Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow: Inclusive Capitalism speech - 26 June

Inclusive Capitalism – Guildhall

Great Hall, Guildhall

Friday 26th June 2015

The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor

Alderman Alan Yarrow

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to the Guildhall!

Home to the world’s oldest continuous civic democracy. Overseeing governance and services, for London and the Nation, for over 600 years.

The very document on which that democracy is based – is housed within these soaring stone walls! The City of London’s 13th century Magna Carta is on display downstairs in our Heritage Gallery. Do take a look, if you haven’t already.

800 years ago, the Lord Mayor of London and 24 Merchant-Barons held the King of England to account. Actions which led to the Rule of Law, and justice for all.

We are the inheritors of that legacy.

What will our own look like?

As an international Lord Mayor – who was born in Malaysia, educated in Singapore, and worked across the world for forty years in capital markets and investment banking....

I believe passionately that successful and innovative financial markets, mean jobs and growth across the world. And I know that the ‘flow of talent’ is as important as the ‘flow of trade’.

This is what the City of London has always stood for. It is why people from nearly 300 countries call this home.

Including our esteemed Canadian Governor of the Bank of England!

Governor Carney spoke at Mansion House today – and I was also glad to stand with him earlier this month, at the annual Bankers and Merchants’ dinner.

He said then: “The City has a special responsibility given London’s pre-eminent position in global markets. Which is why it has already brought so many ideas, and such energy, to advance financial reform.”

I heartily agree.

And it is this unique position – as a global leader, innovator and crucible for debate – that underpins today’s event. The people within this room, in this place, have the power to effect real change.

In recent times, the City Brand – the beating heart of our economy, whose arteries pump prosperity throughout the world – has taken a real hammering.

The hammering has been indiscriminate. The collateral damage has been great. Public perception – fuelled by baying press – is not good.

We cannot, and should not, stand idly by.

As Lord Mayor, I speak to and for the City.

And as I have said many times, I condemn anyone who wilfully puts himself first, and his client second. Indulging individual greed at the expense of society and shareholders. Without they, themselves, taking the risk.

But bad apples are being removed from the barrel. And the system that allowed them to rot in place – is being overhauled.

The Fair and Effective Markets Review – FEMR – marks a new stage of that journey.

Everybody wants clean and efficient markets – but that takes positive engagement of management. Let’s get real – responsible behaviour is not the sole responsibility of the Regulator. And just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s always right.

Regulators will always be behind the curve of innovation. That is not a criticism – it is the reality. It is for management to ensure that not just the principle, but also the “spirit” of the regulation is enforced – by their people.

It’s like a supermarket with no security cameras – if someone takes something without paying, it is theft. Theft is theft.

People should uphold professional standards irrespective of whether the regulators are there or not. It’s up to management to set that tone. And enforce that discipline. Because responsible business” is in all our interests.

And it’s brilliant to see the Bank of England show such leadership, in setting the bar higher. Stipulating that, from now on, all their senior management will be expected to meet the highest standards of professional conduct. Just as high as those applied to practitioners.

What a fantastic step forwards! And one that I hope we will see adopted across the world.

I know that the Bank consulted widely during development of the FEMR recommendations......and I strongly encourage all individual National Regulators to act in the same bold way.

Now, at this event last year, my predecessor – Dame Fiona Woolf – asked; “Who will challenge traditional thinking, if our teams are full of people just like us?”

Good question.

Earlier this month, UK papers ran the story that people from ‘posh’ backgrounds – affluent backgrounds – are more likely to get jobs in the top firms. According to a recent study, even type of ‘accent’ can put-off employers.

This is dangerous.

When I was the Head of Kleinwort Benson, I wanted the best and the brightest – regardless of origin, background or gender. In fact, the more diversity in the team – the better.

This fosters greater breadth of thought. Increased innovation. Extra resilience.

We need to get better at being more inclusive. In terms of gender, in terms of racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and in terms of abilities.

My eldest son is disabled.

My wife and I know, first hand, the impact of disabilities on individuals and their families. The challenges of being perceived ‘on the fringes’ of society – without the same access to opportunities as everyone else.

But did you know that, here in the UK, a child is diagnosed as disabled every 10 minutes? And did you know that parents of disabled children are three times more likely to suffer mental health issues?

This is a mainstream matter. And it is for us, as employers, to support employees. It is for us to understand additional needs, and support those living with the reality.

Disability is part of the ‘diversity agenda’. And, with a fresh approach, we can better harness and deploy a wider range of abilities and skills.

I heard recently about a Company which actively recruits people on the autistic spectrum. Seeking above average degrees of focus and attention to detail. Qualities which are an asset to any organization.

We are all part of society. We want to include, and support, every part of it.

That is why my Mayoral theme is: “Creating Wealth, Giving Time, Supporting People.”

Creating and investing in rich pools of capital – both human and financial.

Wealth of time and resource. Talent and opportunity.

As we all know – ‘wealth creation’ is a good thing!

You can’t use it, if you don’t create it. And used responsibly, it can do a lot of good – in particular, in helping those who are less able to help themselves.

With that in mind, after the excitement of the second Inclusive Capitalism conference, we have the second City Giving Day! On 30th September. Celebrating the terrific contribution being made by City businesses and their employees, to our communities. Time given and people supported.

This City houses an army of volunteers – and volunteering is making a huge economic and social contribution.

In 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy said:

“GDP measures neither our wit nor our courage. Neither our wisdom nor our learning. Neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short – except that which makes life worthwhile.

This event explores how wealth creators can transform lives, and livelihoods, for the long-term. Promote peace, and prosperity, through responsible business and good governance.

Thank you very much.