In spite of living within spitting distance of the capital (a 20-minute drive and then 35-minute train ride into Waterloo), it’s a place I don’t relish visiting.
A trip to the Big Smoke for a meeting or conference invariably leaves me feeling exhausted, stressed and generally fed up.
‘Enjoying’ a rare sojourn in London last week, I observed Tube carriages packed with commuters so miserable looking they could have been extras from The Walking Dead.
I saw a friend from Manchester at the conference who commented on how much of a rush everyone he saw appeared to be in. And it costs a small fortune to get in and out of the city.
Surely the economics of going there and back every single day in order to find a slightly higher paying job can’t add up?
Yet London remains home to retail financial services. It’s where our regulator is based. It’s where many of the product providers and fund managers are located. It’s where valuable conferences often happen. If you have a career in this profession, it’s inevitable you will have to spend at least some time there.
While some organisations are taking a more enlightened view about alternative venues for conferences, and the use of technology to avoid the misery of a trip to London, it seems to be the centre of the financial services universe for the foreseeable future. However, hopefully that view will change.
Martin Bamford is chartered financial planner at Informed Choice