LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Outgoing Bank of England governor Mark Carney (R), COP26 Finance Adviser to the Prime Minister, talks with President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde as they attend an event to launch the private finance agenda for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the Guildhall on February 27, 2020 in London, England. The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be hosted in Glasgow from November 9 - November 19, 2020 under the presidency of the UK. (Photo by Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ECB chief Christine Lagarde and Mark Carney, outgoing Bank of England governor, at London's Guildhall. © Getty

Mark Carney: Love in a warm climate 

So large was the throng of City grandees at the launch of the UN climate summit finance agenda that the Guildhall could have turned off the heating and cut its own emissions. Even in the February sleet. Hundreds gave the warmest of global welcomes to host Mark Carney, who steps down as Bank of England governor next month to focus on his role as UN climate envoy. Among the high-profile, low-footprint non-jet-setters were Legal & General boss Nigel Wilson, StanChart chair José Viñals, and Goldman Sachs European chief Richard Gnodde. Carney lectured them on the three Rs of tackling climate change: “Reporting . . . risk management . . . returns to help reallocation” (isn’t that four?). His European counterpart, Christine Lagarde, warned of the three Ds: “Disregard, delay and deficiency.” But City Insider asks where were the three Is — genuine risk-taking investors like 3i plc? Cinematic cheesemonger Richard Curtis took to the stage to suggest the Mandelas, Gandhis and other do-gooding revolutionaries of this generation are entrepreneurs. But, as one wag pointed out, there were barely two or three business starter-uppers in the room. Almost all the sources of CO2 at the event were risk-averse bankers. And their fizzy water.

Godfrey Cromwell: Taking on the Mantel 

As critics lavish praise on novelist Hilary Mantel for the final instalment of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, City Insider cannot help but see parallels between the Tudor fixer and his contemporary namesake, Godfrey, chair of the Banking Competition Remedies (BRC) quango. Both have experience of dealmaking: Godfrey as a private banker; Thomas as someone who “can draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house and fix a jury”. Both have had to make tricky financial decisions: Godfrey in allocating £775m of subsidies to “challenger” banks; Thomas in coping with “a tax rebellion”. Both are noble lords. However, where Thomas is set to gain a third Booker prize for Mantel, Godfrey is in trouble over a prize handed back. Having controversially awarded £120m to scandal-hit Metro Bank, BCR has had some of the money returned, and must fix the mess. It seems Mantel was right when she wrote: “Even in the republic of virtue you need a man who will shovel up the shit, and somewhere it is written that Cromwell is his name.”

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Bruce Carnegie-Brown: London’s calling 

Regulators hoping to avoid the extra task of ensuring London’s competitiveness post-Brexit will be cursing Lloyd’s of London boss Bruce Carnegie-Brown and his long memory. Asked by a parliamentary committee if a watchdog can be both stickler and cheerleader, he recalled a story about Singapore’s head regulator stopping off in London after a meeting in North America. He spent “half an hour discussing regulation and the other hour and a half encouraging me to do more business in Singapore . . . do you think our regulators stopped off in New York trying to win business for London? I suspect the answer is absolutely not.” As is any regulator’s to the question: would you like to thank Carnegie-Brown for his input?

Deloitte partners: Stinking rich? 

Open season on finance “professionals” continues, with Twitter user @ybees3 alleging lavatorial misdemeanours by Deloitte’s finest. But before regulators at the FCA rush to judgment they may wish to consider the even more “solid” findings of their own recent in-house inspections. City Insider hopes for a whitewash.

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