After the lecture, Trevor Brignall (Chairman of the Marketors' Trust) and I presented a cheque to the Dean of Cass Business School, Richard Gillingwater CBE, for a bursary of £10,000 to support an MBA student research project. The topic for this year's project is still to be agreed with our Think Tank, but last year's winner, Scott Addison, subsequently presented his work to the Think Tank on 15th December. Scott received a distinction for his studies (see earlier post) so let's hope the Marketors are doing their bit to encourage independent learning and problem-solving.

Court Dinner, Watermen's Hall - Tuesday 7th December 2010

My last formal internal event for 2010 (but plenty of other activities still to go) was the annual dinner for members of the Court and their partners, this year accompanied by the Chairmen of Committees. This is a chance for people who have done so much work for the Marketors this year to get together for a 'family' evening.

It was also a chance for me to thank them all for their wonderful support and assistance. Mike Kearsley is stepping down from the Court after many years of effective service to the Marketors, leading the Regimental Liaison Committee and the Freedom Committee. Past Master Steve Kennett is retiring from being a trustee of the Marketors Trust, of which he is a past Chairman. We all expressed our special thanks to them both.

It's the time of year when people ask you what the highlight of the year has been. Apart from the obvious - the Royal Charter - for me the best things have been the people, the relationships and the learning.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Up the aisle with Huw Edwards - 6th December 2010

Well that was something I didn't expect to happen in my year as Master.

Huw Edwards, BBC newsreader and anchor man, was the guest speaker at the annual carol service for the communications industry at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street. The Marketors are regular participants and this year I was fortunate enough to be invited to write and read the Bidding (welcome). So we processed in together, behind the wonderful St Bride's choir, who led the music for the service.

As always, it was a wonderful occasion, just nicely focussing our minds forward for Christmas. A big thank you to Archdeacon David Meara, who is also our Honorary Chaplain, and to the whole team at St Brides for making us so welcome.

And afterwards we discovered a cosy bar in the basement of the Bridewell Theatre, thanks to Court Assistant David Williams's careful research and preparation. It's fair to say that a good time was had by all, including the Master who, after her last Court meeting in the chair earlier that afternoon, was beginning to feel a little demob happy.

Raymond Yiu wins top prize - 30th November 2010

Wonderful news - Raymond Yiu, who composed the Marketors' Fanfare, Tubae Fori, for our Charter celebrations, won the 'Chamber' section of the 2010 British Composition Awards for his composition 'North West Wind'. Highlights of the award were featured on Radio 3.

Well done Raymond - we're proud of you!

PS Marketors can hear Tubae Fori on the DVD of the Charter event which has recently been sent to all members.

Presenting the new FSG booklet to the Lord Mayor - Tuesday 30th November 2010

My apologies for the gap of more than two weeks since the last post.

The Financial Services Group of livery companies, now twelve in number since the International Bankers decided to become full members, produces a booklet each year which is presented to the new Lord Mayor, shortly after his or her installation.

The booklet describes the aims of the FSG, gives some facts and figures and explains how each company is supporting the current Lord Mayor's 'City of London: City of choice' theme.

The FSG's Convenor, Jeremy Goford (a Past Master Actuary), led the group of representatives who witnessed this year's presentation. If you would like a copy of the booklet, Marketors can get one from our Clerk, otherwise please contact the FSG Secretary, Michael Chitty at