Canary Wharf’s bankers don denim, brace for protests
Some in Canary Wharf swapped their emblematic pin-striped suits for more casual gear on Thursday as London’s banking bastion braced for anti-capitalist protesters.
“We have advised staff to dress casually and security around Canary Wharf has been tightened significantly,” said Robert Whitton, chairman of Whitton Investments, an investment management firm based in the district.
The majority of G20 protests are expected to migrate from the City of London towards the summit epicentre at the nearby ExCel complex in the London Docklands on Thursday. Businesses on the nearby Canary Wharf estate, which houses banks such as HSBC, Citi, Barclays, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley in a cluster of London’s tallest buildings, are on high alert for trouble.
“Batten down the hatches!” yelled the April 1 front page of The Docklands, a free newspaper, but by 1000 GMT on Thursday, the area around Canary Wharf Underground station seemed undisturbed, barring a few extra security guards and perhaps quieter-than-usual streets.
Property broker Jones Lang LaSalle, which occupies space in the former European headquarters of collapsed U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, has advised staff to don jeans for the day, echoing advice given by neighbours HSBC and Thomson Reuters.
One employee of BGC Partners, the interdealer broker, who is based at Barclays’ Canary Wharf headquarters said staff had been told not to carry briefcases or any corporate-branded merchandise to avoid attracting unwelcome attention.
(Reporting by Sinead Cruise)