Posts Tagged ‘Alex Glasner’

Westminster needs to learn from the City

19/09/2012, 03:19:26 PM

by Alex Glasner

Banking is, perhaps, one of the few careers that is less popular than politics. However, having made the leap from political researcher to the world of investment banking, what has become clear is that, far from being the seat of easy money and privilege, investment banking is hardworking, innovative, and meritocratic.

Can the Westminster village boast that it shares these characteristics?

I have no doubt that the world of banking needs to be better regulated, that banks should make clear their social value, and that banking needs to be more open, more accessible.

However, while issues such as excessive pay do need to be addressed, there are equally pressing problems in politics: – not least the fundamental ignorance of many politicians I have met to who struggle to discern the difference between investment and retail banking.

Politics has a lot to learn from and about the City.

Firstly, politics should imitate many of the practices of banking.

My last week in Parliament involved as much intrigue, drinking, and the use opinion not fact to mould speeches as my first week in banking required long hours, little sleep and using facts to write reports and inform opinion.

And yet politicians, especially in our party, like to use the City as a punch-bag. It is now with unadulterated irony that I view Westminster’s view of banking: they see it as privileged, avaricious, and socially barren.

To progress in banking, image is secondary to performance. People progress not so much through whom they know, so much as what they know and how they practice it.

In politics, I am sorry to say that I was struck by how the conviviality and friendship struck between MPs underpinned business and how insincere it could be.


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