I can hear the choruses of, "It's work, it's not supposed to be enjoyable" on your collective lips...but I think the point is valid.
The three year long mea culpa that the City has been penitently reciting in return for its bailout, has left the City with a greyness of spirit that even the average Guardian reader would be hard pressed to justify. It's not that I want to see images of 24 year olds spraying champagne around in the style of Lewis Hamilton, but I do think that the City needs to be allowed to go back to getting business done.
The problem as I see it is that the "dreary brigade" is firmly in charge in most City institutions.
This leaves us in a situation where even the most plain vanilla piece of business gets blocked in credit committee lest a single one of their decisions come back to bite them later on.
We all accept that the US sub prime market was a silly idea, but as we see time and time again, the regulatory overreaction to a single (albeit in this case large) poor decision leads to paralysis which takes years to remedy. The key to the economic wealth of the nation is the ability of its companies to generate and retain business. If that is lost, then so is our ability to grow our way out of the present economic malaise.
God forbid that I should want to take a client to a fancy restaurant for a "big night out" in order to gain favour for a new piece of business from them. This now potentially falls foul of the provisions of The Bribery Act 2010!
"No" I hear you cry..."as long as the entertainment provided is proportional it's okay."
But the reality is different. The new legislation is principles rather than rules based and the City is gold plating it. The reality is that the only way you will find out if a piece of entertainment was disproportional is when you get prosecuted for bribery and thrown in the slammer for a few years.
If you add to this the fact that "failure to prevent" is now punishable under the Act, you will understand if the dreary brigade is being a little over zealous on their employer's behalf in their interpretation of the law. Thus the 25 page paean to joylessness that landed on my desk from Compliance last week, explaining that we would no longer be able to do anything for more than 150 a head.
You might validly ask me if taking a client (or being taken as a client) to dinner or a sporting event really constitutes 'the fun' in my life. Clearly not; but I would argue that some of the events and activities that I am too poor or badly connected to have organised for myself constitute some of the reasons why I put up with the crushing working hours and the subservience of City life.
Anyone for tennis? (Oh no, you aren't allowed to anymore.....)
The writer is a senior trader with 25+ years experience of working in the City.