I did a selfie with Boris. I’m not sure what made me do it
I’m usually far more restrained, but I was wearing my lucky gold pumps and they give me that networking superpower for lawyers: a thick skin. And I’m not even at MIPIM yet. This was at Gatwick, on the escalator down to the departure lounge.
A woman on the escalator in front of me, having seen the selfie nonsense, asked if I worked for Boris. We all work for Boris, I said, in one sense or another.
And Boris is going to be doing his turn on the London stand and it’s no surprise that he would take time out of his schedule to talk to members of the global property industry, because London property is big business; London is almost a city state. And Boris is a poster boy for the property industry.
Keen on maintaining London’s prime position in the prime market he’s happy to talk to developers and doesn’t regard the City of London as a leper colony. But a little bird tells me he has a surprise up his sleeve on the foreign investor front.
And this MIPIM, there’s a sense of optimism, notwithstanding the doom and gloom on my Twitter timeline. No talk of NHS cuts and #failingGrayling here; even the regions are back in force. And the folder full of finance houses I have in my bag is testament to the desire to lend. Even the clearers have woken up.
Not that they’ll be throwing the parties of old. Other than Coutts, most of the big banks shut up their MIPIM shops in 2008 and the heady mix of Cannes, yachts and champagne isn’t really the sort image they’re trying to project these days.
But make no mistake, the lenders are here, competing with the off-market operators, the funds and all those other cash-rich entities looking to make a buck in the UK market. I’ll be trying to speak to quite a lot of them, during the course of the week. So many banks, so little time. I may even be wearing my lucky pumps.
Nicky Richmond is managing partner of niche property firm Brecher