What is the difference between the Cities Of Westminster and London

BIS has just announced a “Foresight” report saying that “computer trading shows benefits to financial markets but calls for joint action to manage risks.” For “Foresight” read “Hindsight”. I remember an event on “Envisioning the Future” organised by Nortel almost twenty years ago when the means of monitoring markets based on computer trading systems was one of the themes for discussion.

This is a salutary reminder of just how far BIS (Westminster) is behind the City (London/Canary Wharf) – not much over a mile or two but at least a decade or two.  The difference in mindset is similar to that between Shanghai and Beijing – five hundred miles and five hundred years (the Chinese think long term). New Yorkers have a similar view of Washington.  I also remember the Silicon Valley view of Europe – those other side of the planet, at the far far end of the red-eye, even more out of touch than the Federal Government in Washington.


Last night I was at a meeting discussing the meaning of trust in the on-line world and some-one mentioned the Edelman Global Trust Survey. This has now been running for over a decade and is full of interesting material. Among other things it shows how, even after the collapse in trust in financial services, they are still more trusted than the politicians who seek to regulate them.


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"In 1621, King James I directed the Privy Council to establish a temporary committee to investigate the causes of a decline in trade and consequent financial difficulties. The Board's formal title remains The Lords of the Committee of Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations."

That's what it says on Wikipedia, under Board of Trade.

400 years later and not a foreign plantation in sight, this temporary committee is thriving and we still have a President of the Board of Trade – Vince Cable, Secretary of State at BIS, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Unless the City of London is growing sugar cane or tobacco you can hardly expect him to pay it any attention.