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London Business Tips

January 19th, 2013 1:50 am

Bank is the finest architectural arena in the city, heart of the finance sector and the busy meeting point of eight streets. It is overlooked by a handsome collection of neoclassical buildings, among them the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and Mansion House – each one faced in Portland stone.

This concentrated financial centre is often referred to as the ‘Square Mile’. Today all the key money markets and the city’s 500 foreign banks continue to be centred around Bank.

By virtue of its position between New York and Tokyo, and the employment of a highly skilled workforce whose native tongue is the international language of finance, the city has remained at the top of the world’s money markets. London’s finance sector employs over 150,000 people in the city and dominates the European foreign-exchange markets, leading the world in futures and options.

Bank of England

Established by William III to raise funds for his costly war against France, the Bank of England, nicknamed the ‘Grand Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’ wasn’t erected on its present site until 1734. Occupying a vast 3.5-acre island site, the outer curtain wall is windowless. The museum has its entrance on Bartholemew Lane and traces the history of the bank, including specimens of every note ever issued by the bank over the centuries.
Open hours: Monday to Friday – 10:00 to 17:00
Nearest tube station: Bank

London Stock Exchange

The modern Stock Exchange is a short way up Threadneedle Street from Bank. Its public gallery has been closed to the public, although the human ‘scrum’ of dealers has now been largely replaced by computerised dealing.
Nearest tube station: Bank

Royal Exchange

This graceful building was twice destroyed by fire since it was first built in 1570. The current building is fronted by a massive eight-column portico and a very convenient set of steps for lunching office workers, was built in the 1840s by Sir Edward Tite. Guided tours can be arranged by phoning the building’s curator in advance.

Mansion House

This is the Lord Mayor’s splendid classical lodgings during his or – on only one occasion so far – her term of office. It is also open to group tours. To join a group tour you will need to phone several months in advance and then confirm in writing.

Greeting Someone

A brief and friendly handshake is usually the customary greeting. New acquaintances are usually addressed on first name terms.

Hours of Business

In general, most offices will operate between the hours of 09:00 and 17:30, Monday to Friday, although business hours do vary from one industry to another. Most London banks open between 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday and larger branches may also open on Saturday mornings. For business meetings, both men and women wear suits, although the British often adopt an informal, yet presentable dress code.


Some restaurants now operate a strict ‘no smoking’ policy, although many do cater for smokers in separate areas. Most offices in London are now ‘non smoking’ and even though the British have a fairly relaxed attitude to smoking, it is sensible to only smoke when in the company of other like-minded people.

Five Great Reasons To Use An Independent Insurance Broker

January 18th, 2013 10:32 pm

If you’re looking for insurance you will have to choose between using an insurance company or a specialist insurance broker. It’s often easier to find cheaper insurance by using an insurance broker and by doing so you can be confident that your agent will be working for you instead of for a parent company.

Here are five of the best reasons to use an independent insurance broker:

• An insurance broker works on your behalf, whereas if you were to purchase insurance through an insurance company or via an agent you will find yourself having to commit to policies which may not be in your best interests. Insurance companies are able to write their own policies and decide who they will and will not insure.

Insurance companies and their agents tend to be less experienced and professional than brokers, who are committed to working on the behalf of clients who often have a diverse range of insurance needs.

• Insurance companies will often try to sell you generic insurance premiums if your needs are too specific for them to match. And insurance broker will work closely with you to determine your exact insurance needs, so that the policy you buy will be the perfect fit, first time.

• Brokers are required to furnish you with complete details about all their commission rates and what effects they will have on your premiums. Insurance companies and their agents need make no such disclosure, which means you’ll ultimately be left wondering just how much of your money is actually going to pay your insurance.

• When it comes to offering insurance, UK brokers – like Towergate Insurance – are bound by strict FSA regulations which determine what kind of insurance they can sell and at what prices. So when you choose a UK insurance broker, you know that buying your new insurance will be safe, reliable and legal.

How to Find a Good Insurance Broke

There are plenty of ways to find a good insurance broker, but finding the right insurance broker for you will be entirely dependent on your circumstances and specialist insurance needs. Some people choose to act upon recommendations from their friends and family when looking for an insurance broker, especially if they have experience in this area. Others use social media networking to find testimonials or go straight to an insurance broker’s website to read more about a particular company.

All of these methods are fine but at the end of the day you’ll find that it’s always best to have a direct conversation or meeting with any prospective insurance broker before making your decision. Choosing an insurance broker is much like conducting any other type of business transaction, and by getting to know a broker before you choose to use them you will stand a much better chance of assessing the future potential of your working relationship.

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