Staff at the headquarters of British capitalism get their hands dirty to raise funds.
It started in the coffee houses of London in the 17th century, and last year it moved to smart new offices in Paternoster Square, next to St Paul's Cathedral. But it has always been the temple of capitalism, and last year's figures suggest it's a pretty successful temple - a turnover of £260m, with an operating profit of £82m. What's more, it has a highly paid female chief executive with an exotic CV, Clara Furse, and an intriguing kinetic sculpture in its foyer. Called The Source, this consists of 729 spheres, suspended on metal cables, which move to form patterns and shapes and show the opening and closing prices each day. Oh, and it's 10 metres taller than the Angel of the North, brags the blurb.
Nowadays, no company of this calibre is going to neglect its obligations to the wider community, and this year the London Stock Exchange has a new partner charity, Brainwave, which supports children with brain injury or impairment. The corporate contribution to Brainwave is £75,000 a year, less than a tenth of Ms Furse's pay last year and a bit less than 0.1 per cent of last year's operating profit. Make of that what you will.
However, staff are encouraged to get involved, and their fundraising efforts for previous partner charity the Trident Trust amounted to £300,000 over three years. Staff fundraising activity is on target to match the corporate contribution to Brainwave and a dinner for the 10th anniversary of AIM, the market for smaller companies, also raised funds for the charity.
One group of staff went to Somerset recently to sort out Brainwave's garden, and were particularly proud of pulling up a large tree stump: well, you would be, wouldn't you, after a week watching those balls go up and down?