City AM co-founder and managing director Lawson Muncaster has predicted a return to normality in the City of London in September.
Muncaster, who has headed up the London business newspaper since its inception in 2005, dismissed the idea of 19 July as ‘freedom day’ for the Square Mile, instead suggesting that September will mark a return to normal business life.
The government will lift the last of England’s Covid restrictions on 19 July, with businesses bracing for rising revenues as the economy reopens. Furthermore, a survey from FJP Investment found 40 per cent of UK investors plan to become more active from this day.
Speaking at the P2P Investing Summit, a virtual event hosted by Peer2Peer Finance News and AngelNews, Muncaster said working in an office creates a community working culture that is integral to the firm and that he wishes to return to the office on a flexible basis.
Muncaster also said that City AM is set to relaunch its print newspaper in September, which it was forced to close in favour of online content during the pandemic.
“I did a quick canvas with a few chief executives from some of the banks from high up in terms of the City and they’re all talking about September being the point of no return when they’re coming back,” said Muncaster.
“Banks are focussing on that, and I think the City and Waterloo line will reopen to a full service in September, so everybody is looking in that way and that’s the time to get the city moving.
“I do think there’s an underlying feeling, from initially professionals feeling working from home is great, to a community of a business is young and need to gather to share and understand and collectively create a culture.
“Our culture is very simple, we’re very much pro-business, libertarian I’d say. I think we’re fair but to instil that to a working staff not just on the editorial side it’s much more important to get those people together to tell them about that.
“I do think we’ve missed that collective gathering both editorially, commercially and distribution so I’m very much encouraging everyone back when we can. Let’s sit round tables and work out a format that works for us, each template will be different per business.
“Looking at TfL figures they’re up to 70 per cent pre-Covid levels so people are beginning to get themselves back and travelling on buses and the TfL tube.
“Buses are almost up to 80 per cent so the general mood of London is we’re getting back to a situation where we want to get back on the road and back to work, how we get back into work in term of timeframes and Monday to Friday I’ll leave that to individual businesses. I think the banks are quite strict, they’ve come to the conclusion if you’re going to work from home, you don’t need to be paid a London salary.
“I’d argue what London has done is stagnate and not grow and every business understands if you’re not growing you’re not doing the right thing and you lose your place as number one, two or three in the financial sense of the world. I think the City of London Corporation has done a great rethink of itself during this time, the zero emissions policy and the mantra of being the number one green financial city of the world is very brave.”