About the strip > The 10s
New US President Barak Obama tried to get tough with bankers - with predictable results.
01 Feb 10
The James Cameron film "Avatar" set new ground in digital technology and also seemed to serve as a parable for the reckless excesses of bankers.
08 Feb 10
The media’s predictions of the supposedly devastating consequences of the Pig Flu pandemic proved to be groundless. But the financial world acquired a new acronym.
10 Feb 10
Alex was determined to win the bank's annual New Year weigh loss competition, which unfortunately involved giving up alcohol.
11 Feb 10
26 Feb 10
The Greek crisis, which was to drag on for many a year (decade?), began to make the headlines.
15 Mar 10
Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling had had enough of being blamed for the financial crisis and so a General Election was called so that someone else could take a turn. Alex’s colleague Justin bravely threw his hat into the ring to stand as a Conservative candidate.
15 Apr 10
In April a cloud of volcanic ash emanating from Iceland caused an air flight ban leading to many business travellers being stranded abroad.
27 Apr 10
Penny, always looking for the right birthday present for the man who has everything, gave Alex a personal trainer for his birthday.
28 May 10
Christopher had a new girlfriend, Sophie, but their budding relationship was put under strain as she found herself attracting the unwanted attentions of Alex.
16 Jun 10
We met William the fund manager for the first time. He would become something of a Cassandra figure in the strip. Constantly predicting Armageddon in the financial markets - for all the correct economic fundamentals - but being frustrated as central bank stimulus and the short-sighted desire for profit caused the stock market to keep defying financial gravity and soar to new record highs. We are entering what will soon be known as the “New Normal”.
08 Jul 10
The Eurozone continued to unwind. Ireland was the latest country that needed a bail out and European central bankers descended on Dublin. Naturally Alex was on hand.
25 Nov 10
In the real world Alex was invited to present his own Sunday evening drive time show on Classic FM, which involved him spinning classical tunes and offering his opinions on various issues of the day in between. Towry Wealth Management boldly elected to sponsor the series (with the cautionary strapline “Love Alex. Trust Towry”). Robert Bathurst reprised his role as Alex, but kindly agreed not to be credited. The result was a bit like Orson Welles’ legendary 1938 radio broadcast of the War of the Worlds. Many Classic FM listeners (well, those of them who didn’t read the Telegraph at any rate) failed to realise it was a spoof and believed they were listening to a genuine investment banker, airing his outrageous and insensitive opinions at a time when the global financial crisis was in full flux. Complaints flooded into the Classic FM switchboard and there was presumably an increase in Sunday evening road rage incidents in South East England. The programme was short listed for all four of the major radio awards and won two of them, including a Sony Gold Award (the judges described it as “superb, inventive, engaging and intelligent”). Classic FM, perhaps mindful of its stated mission to deliver “relaxation” to its listeners, declined to recommission the series
Inspired by the England cricket team’s unexpected new prowess Alex took a Christmas business trip Down Under to watch the Ashes.
16 Dec 10
The dark forces of compliance acquired a new sinister power as the UK Bribery Act came into force. Alex took appropriate action.
07 Jan 11
With the coalition government searching round for people to pin the blame for the financial crisis on (apart from the previous Labour administration) senior bankers were summoned before a select parliamentary committee to explain their conduct. Alex’s old boss Rupert received the call.
31 Jan 11
The regulators got in on the act and used the financial crisis as a excuse for imposing ever more Draconian compliance rules on the City. Skiing trips with clients, which were once the norm, were becoming harder to justify. Alex remained recalcitrant.
16 Feb 11
The “Arab Spring” occurred across the Middle East and North Africa. Brutal dictators were deposed in a series of popular uprisings organised on social media.
24 Feb 11
The Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan had serious implications for the global climate, financial and otherwise.
16 Mar 11
Alex managed to wangle himself an invitation to the most prestigious social event of the year: the wedding of his ex-graduate trainee Prince William to Kate Middleton.
29 Apr 11
The mercurial Brian McGure made his first appearance. He defected from Megabank to a competitor, leaving chaos in his wake and his colleagues in the lurch.
17 Jun 11
Alex got hip with the modern corporate world by taking clients to Glastonbury rather than his habitual haunt of Glyndebourne. Naturally he hired a corporate winnebago for the occasion.
24 Jun 11
It was Rugby World Cup year and Alex hatched machinations to get himself out to New Zealand to catch it.
19 Jul 11
Social media was now becoming a crucial part of people’s lives and Linked-In was now the main way that people in the financial world could keep themselves in the loop.
20 Jul 11
Bankers had been used to their desk phones being tapped by compliance for years, but now the FSA introduced new regulations which meant that corporate BlackBerrys would be recorded. This caused understandable consternation.
22 Jul 11
Greece was about to go bust again and had to have another bail out. People were already starting to lose count. And there would be plenty more to come.
25 Jul 11
It was a long hot summer in London and riots erupted. Alex was horrified to hear that the perpetrators used BlackBerrys to organise the violence.
10 Aug 11
With bankers now Public Enemy Number One in society’s eyes Alex wondered whether they could continue to enjoy their upmarket lifestyles.
13 Sep 11
Now pushing fifty, Alex attended a memorial service, sadly an increasingly regular occurrence in his life. In this case it was for a former client.
18 Oct 11
Anti-capitalist demonstrators had set up a protest camp next to St Paul’s cathedral. Alex convened a lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss the situation.
07 Nov 11
Alex’s life was thrown into turmoil as its mainstay revealed she was leaving him. No, not his wife, but his PA, who was heading off on maternity leave.
23 Nov 11
A new event featured in the corporate calendar : Movember. Clive decided to grow a moustache for charity and was upset when the rest of the department followed suit.
28 Nov 11
Alex took time out over Christmas to pay an emergency visit to his long-time client Santa Claus, whose business had now gone bust.
23 Dec 11
Executive remuneration was a thorny issue of the day as CEO salaries defied austerity and spiralled out of all control.
24 Jan 12
The lack of female company directors was another bone of contention and the “30% Club” was established to get more women onto boards. Rupert attended an early meeting.
30 Jan 12
Scapegoats for what was now known as the GFC (global financial crisis) were being found. Fred Goodwin, aka "Fred The Shred", disgraced former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood.
06 Feb 12
Alex celebrated his fiftieth birthday with a drinks party for a few select friends, colleagues, clients and headhunters.
23 Feb 12
The stress of corporate life became too much for Alex and he succumbed to a heart attack. Colleagues rushed to lay claim to his job and bonus.
21 Mar 12
The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee with a flotilla on the Thames. Alex’s office overlooks the river and he hosted a small celebratory gathering.
04 Jun 12
Clive had always had artistic aspirations. He now published his first novel. A potboiler about the financial world. It didn’t do as well as he’d hoped.
21 Jun 12
Alex put up a client for membership of his exclusive golf club, in flagrant defiance of the rules over proposing business contacts.
17 Sep 12
The special deal that all banks now hankered after was a social media float, which would make geeks into billionaires and earn bankers big bonuses. Alex landed one.
19 Sep 12
Bankers were feeling the pinch of austerity. When Alex’s boss insisted his team could only lunch in restaurants offering “meal deals” Alex staged a “lunch strike” in protest.
22 Oct 12
The once ubiquitous BlackBerry was beginning to lose its dominance in the City, to be superseded by the upstart iPhone.
19 Nov 12
Alex’s long-standing client Hardcastle asked his corporate advisers to re-pitch for his account. Alex’s team were stunned into action.
27 Nov 12
According to the ancient Mayan calendar the world would end in December 2012. Alex made plans accordingly.
17 Dec 12
Alex finally got his longed-for invite to the gathering of the global elite of business and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Needless to say, networking was his main priority.
22 Jan 13
Clive became a father late in life as Bridget was duly delivered of twins. The Telegraph City Diary ran a competition to name them. The financial crisis was still uppermost in most readers’ minds and suggestions such as “Fanny and Freddie” and “Libor and Euribor” came in.
12 Mar 13
Even hybrid cars were beginning to gain a foothold in the new enlightened financial world.
17 Apr 13
Penny’s career advancement continued to Alex’s chagrin. She satisfied the business world’s quota-driven desire for female directors and was offered various non-executive directorships.
19 Apr 13
Obviously Alex always puts his clients first, but nevertheless he was horrified when his long-standing Northern metal-basher client Mr Hardcastle was awarded a knighthood.
11 Jul 13
Alex embraced the digital economy by road testing a pair of “smart glasses”
30 Sep 13
Social media floats were now all the rage in the City and Alex got involved in the Twitter IPO.
24 Oct 13
Much attention was paid by the media to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
11 Nov 13
Megabank hosted its annual kids’ Christmas party. Guess who was playing Santa?
18 Dec 13
Alex attended Davos once again, but in hurrying from one party to another he slipped and broke his leg. He spent several week on crutches.
24 Jan 14
Ecological disaster affected the South East of England in the form of severe flooding. Alex was distressed when his wine cellar was submerged.
21 Feb 14
Fresh indignities for Alex as Penny’s blossoming career as a non executive director obliged her to attend an off-site, to which he was invited in the capacity of “significant other”.
07 Mar 14
Alex checked himself into a fashionable and exclusive Austrian detox clinic where patients pay through the nose to be starved.
26 Mar 14
High frequency trading was now responsible for a large part of the turnover of the City. Alex and Clive debated its role in the modern economic climate.
30 Apr 14
05 May 14
Alex got a new intern: Misha, the son of a billionaire Russian oligarch (who coincidentally also happened to be Alex’s client).
21 May 14
After twenty years of attending the annual Extel Survey lunch Alex was finally accorded the honour of presenting an award at the ceremony. He did so via video link, engaging in banter with master of ceremonies Emily Maitlis. This is believed to be the first time a two dimensional character had presented an award at Extel (though judging by some of the speeches given by previous American guest presenters you might find that hard to believe).
You can see Alex’s appearance at Extel here.
Alex’s gay colleague Philip finally tied the knot with his long-term partner and fellow banker Nigel.
19 Jun 14
Traders used to rule the roost in the City in terms of earnings, prestige and attractiveness to Essex Girls, but their dominance was now under threat.
03 Jul 14
The Scots held a Referendum on Independence. They voted to stay in the UK, but another one may be along soon.
18 Sep 14
Alex’s Russian client asked him to float a chain of lap dancing bars. Alex and Clive eagerly threw themselves into doing the due diligence.
05 Nov 14
Every industry has its own awards ceremony these days and Compliance now got in on the act with a black-tie dinner. Clive attended.
20 Nov 14
The terrorist attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris seemed an unlikely subject for a cartoon, but nevertheless..
12 Jan 15
Another year, another bail out for Greece. Alex had an odd dream.
17 Feb 15
The must-see film was an adaptation of E.L. James’s erotic novel “50 Shades of Grey.” Penny went to see it on a girls’ night out.
20 Feb 15
The latest manifestation of the “New Normal” was negative interest rates, which had now been imposed in several countries as a countermeasure to the financial crisis.
24 Mar 15
The Tories won an unexpected victory in the General Election which was greeted with almost unreserved joy by the City.
11 May 15
There was a new accessory in the fashion for taking “selfies”: the selfie-drone. Alex naturally was an early adopter.
22 Jun 15
Megabank appointed a new CEO. In deference to the financial crisis he is a former compliance officer and he set about reinventing the bank accordingly.
10 Jul 15
Clive’s world was turned upside down as he came back early from a business trip to find his wife Bridget in bed with his boss Cyrus.
03 Nov 15
Clive was left with no alternative but to respond to this outrage in the only way permitted to a gentleman: to challenge Cyrus to a duel. They duly meet at dawn on Hampstead Heath.
07 Dec 15
The pending referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union divided the nation.
21 Mar 16
The replacement of maternity leave with “shared parental leave” form April gave new options to professional power couples.
21 Apr 16
Clive campaigned on behalf of the “Leave” campaign in the Brexit referendum, but encountered unexpected resistance in the Shires.
10 May 16
Britain confounded the polls (and the Poles) by voting for Brexit . The City of London was fearful of losing its status as Europe’s centre of finance.
01 Jul 16
Brexit only strengthened the power of the regulators in the City. Mindful of this new order Alex entertained his compliance officer on a corporate grouse shoot.
19 Sep 16
Deutsche Bank, which had once been the only European investment bank that could match the might of the American houses, was in trouble.
03 Oct 16
There was much speculation about the maverick wild-card Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the forthcoming US Presidential election.
05 Oct 16
It seemed another big brand name was going up in smoke.
14 Oct 16
Alex had his boss Cyrus round for dinner to bend his ear ahead of bonus time. Bridget was also invited, necessitating the host’s identity being kept secret from Clive.
27 Oct 16
28 Oct 16
04 Nov 16
Just as the liberal elite were getting bored of berating Brexit, along came President Trump to infuriate them even more.
10 Nov 16
Despite all the doom-mongering some sectors of the economy were feeling the beneficial effects of Brexit.
23 Nov 16
02 Dec 16
The year opened with all the usual speculation about bonuses. Management practised standard mind games.
10 Jan 17
12 Jan 17
At the World Economic Forum at Davos, the annual gathering of the elite of the worlds of business and politics, the only topic of conversation was the newly-elected President Trump.
20 Jan 17
27 Jan 17
There were fears for the effect of Brexit on the City of London’s pre-eminence as Europe’s financial centre. Of course some people were able to see a positive agenda.
01 Feb 17
The City had been given a big let-off in that the implementation of the latest draconian regulatory directive, Mifid II, had been deferred by a year. This didn’t stop people pondering its implications.
06 Feb 17
Banks made much of their diversity and inclusiveness policies but in reality they were still hiring well-off, well-connected graduates.
09 Feb 17
10 Feb 17
On February 24th Alex celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his first appearance in a newspaper (The London Daily News, as you ask). He and Clive mused on their career longevity.
24 Feb 17
The Brexit vote was perceived to be a reaction against the trend towards globalisation.
28 Feb 17
The latest manifestation of cost-cutting in investment banks was a policy known as “juniorisation” which involved firing highly-paid older people and replacing them with more affordable younger ones.
02 Mar 17
Compliance brought in specialist help in its ongoing efforts to stamp out illicit practices.
03 Mar 17
Alex’s wife Penny’s career as a non-executive director continued to thrive.
20 Mar 17
The uncertainty of global conditions presented the perfect opportunity for money to change hands in the occasional informal wager.
21 Mar 17
In the ongoing war between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials in the office the latest battleground was Blockchain.
23 Mar 17
Clive’s marriage to Bridget was clearly over after her continuing affair with his boss Cyrus. Alex had some words of consolation.
27 Mar 17
In the light of possible terrorist plots targeting aircraft there was talk of airlines banning laptops.
31 Mar 17
Clive and Bridget separately discussed the issue of him taking his bank to an industrial tribunal over Cyrus’s affair with her. She wished he’d “man up”. Predictably he didn’t.
03 Apr 17
12 Apr 17
A national treasure that has been around considerably longer than Alex, the Duke of Edinburgh, announced his retirement from Royal duties.
08 May 17
Markets, pumped up with the steroids of central bank policy and hopes for Trump’s tax cuts, were still rising inexorably. Alex was not one to buck the trend.
11 May 17
A trendy new media-style club opened in the City in Midland Bank’s old banking hall - The Ned. Bankers were desperate to get membership. Alex was sceptical.
22 May 17
Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly called a snap General Election for May 8th to capitalise on her party’s apparent lead in the opinion polls.
30 May 17
06 Jun 17
07 Jun 17
The Election backfired horribly on the Tories and, following a disastrous campaign, they lost their majority in Parliament and only just clung on to power. A revitalised Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, was suddenly the talking point (and in the City, the fear) of the moment.
12 Jun 17
13 Jun 17
There was a heatwave at Royal Ascot and the stringent dress code was relaxed for the first time in living memory.
23 Jun 17
Alex was as ever a guest at the annual charity cricket match hosted by ex-City grandee Sir Victor Blank.
30 Jun 17
Alex’s colleague Steven unexpectedly started to identify himself as a transgender woman named Stephanie.
03 Jul 17
06 Jul 17
10 Jul 17
19 Jul 17
The iPhone celebrated its 10th anniversary. In this short time it had totally displaced the once ubiquitous BlackBerry as the gadget of choice for the investment banker.
20 Jul 17
Alex, clearly feeling his age, was put on the 5:2 diet.
21 Jul 17
Alex had his inevitable stand-off with his summer intern, a “snowflake” called Jacob.
28 Jul 17
The “Magic Money Tree” which Labour supposedly would have to resort to in order to fund its public spending commitments, had been much discussed in the media in the fallout from the General Election. In a summer fantasy sequence Alex found the actual tree growing in the garden of No 10 Downing Street.
03 Aug 17
04 Aug 17
With only four months to go till Mifid II came into force, banks were beginning to make serious preparations for this huge regulatory shake up.
04 Sep 17
It was ten years since the run on Northern Rock kicked off the financial crisis. Central banks were still running the economy.
06 Sep 17
Banks made much of their diversity and inclusiveness policies but in reality they were still hiring well-off, well-connected graduates.
07 Sep 17
08 Sep 17
With his divorce imminent, Clive’s attempts to hide his money from his wife’s lawyers hit a technological snag
13 Sep 17
Generational tensions between the Baby Boomers and their children continued.
14 Sep 17
Alex’s bank moved into a new corporate HQ - a modern state-of-the-art “groundscraper”. Alex considered it a prison.
18 Sep 17
PR firm Bell Pottinger collapsed following some dodgy dealings in South Africa. Its competitors were not slow to profit from its unfortunate demise.
19 Sep 17
RyanAir announced mass flight cancellations due to what CEO Michael O’Leary described as a “cock up”. You might not have thought Alex would be affected by it, but he was.
20 Sep 17
“Swipe a ride” tech firm Uber had its licence to operate in London revoked by the Mayor Sadiq Khan. Alex and Clive railed at his short-sightedness.
25 Sep 17
Despite ten years of compliance overdrive the financial world was, according to an official report, riskier that it had been before the financial crisis.
27 Sep 17
Alex waged an ongoing war with his compliance officer over the latter’s attempts to ban him from entertaining his clients.
28 Sep 17
But Alex’s old boss Rupert, now semi-retired, had no compliance issues with his trip to the grouse moor.
29 Sep 17
A routine lunch with a friend became suddenly problematic for Alex’s newly transgender colleague Stephanie.
03 Oct 17
It was the country sports season and, despite the best efforts of compliance, Alex managed to fit in a bit of shooting and fishing.
10 Oct 17
Alex made his annual visit to the October Club - that gathering of the great and the good of the City at the Savoy with the aim of eating, drinking, networking and in the process raising half a million pounds for charity.
11 Oct 17
12 Oct 17
No one (the regulators included) still had any idea was going to happen when Mifid II hit in January, but the outlook wasn’t positive.
16 Oct 17
18 Oct 17
As the bank strove to meet diversity quotas it was expected to ensure that appropriate provisions were in place.
19 Oct 17
Alex failed to see eye to eye with his Millennial graduate trainee Leo over technological innovations.
26 Oct 17
Banks were still setting aside large sums of compensation money for PPI misselling claims. Alex came up with rather an elegant solution to the problem.
27 Oct 17
Stephanie had become decidedly po-faced since her gender reassignment and was reluctant to join in some of the more manly pursuits in the office.
03 Nov 17
In the wake of social media accusations against Harvey Weinstein of workplace harassment, Alex’s own behaviour toward certain colleagues was found to be “inappropriate”.
07 Nov 17
Alex won a pitch to float a sandwich shop business. The CEO turned out to have once been his graduate trainee.
10 Nov 17
Thanksgiving was coming up and Alex discovered he had more in common with his American boss that he had supposed (his cynicism proved to be well founded).
22 Nov 17
The gender pay gap was much discussed in view of the forthcoming regulation which would oblige all companies to declare the differential between the salaries of male and female employees by April 2018.
28 Nov 17
As is its wont at Christmas time, the cartoon veered off into a fantasy sequence about robots taking over the financial world. This story could run and run.