What a joy it was last night to see the City’s leading lights once again gathered in one room again at the City A.M. awards, held in the ancient surroundings of The Guildhall.
For all the ingenuity and innovation that came out of the pandemic, with video calls and screen sharing replacing working lunches and business travel, it was a delight to see handshakes and hugs the order of the day once again.
What became apparent during the pandemic was the City’s unique position as a local community that just happens to be at the centre of the financial world. And that community as we know is not just the CEOs of our biggest businesses nor the superstar lawyers and traders, but the sandwich shop owners, the barmen and barmaids, the IT team who overnight picked up the City and took it into the homes of the stockbroker belt and beyond.
The City has been a global trading hub for centuries but the last two years have reminded us that each of us who work here add a little something to that history. Long may it continue.
Our winners were a mix of the disruptors and the established firms, the new and the old. Fintech showed up in a bigger way than ever before, and the innovators who kept the City alive during the worst of the pandemic received plaudits too. AstraZeneca, our business of the year, demonstrated that even in the cut-and-thrust of the corporate world there is scope for doing the (very) right thing, delivering its life-saving vaccine at cost price. The law firms and accountants who grease the wheels of commerce, too, were out in force. And for the first time hospitality businesses were heavily represented on the short-list, acknowledging the vital role those businesses have in ensuring this is a City for work and play in equal measure.
The winners were well deserved, the shortlist all there on merit. London is back, and nowhere more so than the Square Mile.