Friday, 26 February 2010

26th February the Financial Services Group

Twelve people gathered in the entrance hall of Mansion House this afternoon, were accompanied up to one of the glorious reception rooms, and made a presentation to the Lord Mayor.

Marketors may not generally be aware that their Company is a member of a group of 11 Livery Companies forming the Financial Services Group. Other members include the Solicitors, the Chartered Accountants, the Chartered Secretaries, the Actuaries, Insurers, Arbitrators, Information Technologists, World Traders, Management Consultants and the Tax Advisors. (The 12th person was Ian Richardson, secretary to the FSG and Junior Warden of the Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.)

The group was set up four years ago primarily to provide a network for access to particular expertise and experience for the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. The group is still in its relatively early years, but is gradually extending its profile by introducing itself and its offer of support to Aldermen, especially those below the chair.

Our Past Master Keith Arundale was the founder representative from the Marketors. After completing his service period of 3 years he handed over to me. It is a fascinating privilege to meet and discuss issues with these representatives of professions which are so relevant to the issues faced by the City today.

This afternoon we were presenting the Lord Mayor with this year's booklet describing the role of the Financial Services Group and the services that each member company offers. You can read more and (in a few days' time) see photographs of the ceremony at

w/c 22nd February Lecture Week

A number of Companies have introduced annual lectures and this week saw two.

The Chartered Secretaries invited us to Drapers' Hall for their 2010 Rivers Lecture, to hear Alderman Lord Levene (Chairman of Lloyds among a host of other appointments) talk about the City and International Business. Memorable observations: good governance is more dependent on the right behaviour than on the right processes; the City generates 8% of UK GDP and 14% of its tax revenue.

Lord Levene also commented on why the late (i.e. immediate past) Lord Mayor, was not awarded (what has been customary) a knighthood on completing his term of office. He explained that a process to reduce the number of "automatic" honours, originally begun under John Major's premiership, had recently started delivering results. The post of Lord Mayor was not the only one to be affected, but inevitably he was high profile. Lord Levene emphasised that all politicians had been removed from the honours awarding system, from top to bottom, so it could not be described as a political decision.

On Thursday 25th the World Traders' Tacitus Lecture took place in a packed Guildhall. This is a glittering occasion and the speaker, Donald Brydon, Chairman of Royal Mail Group, gave a tour de force on the subject of trust.

"In conclusion I do not believe there has been a crisis and breakdown of trust, but unless we all take care the consequences of rising suspicion hold dangers for all of us, for our liberty and our prosperity. As individuals we can do something about this - whether boards or individuals we are not powerless." Download the full text from

17th February CIM Annual Awards Celebrations

The Chartered Institute of Marketing introduced a programme of awards for excellence for the first time at the end of last year, and this was the celebratory event for the finalists and winners. Not strictly a Livery occasion, the Marketors were represented by a small (but exquisitely-formed) group, topped by members Rod Wilkes and Chris Lenton in their roles as CIM CEO and Chairman respectively.

The host was Hugh Dennis, who turns out to have been a brand manager at Unilever in his early career, but I don't think that's an invitation to most of us to give up the day job just yet. The best fun was had by an Irish contingent on the next door table who seized the opportunity of rushing the stage and presenting a toy woolly lamb to HD - don't ask!

It was a great event and good to see small businesses strutting their stuff alongside the big household names. I was an early-stage judge in one section and was pleased to see the company that I had ranked first coming out the winner in that section.

As Marketors we cheered Freeman Stephan Kuester stepping onto the stage with the Ernst & Young team who won the Financial Services section as well as the overall Chairman's Award.
Go Marketors! Go CIM! - our mother institute.

16th February Pancake Day!

A really English occasion, with grown ups in suits, dressing up in aprons, chefs' hats, gowns, medals etc and running across Guildhall yard, tossing pancakes, in the pouring rain and icy wind for an hour and a half. Any visitor would think we were completely bonkers.

The Immediate Past Master, Peter Goudge, had secured our place in the main races by his fleetness of foot last year, so we fielded competitors in all four classes. The hero of the team was Simon Campbell-Davies, who won the Liveryman's section, although I reckon Bob Burgess woz robbed when his cricket pad fell off just as he was about to claim victory. Mikki Hall upheld our honour in the Ladies section. The Marketors were fantastically well-supported by a vocal crowd of members and their families for this great half-term day out. We were certainly the noisiest group there - it was the only way to keep warm!

Lunch afterwards in Guildhall - I could have kissed the waiter offering a mug of hot soup at the door. Look at under News for videos and stills of the occasion.

Monday, 22 February 2010

11th February - a different sort of Court

At short notice I was invited to have lunch with Her Majesty's judges at the Old Bailey. Arrived wielding the Pancake Race Wooden Spoon (see post for 16th Feb - it's a 3 foot long version, so could be considered an offensive weapon) to the amusement of the security staff. Hosted by Alderman and Sheriff David Wootton and entertained by the Seconder and Under Sheriff, who, in his tail coat and lace jabot, described himself as "a council workman" - Corporation of London, of course.

Afterwards we were permitted to sit in on a live case, in the "pit" rather than the public gallery. A totally new experience for me, and a source of great pride to see British justice in action - very painstaking, with a great effort to enable ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances to give their evidence.

10th February - a 3 in 1 day

A day to be remembered, among better things, for lots of walking with a roller bag, dodging on and off public transport, sometimes in high heels in a full-length skirt, and at one point through a snow blizzard. However, the better bits were very good indeed.

Starting with lunch at HQS Wellington with the Master Mariners (whose Master is indeed called the Master Master Mariner, and is the hospitable Malcolm Parrott) where I learned that the Weavers don't have a Master but an Upper Bailiff. Also drew conclusions from the fact that even the Clerk's badge in some Companies has diamonds!

Then to a meeting at Cutlers' Hall for supporters (including our Clerk, Adele Thorpe) of Richard Sermon's campaign to be elected Sheriff in June this year - my first opportunity to see this City process first-hand.

Finally on to Brooks's Club in St James for dinner with the Guild of Public Relations Practitioners. We were made extremely welcome, together with numerous guests from their regimental association with the Media Operations Group (Volunteers). The guest speaker was General James Bucknall who gave us some insights into the realities of current operations in Helmand province. My neighbour Lt Col Tim Purbrick was also able to explain to me why the current big push had been so clearly "signalled" in advance.

5th February Arbitrators' Court Lunch for Masters & Clerks

Held in the Guildhall private dining room, and organised by our former Clerk, Gaye Duffy, whom I was delighted to see again. The Master Arbitrator, Chris Dancaster, has been their member on the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies (of which more in a separate blog) so I have met him several times before. It's nice to start recognising a few faces, and the Master Firefighter, Geoff Morgan, whom I first met at the Tin Plate Workers' lecture, was also there. Spirited talk given by Peter Rees, the City Planning Officer for the Corporation of London (not to be confused with our own Peter Rees, Chairman of Comms & PR Committee) defending the Gherkin and rightly proud of Paternoster Square. Interesting comment: it takes more talent to design the right spaces than the right buildings; if the spaces are right, the buildings will be right.

2nd February Stationers' dinner for Masters and Clerks

Dinner in the Court Room at Stationers' Hall, with Adele. (I hadn't realised how much of the Clerk's time goes towards arranging and accompanying the Master on these invitations.) Wonderful to see how one of the older companies does it: very traditional, very hospitable. I was warmly hosted by our Senior Warden, Jim Surguy's, brother in law, Ian Locks and by the Clerk to the Merchant Taylors, Rear Admiral Harris. Full-blooded singing of the Grace, Laudi Spirituali. As one of very few women present, I was nervous about drawing attention to myself, so sang at tenor pitch and no-one noticed. (Note to self - hope the Marketors' singing is up to scratch for the Lord Mayor's Banquet in July.) Gracious tribute by the Master Stationer, Richard Brewster, to retiring Clerk, Colonel Denzil Sharp.

1st February WCM first Seminar with Malcolm McDonald

Our first seminar of the year, featuring Malcolm McDonald as speaker, organised superbly by Dan Doherty and Simon Jacobs. Also our first official visit to Chicago Booth, which proved to be the perfect venue with just the right space for small groups forming and re-forming as the conversation flowed - glad we shall be there again for subsequent seminars. Good to see so many senior business guests there. Malcolm did his stuff brilliantly, and I am still receiving compliments on the event weeks later. You can click through to his presentation materials at under Events.

28th January Virgin Galactic lecture for Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers

My first "away match" representing the Company at a lecture for the Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers. The speaker was Will Whitehorn of Virgin Galactic who convinced us that commercial space flight really is only a few years away. They are test-flying an extraordinarily innovative aeroplane made of composite materials. (Best laugh of the night was when he told other aerospace manufacturers "You've got to get out of those tin cans", taken in good spirit by the hosts!)

21st January Installation Dinner

There is going to be a full report on this in the forthcoming edition of Marketor. So many people worked so hard to ensure the success of that evening, but I want particularly to thank our Clerk, Adele, and the caterers, The Cook and the Butler. They gave me a pink sugar mouse on the night that now sits on my desk to remind me of a really fun evening. You can read the speeches on under Events.

Getting started with the Master's blog

It is now a month since I was installed as Master and I am beginning to understand the responsibilities and privileges better. Encouraged by our Communications and PR committee, and coached by Peter Rees, I am going to try out blogging.

The purpose is not only to show our members (and anyone else who reads this) what the Master does to represent the Company in the City, but also to raise awareness and understanding of the City for those members who may have had less exposure to this fascinating world of commerce.

This will start out as a diary, and we shall see where it goes.
Please let us have your feedback - is it interesting or a waste of time?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

About Us

The Marketors’ Company is the City of London livery company for senior people in the marketing profession. Like all livery companies it promotes excellence in its area of expertise; it supports the Lord Mayor and the City; it undertakes charitable giving and outreach work; and it promotes fellowship and discussion among members.

Welcome to the Master's Blog


The Master for 2010/2011 is Venetia Howes. Her year’s theme is Sustainability, which includes not only the environment and social responsibility, but also those things that contribute to the long-term prosperity of organisations, such as governance, brand, reputation and developing people.

She says, "My greatest hope this year is that the Company will achieve its coming-of-age by being granted its Royal Charter."

"I would also like to consolidate the growth in membership that we have achieved in recent years, by strengthening friendships between members. I aim to increase understanding of how the Company works (for example, what the committees and the Court do) and to create opportunities for fellowship, through realistically-priced events for members and their guests."
"Finally, and this is reflected in my theme, Sustainability, I want to encourage our members, at a time when short-term pressures are acute, to remember the long-term."