BoJo courts top financial industry executives at lavish dinner as another boom time approaches

On July 16, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will hold a dinner for 100 City executives in order to gain support. This is a very important milestone for our industry, here is our very candid and outspoken reason as to why such support is instrumental

Charismatic or buffoonish, bumbling or urbane, British politician and premiership hopeful Boris Johnson is a figure that everyone has an opinion on.

As the wrangling for leadership of the incumbent Conservative party continues, its senior politicians have been courting major City businesses and institutions via an invitation-only dinner at over £1000 per head in order to attempt to secure funding from the financial sector.

The event, set to take place tomorrow, July 16 in Central London, is to be attended by over 100 senior executives, all of whom have paid for the tickets themselves, and have a significant interest in ensuring that they provide funding for the Conservative party, which is aligned with the capital markets industry in London, and to ensure that a disastrous victory by the staunch socialist, anti-enterprise Labour party is kept at bay.

Boris Johnson, along with Jermey Hunt have been instructed to attend the exclusive event, and are expected to each say a few words before mingling with City executives on a one-to-one basis.

Separately, the two sides are understood to have held talks about a possible Square Mile hustings, in which Mssrs Johnson and Hunt would battle it out over business issues.

According to many sources in the City, this particular dinner will provide a much-needed cash injection for the Conservative party, which has seen funds begin to dry up amid growing discontent among donors over inept, librarianesque non-businesswoman Theresa May’s impotent leadership.

The Conservative party has a distinct interest in the modern age of development of the financial services industry in its global capital, London, and obtaining some degree of funding and support from the leaders of the world’s financial sector would assist in ensuring that the right resources are in place to continue to develop government-led initiatives to ensure that the FinTech and capital markets sector flourishes in London.

Three years ago, FinanceFeeds spoke in detail to Adam Afriyie, Conservative MP for Windsor, Berkshire, who is also responsible for the government think-tank on Financial Technology.

Should Mr Johnson become leader of the Conservative Party and by default become Prime Minister, his pro-Brexit ‘let’s get on with it and be an independent nation’ stance would be bolstered by Mr Afriyie’s efforts in favor of a continual realm of innovation by London’s FinTech firms.

During his conversation with FinanceFeeds three years ago, Mr Afriyie talked at length about how the government will stimulate growth in FinTech post Brexit.

Mr. Afriyie is indeed a politician who understands the technological industry in Britain. He is chairman of Connect Support Services, an IT support company he set up in 1993. He once owned two-thirds of DeHavilland, a political monitoring company, which was sold to British publishing giant EMAP Publications in 2005 for £18 million.

Mr. Afriyie is a stakeholder of Axonn Media, a content marketing business which produces content for clients. The company incorporates brands such as Content Plus, NewsReach, DirectNews and ReelContent. Axonn turned over £9.4m in 2011 and made a pre-tax profit of £1.3m. Afriyie is the largest shareholder of the firm and he and his fellow directors split dividends of £2.2m in 2010 and 2011 and shared directors’ pay of £3.6m over the last five years.

Mr. Afriyie was selected as parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Windsor in October 2003. He was first elected at the 2005 general election with an increased share of the vote (49.5%) and a swing to the Conservatives of 1.2%

In Parliament, he was a member of the Science and Technology select committee from 2005 until its abolition in July 2007, and has since been a member of the Children, Schools and Families select committee. Since 2010 he has been the President of the Conservative Technology Forum. He has been the chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology since 2010.

Mr. Afriyie told FinanceFeeds “One of this Conservative Government’s priorities has been to foster the growth of the financial technology sector within London’s unique financial ecosystem.”

 “Our regulators have been quick to adapt with programmes such as the Government Office for Science’s review into distributed ledgers, the creation of the Payment Systems Regulator to review Britain’s payments infrastructure, and the Financial Conduct Authority’s creation of the ‘Regulatory sandbox’ to create a safe space to pro-actively test innovative products” – Adam Afriyie, Conservative MP 

 “The EU’s stifling approach to the digital market often means that legislation is out of date before it is agreed by the 28 member states, let alone enacted. The fact that the UK is quick to adapt and cautious of over regulation will ensure that FinTech will flourish in post-Brexit Britain and it could well be the case that the EU follows our approach in future” he said.

Quite right indeed.

By contrast, the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing firebrand socialist party hold a very different, and absolutely odious view.

The opposition party’s shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell is a 1970s trade unionist whose hardline views border on Marxism, would become the sole person in charge of economic policy in the UK in the terrifying event that the Labour party may be elected into government.

In September 2015, Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor and equally leftist John McDonnell made a schedule to meet four times per year with a seven-strong group comprising of economic academics (rather than business leaders) one of which was Anastasia Nesvetailova, a self-designated ‘expert’ on the international financial sector and its role in the global financial crisis of 2007-09. Ms. Nesvietailova, is an academic who spends her day in the classroom rather than the boardroom, thus is a theorist and has no practical experience. Just the type of policy advisors favored by the left.

During one particular conversation, the Labor Party’s support for the implementation of the Tobin Tax on all trading transactions was raised, as was, rather alarmingly, the potential of a Britain free of dominance of the financial sector.

Bearing this in mind, it is worth looking at John McDonnell’s credentials and viewpoint.

Adam Afriyie, MP

Mr. McDonnell is a former trade unionist who backs renationalizing banks and imposing wealth taxes. He actually lists “generally fomenting the overthrow of capitalism” as one of his interests in the Who’s Who directory of influential people. He also advocates the complete public ownership of all banks.

Mr McDonnell has served as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group in Parliament and the Labour Representation Committee, and was the chair of the Public Services Not Private Profit Group. He is also Parliamentary Convenor of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of eight left-wing trade unions representing over half a million workers

The thought of Tier 1 FX desks being run by teams of ‘entitled’, unaccountable gray cardigan-wearing Caravan Club members with civil service pension plans should be enough to send the entire industry striking up prime brokerage relationships in Hong Kong, New York and Singapore.

Mr McDonnell has also said publicly that if he was able to, he would have assassinated Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, a comment that when challenged, he retracted and said it was “a joke”.

Well, Mr McDonnell, that kind of extreme anti-business mentality combined with a will to bring the entire financial markets sector to its knees in the rebellious quest for overthrowing capitalism is not welcome.

Mr McDonnell wrote in 2012 that a financial transaction tax would halt “the frenetic, madcap speculation in the City” and raise money for infrastructure investment.

“If the City resists then let’s make it clear that capital controls would follow,” he said in a piece for Labour Briefing, a left-wing website.

He has also said he wants to take the power to set interest rates away from the Bank of England and to give it back to government. This would reverse a decision by the Blair government to let the central bank decide monetary policy.

If his choice of senior cabinet ministers is not enough to ensure that this odious relic of the dark days of socialism stays out of office, Mr. Corbyn’s affection for Venezuelan communist dictator Hugo Chavez should do the trick.

Boris Johnson

In 2013, Mr. Corbyn tweeted “Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world” just after president Chavez passed away.

The hard-left policies of Mr Corbyn’s idol Hugo Chavez have left a once-rich nation brutalized and devastated and with 2,200% inflation, strict capital control laws and an inability to do business with any free market nations.

Venezuela shows quite clearly just how catastrophic socialism is. So you might then expect those well-meaning folk who held up Chavez as a paragon to admit their mistake. Naomi Campbell, Diane Abbott, Seumas Milne and Owen Jones in the UK; Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Michael Moore in the US. Not a peep from any of them.

Hugo Chavez’ successor Nicolas Maduro has turned out to be a first class economic incompetent. In 2016, imports collapsed by more than 50% (largely due to socialist trade sanctions) and the economy nosedived by 19%.

The budget deficit is around 20% of GDP. The minimum wage is now the equivalent of £25 a month. Conversely, London’s financial sector employs several middle managers between the ages of 25 and 35 who easily earn between £150,000 to £200,000 per annum, rising to over £500,000 for a senior executive position, and professional mobility – the chance of switching to new firms and accelerating one’s career – is among the best in the world.

After a Central Bank estimate that suggested that the Venezuelan economy had contracted by 19% last year was leaked to the press, Mr Maduro fired the bank’s president and replaced him with a Marxist loyalist demonstrating another very problematic aspect of left wing control, censorship and that anyone who speaks against the ideology, whether right or wrong, will be removed from office.

Up to £640 billion of oil money was lavished on the country’s poor during the oil boom years, creating a gargantuan dependency culture. The country quintupled its national debt and hundreds of thousands of homes (of questionable construction quality) were handed to the poor. President Chavez created a massive and unsustainable bubble which is now beginning its slow, painful collapse.

At the heart of Venezuela’s economic chaos lie market distortions. Gasoline is sold locally for less than 1 British pence per litre and it receives £12 billion of state subsidies a year. The country has a complex monetary arrangement that makes use of three different exchange rates simultaneously.

This feeds rampant corruption because those with close connections to the president can buy dollars from the state at 10 bolivars a dollar but sell them at 3,300 bolivars a dollar on the black market – a classic case of ‘do as I say, don’t do as I do.’

Clearly the City needs the business-savvy leadership of Conservative party mainstays who have actually got genuine business expertise – Sajid Javid, who has held managing directorships at major Tier 1 banks before the age of 30 – being prime examples.

Editor’s note – I have personally met Boris Johnson on five occasions over the past 15 years and can assure that he absolutely has the free market City economy and its growth as a long-term, major priority.

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