The bankers' view of G20: an arresting bet for tradershttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/02/bankers-betting-protesters-g20
At Coq d'Argent, the restaurant atop the salmon-coloured building at Number One Poultry, next to Bank station, two traders were angry that the police didn't seem to be making any arrests. "The demonstrators are goading the police and hitting them, but they aren't arresting anyone," said one.
"I'll make money if they arrest more than 140," he said. Traders, he explained, were putting spread bets on the number of arrests - with the quoted spread on Bloomberg at 130-140. They were also paying out on deaths and if more than 20 protesters were injured in horse charges.
The riots, they said, were only a minor inconvenience: "We've been in this morning, made a lot of money and now are chilling out."
There were very few suits on show, and few convincing attempts to dress down. A Barbour, pressed jeans and deck shoes are unlikely to fool anyone.
One financier, in a blue pin-stripe suit and red tie, his hair slicked back Gordon Gecko-style, had dressed up "in defiance". Had he received any abuse? "Surprisingly not," he said. "Everybody will agree with some things they are protesting against, but the way they go about it is misguided." A number of people at his bank had stayed home and others dressed casually, he said. "But I don't see why I should be intimidated."
Some protest groups had produced a map of the Square Mile with targets including the major banks marked, and many workers had been told to stay home. Some, such as AXA in Old Broad Street, had closed their offices entirely.
At Killik & Co, a stockbroking firm on the corner of Gresham Street, close to banks including Nomura, Dresdner Kleinwort and Lloyds TSB, the small staff had turned up for work. The rest of the building was empty though.
"It is a ghost town here," said James Gatehouse, a former army officer who runs the branch, looking out of the window. "Apparently a lot of people have dressed down in the City today so they can go straight to Harlequins v Worcester at Twickenham tonight."