Monday, 20 February 2012

The 25th Annual Tacitus Lecture at the Guildhall

I joined 800 guests at this annual lecture, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of World Traders, which has become a firm fixture in the City calendar. This year the speaker was Terry Smith* and his theme was “Is Occupy Right?” His short answer was “how would you know?” as the messages are not coherent.

However, he then embarked on a forensic and entertaining analysis of the history of financial services in the City and abroad from Big Bang (in the City that is) in the 1980s and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 in the USA and the consequences of both.

I worked in the City in the 1980s before and through Big Bang and the changes were overwhelming and not all benign. It would be silly of me to try and summarise the detail of the lecture but I urge you to read it on the World Traders website.

His recommendations to cure the ills we are currently suffering may seem radical but he made a very compelling case and has given me, and I am sure everyone else there, much food for thought.

* Terry Smith is the Chief Executive of Tullett Prebon plc, one of the largest inter-dealer money brokers in the world which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and also the CEO of Fundsmith, a Fund Management business he launched in November 2010.

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