COMMENT by ALEX BRUMMER: Lesson for London's turncoats
JP Morgan Cazenove's move into Lehman Brothers former HQ at Canary Wharf is filled with symbolism.
Few will be able to forget that the building first achieved fame when Gordon Brown traipsed down to Docklands to unveil a brass plate and praise Lehman to the hilt in 2004.
This time around it is Mayor Boris Johnson who is prostrating himself at the feet of JP Morgan for its wisdom in moving into Docklands.
Moving with the times: JP Morgan Cazenove will move into the former Lehman Brother's HQ in docklands
The vote by Wall street's most blue-blooded house in favour of the City could not come at a better time for the Government.
It places in sharp contrast the repeatedly self-interested threats by HSBC - the latest coming from departing chief executive Mike Geoghegan - to pick up its marbles and move out of London.
Standard Chartered, as it seeks to shield itself from bonus restrictions and taxes in Britain makes much the same threat.
It is great news that one of America's powerhouses JP Morgan Chase - which added Bear stearns and Washington Mutual to its portfolio-during the crash of 2008 - wants to have a large operation in London.
But if that is the case why should two British banks standard Chartered and hsBC, with roots firmly drilled in the nation's colonial past, be making such a fuss?
One possible answer is that they are bluffing. it is quite conceivable they may move speciality teams, such as commodity trading, to singapore. But moving hQ and all that implies is wholly different.
Being in London, the top global destination in the world for currency and interest rate derivatives, makes absolute business sense.
It also means that the banks concerned will be policed by the Bank of England rather than Beijing-controlled regulators in hong Kong or secretive autocrats in singapore.
Clearly, Britain does not want to return to the soft-touch regulation that was characteristic of the Brown era at the treasury.
It was then that the government used to preen itself on not being suckered into post-Enron style sarbanes-Oxley regulation.
One of the results was that fraudster Bernard Madoff and credit insurers AiG decided that London was a great place to write their most controversial business.
Fortunately, George Osborne - back from New York having been delayed for 24 hours by BA's farcical handling of the UK snow - disowned the idea that the City might offer softer regulation than Wall street.
'I'm not looking for advantage,' Osborne told Manhattan's banking elite.
We should hope not, given past experience.
Britain's fund management industry currently is experiencing more than its fair share of change.
Foreign & Colonial, with roots dating back more than a century, finds itself under siege from Guernseybased sherborne run by raider Edward Bramson.
Henderson, which successfully has bedded in New star (a victim of the financial crash), is now seeking to scoop up Gartmore on the cheap.
The henderson offer, which places an economic value of £425m on Gartmore, looks mean at first glance as the sharp fall in the share price shows.
But with the departure of two key fund managers Guillaume rambourg and roger Guy - who managed about 16pc of the manager's assets - Gartmore has been seriously denuded.
These two managers were at the exciting end of the business, investing largely in hedge funds.
As this volatile cash leaves, the rump will consist of sticky retail business. The prize for henderson will be integration and bringing down costs rather than anything more exhilarating.
Given the recent turbulent history of Gartmore, including difficulties with regulators, it is hard to see henderson being outbid.
It is possible, however, that other managers, such as Jupiter, might be interested in a couple of the funds should henderson regard them as surplus.
The serious Fraud Office has long been concerned that the courts might not look favourably on the plea bargain it had reached with BAE over the defence giant's alleged £8m bribe to secure an air contract with tanzania.
Under the deal BAE would agree to lesser charges of accounting irregularities and pay a fine which would be repatriated to tanzania.
The SFO was right to be concerned. Mr Justice Bean made it clear at the start of the hearing at the Crown Court in Southwark that he was not happy with the deal and that it could be interpreted the payment was a 'bribe' and that the court might seek evidence to that effect.
Plea bargains in the UK are still in their infancy. it sounds as though the courts may be reluctant to let them grow up.
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