Books: The square mile relegated - Hidebound by snobbery, the gentleman capitalists failed to fight back when the hard men came Stephen Fay reads an important account of the City's eclipse. The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism, by Philip Augar Penguin poun

Books: The square mile relegated - Hidebound by snobbery, the gentleman capitalists failed to fight back when the hard men came Stephen Fay reads an important account of the City's eclipse. The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism, by Philip Augar Penguin poun

by STEPHEN FAY, who has written books on the Bank of England andthe collapse of Barings

The City of London was still run by gentlemanly capitalists when Philip Augar started work in 1978. He observed their decline and fall at first hand, and makes a modest appearance in the story running NatWest Market's equities business and as a member of the team that sold Schroders to Citigroup. He knows what he is talking about, and holds strong opinions. Take this for a start: 'The speed and totality of the submission of the City's leading firms is one of the most abject surrenders in business history.'

Although Big Bang happened only 16 years ago, life in the Old City seems a distant memory of another place. The first train from the heart of the stockbroker belt, in Haslemere, did not depart for Waterloo until 7.15am.

Lunch often began with a couple of snifters and was served by butlers in rooms decorated like an English country house. Class counted. Brokers and jobbers were partnerships, run like large families, and managed in a minimalist way. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it was no way to run a business in global markets after 1986.

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