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City of London v The Rest?



New Member
I returned from holiday via London and, courtesy of an old university pal, found myself in the unaccustomed settings of a City of London lunchtime watering hole. This allowed me an insight to the City chatting and networking. I was struck by their prior knowledge, going back several months, of what was described as the (alleged) ‘dodgy doings’ on the financial front at Connaught plc (the major UK property maintenance contractor that has in the past couple of weeks almost gone bust).

One might discount this as saloon bar gossip, were it not for their well-informed predictions that, some one and a half weeks ago, that Barclays would somewhat arbitrarily and cheaply sell out their substantial loan exposure in Connaught – something that has now come to pass as per FT reports this week. An FT article last week was again revealing wherein a city analyst notes that last autumn, by simple and basic checking he was alarmed to have discovered "lots of costs relating to contracts which had not gone through the P&L".

(In the passing, I found myself, yet again, wondering what some top-range expensive professional companies get paid for when noting that PwC presided over this debacle since 2006).

Meantime, back my Scottish homebase I found one client organisation has very recently let a large maintenance contract to Connaught – who had easily passed all the client’s procurement risk appraisals!

Just some musings from a sun tanned Scot but, post credit crunch brought about by the financial services sector, this all leaves me wondering about the growing gap between the metro London ‘set’ and the real world in the rest of the UK.