Tonight at the Guildhall, City A.M. will once again host its annual awards night – a celebration of the best and brightest of the Square Mile and beyond, and the contribution of enterprising private businesses, CEOs and entrepreneurs to our national life. It will, as it always is, be a fantastic occasion.
The competitive advantage of our awards, so to speak, happens to be the same as the City’s competitive advantage. Rather than focus on just one sector, we focus on the range of professions which make up the Square Mile; from the lawyers to the accountants to the dealmakers to the restaurateurs and entrepreneurs. The City would not be the City if you took just one part out.
That is ever more important as we establish the Square Mile’s post-Brexit future. There is no question in our mind that the City will remain a thriving global financial centre; betting against London has rarely proved a wise investment. Nowhere else in Europe and few places in the world offer the range of services offered here; a one-stop shop, as it were, for global trade, commerce and finance.
But it is also true that we must now double down on those individual strengths. Our insurers and pension funds must be freed up to invest, as Phoenix’s Andy Briggs says later in these pages. Our banks must be given sensible capital requirements and allowed to compete, responsibly, on a global scale. Other sectors, too, need their own openings to exploit.
All of that is perhaps for another time. The awards this evening will be a celebration of excellence, yes, but also a recognition of resilience. During the pandemic, it appeared for all the world that the Square Mile would change forever, and yet for at least three days of the week it looks the same as it always did. In the teeth of an economic slowdown, as we are now, there are still precious few signs of the City’s slowing down. May that continue to be the case.