Lord Mayor of London Nicholas Lyons is at the centre of a battle to make sure the City remains a global finance hub amid fierce competition from overseas. He talks to Financial News' Jeremy Chan about how to keep London on top, how to boost its capital markets, and what it's like to coronate a new King.

Jeremy Chan
Trading and Tech Correspondent, Financial News
Jeremy is the Trading and Tech Correspondent at Financial News, covering market structure in a variety of asset classes. He has previously written for accountants and corporate treasurers.
Nicholas Lyons
Lord Mayor of the City of London 2022-23
Alderman Nicholas Lyons was elected as the next Lord Mayor of the City of London on 29 September 2022. He took office as the 694th Lord Mayor on 11 November 2022. He previously served as Sheriff of the City of London in 2021-22 and in that capacity supported the then Lord Mayor, undertaking numerous engagements and activities at home and abroad.

Nicholas was born in Ireland, the son of Dr FSL Lyons, the Irish historian and Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. When his parents moved to Kent in 1964, he went to school in Canterbury, attending the King’s School and then Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he read history. After time as a political research assistant in London and with the Directorate General for External Relations at the EEC Commission in Brussels, Nicholas joined Morgan Guaranty Trust Company ofNew York in London in 1982 where he worked for 12 years, then at Salomon Brothers from 1994 to 1995 and then moved with a team to Lehman Brothers where he worked from 1995 until 2003. He specialised in advising banks and insurance companies on mergers and acquisitions and raising capital. He held a series of global leadership roles at Lehman Brothers, retiring in 2003 to begin a plural career, sitting on the boards of many financial institutions and numerous charities. His City career has spanned over 40 years.

He is currently taking a sabbatical from being Chairman of Phoenix Group Holdings, the largest player in the UK retirement and long term savings industry and a FTSE 100 company. Phoenix is the largest asset-owner signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in the UK. Last year when he became Sheriff, he stepped down from the group board of BUPA where he had chaired their new Sustainability Committee exploring the link between human health and bio diversity. He sits on the boards of Convex Group, a specialty insurance underwriter and Miller Insurance Services, a London market insurance broker. He is a member of the Leadership Council of The CityUK, the Advisory Board of the International Business & Diplomatic Exchange, the Association of British Insurers and the Chartered Insurance Institute.

The priorities the year will be ambitious and far-reaching, putting the City back where it belongs at the heart of the economy ata time when the country most requires it to step up and lead. Alderman Lyons will champion his Financing our Future theme - promoting a resilient, resourceful, and responsible City. It will focus on fueling the growth economy by deploying capital and expertise to supercharge economic growth nationwide and advancing our global competitiveness.

Financing our Future will seek to drive growth and investment especially in the areas of long-term infrastructure lending, green and sustainable financing, boosting the early-stage growth economy by mobilising private savings and pension funds, and attracting international asset owners to have more of their money managed by asset managers in the UK. All of which will be underpinned by a commitment to financial inclusion for all.

His philanthropic activities have revolved around education, children’s hospice care and the arts. This included being a Governor at The King’s School, Canterbury, Saint Columba’s College in Dublin, St Dunstan‘s College in Catford and King Edward’s, Witley in Surrey. With his focus on education, Nick has introduced National Numeracy to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and intends to convene a conference to lead a national discussion about how to address the twin challenges of financial literacy and financial inclusion.

Nicholas is a Trustee of the St Paul’s Cathedral Choristers’ Trust and of the East Anglia Art Fund and is a Patron of Temple Bar Trust. He is a Court Assistant both at the Merchant Taylors’ Company and at the Bakers’ Company. He is a Liveryman of both the Insurers’ and the Educators’ Companies. He is a Lieutenant of the City of London. Nicholas was elected Alderman for Tower Ward in September 2017. He sits on the Education Board and the Epping Forest and Commons Committee at the City of London Corporation. He has also sat on Planning and Transportation and Finance Committees and the Court of the Honourable the Irish Society. He is President of the Tower Ward Club, a member of the Guild of Freemen, the City Livery Club and the City of London Club. He is a director of the Lord Mayor‘s Show Ltd and Chairman of Trustees of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

Nicholas is married to Felicity who was until recently the Chair of Trustees of Tapping House, the Norfolk Hospice. She is a Liveryman of the Musicians’ Company, a sailor, kayaker and singer. They have four children, Oliver, Charles, India and Alistair, two (soon to be three) daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and four grandchildren and counting. They spend their weekends in North Norfolk, their home for the last 20 years. Nicholas is a keen golfer and was recently Captain of The Royal West Norfolk Golf Club. He still plays golf for the Norfolk Seniors County team when they are desperate.
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