Mark Carney isn’t the kind of man to lose his temper in public. Perhaps he isn’t even the kind of man to lose his temper at all. Still, if he was ever to come close to doing so it may well have been at this week’s Treasury Select Committee hearing, where he once again came up against his old Brexit sparring partners, the Tory MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker.
Rees-Mogg can pull off the trick of combining effortless good manners with withering criticism, while his colleague Baker likes to engage the Bank’s governor in heavy, technical economic debate. At the most recent outing, it was Rees-Mogg quoting the Bank’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, that may have got under Carney’s skin. After all, Haldane has basically just apologised on behalf of the Bank of England for getting the pre-Brexit economic forecasts so wrong. He may as well have said “I apologise on behalf of Mark Carney”. When Rees-Mogg quoted Haldane the governor could only snap back that it was his own actions at the bank that prevented the gloomy predictions from coming true. More than one Twitter user enjoyed this exchange, as did Baker, who later lamented the fact that “Jacob beat me to it”.
As well as the fun to be had in quoting Carney’s own chief economist at him, this Brexit-backing duo also took heart from the governor’s observation that if the EU tries to extract too high a price during the negotiations it will likely hurt itself more than it hurts us. This is a perspective that some in the City (and indeed, plenty on the continent) have voiced ever since the vote last summer. Put simply, the EU faces too many problems of its own to take its frustrations out on the Brexit negotiations. For example, there is currently nowhere else in Europe than can provide EU businesses with the kind of capital, financing or services that the City of London offers. It may pain them to admit this, but if Carney can see it then so can they.
Trump's Russia file gets Twitter excited
The dodgy report on Trump, put together by an ex-spook, certainly got people talking this week. The document alleged that the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB, had a file on the President-elect, detailing his unconventional sexual tastes. Just as the story was breaking, some Twitter users got excited by a post that said “Read the full FSB report here”. Imagine their disappointment at finding the latest survey of members by the Federation of Small Businesses.
What comes next for City’s £200m grandee?
One of the City’s top dogs, Michael Spencer, has cashed in over £200m worth of shares in TP Icap after selling the voice-broking business to Tullett Prebon in a deal worth over £1bn. So the only question is, what does he do next? A source tells me his investment focus will be on fintech and all things disruptive. We can expect news in the coming months. Let’s just hope this renowned wine-buff still has the time to host his famous City lunches...
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This is not the best way to get ahead
All politicians like good media coverage. There are no exceptions to this rule. Similarly, political staff enjoy pleasing their bosses by delivering on that coverage. This is best achieved by the politician being free-thinking, original, insightful or controversial. However, one over-eager staffer jumped the gun and emailed one of our journalists this week saying “is there anything XXXX could say that would generate maximum coverage?” Desperate times...