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Company & Livery History
Prior to 1999, it had not been possible to form an international company, because of the regulations which precluded the granting of Freedom of the City to anyone other than British, British Commonwealth or European citizens (to become a Liveryman, one must be “free” of both the City and the Company). When the Court of Common Council voted to extend the freedom to all, regardless of nationality, the way became clear to instigate an international banking and financial services guild and The Guild of International Bankers was founded in July 2001. In October 2002 the Guild was constituted a Company of the City of London without Livery and its Ordinances were duly enrolled among the records of the City. On the 21 September 2004, the Guild was constituted a full Livery Company (106th). The Company successfully Petitioned for Royal Charter which was granted on the 10th December 2007. The Company currently has over 500 members, drawn from over 250 companies or institutions and with 43 nationalities represented. Many are senior bankers but, recognising the diversity of the City and with a view to ensuring long-term continuity, membership extends throughout the professional ranks of the City and includes a number of finance students.
The Crest, Arms and Supporters
The Crest and Helm
The Crest is an important part of the achievement (the word is derived from Latin crista, a cock’s comb). The “comb” ran from the forehead over the crown and was originally a reinforcement to lessen the impact of a blow. The idea of including a Helm in the representational display of arms presumably arose from the observation that, as Crests were all different and some had hereditary or other special significance or were derived from associated devices, they were as distinctive in their way as shields.
The Company Crest (a Bermuda Sloop) was taken from the badge of the Overseas Bankers Club (OBC) and slightly modified. The reason for using the ship was to continue the historical traditions passed down from the OBC to the Company and to represent the internationalism of the Company. The ship sits on 5 gold bezants (gold coins that were first minted in Byzantium and England for use by merchants) representing the 5 major continents. The point at which the Crest was attached to the Helm by rivets or laces seems to have been disguised in various ways, for example by twisting around it a plain band of cloth or a lady’s “favour”, and from this developed the wreath or torse of heraldry. It is shown now as a twisted ribbon of two or more colours. The “mantling” emanating from the Helm originated from the need to insulate the metal helm from the heat of the sun with a small mantle, which predictably was made into a handsome adjunct to the outfit.
The Shield is divided vertically with one half black, the other red (credit and debit) with a white dragon rampant (the City of London Dragon) as the principal charge, within an orle (circle) of bezants.
The Supporters are Griffins, the “guardians of treasure” and to make them unique, each holds a 13th century “pyx” chest (treasure chest).
The motto chosen literally translates as “Nation to Nation” to represent the internationalism of the Company.
For more information on the history of Livery Companies CLICK HERE.
The latest version of the Company History is available to download -