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Opinion

Sinking ships among the glitz

Lehman Brothers has finally finished moving its London headquarters from its slightly gloomy premises in Broadgate to its shiny new tower in Docklands, joining Standard & Poor's and Bank of America as new residents in what is now London's key financial district. The building is so new that the local cab drivers haven't worked out how to get to it yet. And the building is very striking. In keeping with the big banks' one-upmanship in glitzy foyer design, it is super sleek and modern.

So it is a bit odd to emerge from the lift on the top floor for the meeting rooms to be greeted by antique wooden furniture and lush curtains.

If you didn't know better you would think you were in a quaint old 19th century townhouse, until you look out of the window and realise how high up you are.

It all helps to give clients and visitors the impression that Lehman Brothers is a time-honoured, stable institution.

Let's hope that by the time visitors start arriving in earnest, they don't notice that several of the paintings on the walls are of sinking ships.

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