Trust and Values in the City? Who benefits from the City of London Corporation?


Occupy London has been passed information about the discussion at this year’s Mansion House Conference, held by the City of London Corporation on Thursday 27th October 2011, entitled Trust and Values in the City.

As part of Occupy London’s mission to create a more just society, address social and economic inequalities and fight for real democracy, we’d like to call on your help to find out a little more about this conference.

Comments we find particularly intriguing include “the people in tent city are ill informed”, [we] “wouldn’t be interested in what the tent city had to say” and why “the Lord Mayor’s investigation made only 1 reference to customers. All the conversation was about responsibility to shareholders.”

Consider this our small gift to the new Lord Mayor David Wooton [1] and a leaving gift to the outgoing Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Bear, as well as Stuart Fraser, Corporation of London policy chairman, who announced yesterday that he would be stepping down. [2]

In the spirit of Occupy London’s call for transparency in its recent counteroffer to the City of London Corporation [3], there are a few questions that we’d like your help with:

  • Can you shed any more light on the Trust and Values in the City conference?
  • Were you at that conference? Can you identify anyone who was?
  • What is the role of Robert Potter, Chairman of the HR Advisory Group?
  • What are the implications of what he is saying?
  • Why does this Trust and Values in the City conference not talk about customers and people?
  • Why has Stuart Fraser, effective chief exec of the Corporation of London, left his job so suddenly?

  • The Event

    At the event there were speakers from across the City of London, Cass Business School, City HR Association, Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, Institute of Business Ethics, Lloyds Banking Group, TheCityUK, CISI, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Ken Costa [4].

    Occupy London has been provided with a copy of the agenda for this event, together with some notes written against a number of the speakers. We provide these as scans below for your perusal.

    Agenda Page 1
    Agenda Page 2

    We appeal to our friends on Twitter, IRC, Facebook and all other social networks for assistance in verifying the veracity of these comments and their implications. If the reported comments are accurate, it is surely time we questioned what kind of trust and value it is that the City of London Corporation is really concerned with.

    The notes we have give some clues as to the purpose of the event: “Presenting results of Lord Mayor Alderman’s initiative “Restoring Trust in the City”, “to seek to identify, recognise, encourage & embed best practise & ethical values in all businesses which operate in the City”. The Restoring Trust initiative is supported by Cass Business School at City University London, TheCityUK, Tomorrow’s Company and Berwin Leighton Paisner as acknowledged at the bottom of the agenda.

    Opening the event, at 9am, there was a welcome from the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Bear. [5]

    Against the name of speaker Richard Sermon, Chairman of the Advisory Board, who spoke at 9.10am regarding a summary of the Objectives and Progress Report, there is a note saying: “Important to return to growth for jobs”.

    At 9.45am Robert Potter, Chairman of the HR Advisory Group, spoke on the topic of Focus on Personal Values and Development, looking specifically at Performance Management against Values; ‘The Power of Youth’ – New Entrants; TheCityUK New Generation Vision. On the second page of the notes it details what Robert Potter said:

    “Review with New Generation younger people in the city concluded key things that need to happen are:

    1) Challenge the [unknown] short term culture which is driving self-interested behaviour
    2) Public communication of the value created by the sector – (This appears to be a big concern of Robert Potter)
    3) Senior management should take more responsibility for addressing unethical behaviour – & set the tone for attitudes and standards.

    “Audience member suggests that the group also considered the views from outside including young people at the tent city at St Paul’s. Mr Potter replied “that the people in tent city are ill informed”, [sic] If was going to listen he wouldn’t be interested in what the tent city had to say. he would want to speak to people with something interesting to say. [sic]

    “Several comments were made by audience members that the speakers from the Lord Mayor investigation made only 1 reference to customers. All the conversation was about responsibility to shareholders. The speaker from Scotland did talk about balanced responsibility. Tony Manwaring [CEO, Tomorrow’s Company] suggested external voices, are listened to saying he didn’t …” [the document becomes unreadable at this point]

    At 12.50pm Ken Costa talked about “Reconnecting the Financial and the Ethical”. The notes state that Ken, who has been recently appointed by the Bishop of London to head up the new St Paul’s Initiative, said: “It is important that we listen carefully. The protest includes people from all walks of life. In a survey in the US 70% were sympathetic to “Occupy Wall Street” [.] We are perhaps at a tipping point. The cost of economic freedom is moral vigilance [.] We need to be underpinned by values of justice – humility – service [.] We may be uncomfortable with it but we need to learn the language of morality.”


    [1] Lord Mayor David Wooton says the City’s harshest critics are within
    [2] City’s chief to step down
    [3] Occupy London responds to Corporation of London proposal
    [4] Ken Costa’s article in the Financial Times on why the City dhould heed the discordant voices of St Paul’s. More on Ken Costa’s mission at the St Paul’s Initiative.

    [6] On Sunday 16th October at an assembly of over 500 people on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London collectively agreed the initial statement below. Please note, like all forms of direct democracy, the statement will always be a work in progress.
    1 The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.
    2 We are of all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations, sexualities dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together with occupations all over the world.
    3 We refuse to pay for the banks’ crisis.
    4 We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable. We demand an end to global tax injustice and our democracy representing corporations instead of the people.
    5 We want regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate.
    6 We support the strike on the 30th November and the student action on the 9thNovember, and actions to defend our health services, welfare, education and employment, and to stop wars and arms dealing.
    7 We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.
    8 We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an end to the actions of our government and others in causing this oppression.
    9 This is what democracy looks like. Come and join us!

    © 2012 Occupy London
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