The Square Mile and Me: Aon’s Dominic Christian on the Lamb, the Broker and the City’s green ambitions
Every week we ask the great and good of the Square Mile to share their memories of the City – and their favourite pubs and restaurants. This week it’s Dominic Christian, Chair of Aon’s Global Reinsurance Solutions business and a City councilman
First memory of the Square Mile
Scary, surreal, fascinating. Suits everywhere. Everyone seemed very important. The place closed at 8pm. No hotels, no gyms, no culture, yet everyone seemed very buzzed.
Did you feel qualified to work in the city?
Not at all. I had a not very good degree in history and was working as a road sweeper. Someone gave me a break. I have never forgotten it. I went from road sweeper to risk trader in the space of 72 hours.
How did you get to where you are?
I came to London and to insurance without friends or connections. I was enquiring and wanted to be out in the field. I had confidence – I thought I could thrive at any level, which indeed most of us can, but knew that I would need to be constantly learning. With this in mind, I have always worked with inspirational leaders, patient clients and knowledgeable colleagues. To me, the oft quoted “You can see further by standing on the shoulders of giants” always made sense. I started in a broker with 18 people where I went out to buy the chairman cigars. Now I work in a broker that is a bit bigger. I don’t smoke.
Most memorable lunch
Got to be going to lunch with Martin Williams at one of his “M” restaurants with City A.M.‘s Lawson Muncaster. The first time I have been served a drink by a robot.
The Lamb / The Broker / anywhere in Leadenhall Market when I was younger. Nowadays, I must admit that Fortnum & Mason in the Royal Exchange can occupy me.
What’s the one thing you love about the city?
It brings together, like no other, the qualities of a financial training campus, a trading area, and a client service model. If you are at the heart of it, you love the spontaneity and connectivity. At its core is trust, friendship and playing it long.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
May 1984: moving from my small coastal town to London. No flat, no job, no connections, and an overdraft – could’ve been tricky.
Your most embarrassing moment?
A few years ago, I fell off stage mid-speech. Ever since, I’ve been available for children’s parties.
Where is home during the week?
It tends to be in our flat, just south of the river. A twenty minute walk to Aon’s base at the Cheesegrater. It meant that when allowed I was in the office during much of the pandemic. The only other people in the building were the security guards. I’d known their names before but now I know all their family stories and we’ve become good friends. They too like Fortnum & Mason.
Where would we find you at the weekend?
Norfolk, by and large, but I love travelling. It may sound a bit sad, but I try to go to three new countries a year.
What’s your bold prediction for the City in 2023
We have the chance of a really exciting year ahead. Whilst we would need to show ourselves to be hugely sensitive to the wider cost of living challenges, and illustrate the social purpose of what most of us who operate in the City have in their hearts today, we can play a massive part of putting the country on the front foot after years of sadness, chaos, and crisis. Think of the Corporation of London Destination City programme; Lloyd’s work around the Sustainable Market Initiative and Blueprint Two; and Aon’s work in understanding and making better decisions around cyber, climate and intellectual property. We will have a fabulous DiveIn festival in September. We will return to work in greater numbers in a manner that is safe, rewarding and fun. All these will advance the Square Mile as a more dynamic, contemporary, relevant, and inclusive environment. We might even say goodbye to suits and ties…
City figure you most admire
I work and have worked with phenomenal leaders at Aon and Lloyd’s, but if I had to select one, it would be Tom Ilube – the tech entrepreneur and philanthropist. His work in DE&I has been extraordinary.
You’ve got a week off, where are you going and who with?
Family. The Canadian Rockies is God’s country and the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.