Lawson Muncaster, co-founder and managing director of City A.M., says Yes.
I popped out for dinner last night – suitably dressed. No thanks to the powers that be, City nightlife is alive and well.
We’ve had it from all sides, with reports that banks are to place curfews on staff just the latest episode. But it’s not just the banks. Government was happy to tell businesses to get on board with the Olympics, but as soon as firms committed to sponsorship, they were told they couldn’t entertain clients.
It shows that placing restrictions on social interaction doesn’t help anyone. If we had more socially developed relationships between businesses, the banking crisis wouldn’t have been as bad.
The future of the City relies on the decent, fair relationships that enable people to work through collective problems. Banks can do what they like. But in my view, these rules are draconian, and amount to treating your greatest asset – people – with no respect. And if any chief executive wants to take the debate further, you know where I am.
David Buik, market commentator at Panmure Gordon, says No.
Four decades ago, lunch at the Baron of Beef in Gutter Lane – some cow washed down with a bottle of Lynch-Bages – was an acceptable style of entertainment by a broker.
The advent of the euro-dollar market and the abolition of exchange controls triggered the mushrooming of hostelries all over the City, with the Jamaica Coffee House and the Grill & Cheese being left in the shade.
The world of investment banking and derivative trading flourished at the turn of the century, which raised the quality and the variety of entertainment to new and occasionally unacceptable heights.
Post the banking crisis, the regulators have been enforcing a severe code of conduct on City workers, with limited entertainment. This is regrettable, though not surprising.
With the FCA all over compliance officers like a bad rash, the City’s watering holes will be mainly flushed with personal revellers. I must be thankful that the 1980s and 1990s were wonderful years.