Complaints as bankers asked to work from boat in the English channel
Canary Wharf it is not, but 'Our Regina' has advantages that extend far beyond a ready supply of artisan coffee and fast transport links to central London. The modified fishing vessel is moored in the English channel, exactly midway between the UK and France. Post-Brexit, its owner - Derek Peel - is optimistic that these advantages will far outweigh issues of access or motion sickness.
Our Regina is one of four boats in Peel fleet. A former salestrader at Unicredit, Peel has spent the last two years investing in large redundant shipping vessels with cavernous hulls in order to provide trading floors for banks seeking to hedge against the uncertainty of Brexit. Once their interiors have been scrubbed and state-of-the art communications and technology systems installed, Our Regina and her sisters can each accommodate up to 50 traders and salespeople. Peel says there has been no shortage of demand for their space.
"Think of it like pirate radio in the '70s," Peel tells us. "We're like giant pirate trading floors."
Peel declined to comment on his clients, but while large US banks have publicly committed to Paris and Frakfurt, he said several have also signed up to his fleet, citing the "optionality" afforded by a floating location. "Our advantage is that we can straddle the two. We're client led - we can be in French waters in the morning and English waters in the afternoon," he said. "Although we always go back to England in the evening."
Traders who are being asked to relocate to the Reginas are less enthusiastic, with several reportedly resigning rather than working from the vessels. It doesn't help that the Reginas operate a shift system akin to offshore oil rigs. At the end of the day, traders working on the flotilla have little option but to retire to bunk spaces running alongside the trading floors. There, they receive a selection of traditional English meals cooked by Peel's wife and watch reruns of the 1970s TV classic 'The Generation Game.'
"Maybe I could get used to it," said one equities sales trader, who asked to remain anonymous. "There are some advantages to working a shift system. But the pervasive smell of fish is a problem, I don't like shepherd's pie and I have not had a proper coffee for over five days."
This article is, in fact, an April Fool.
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