We don’t do acronyms here

You know, I’d be sorry to see the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley go under. Not because I have any particular vested interest in them – though I do hope a chum of mine who works at the latter is weathering this particular storm – but rather for their names.

See, ‘Goldman Sachs’, ‘Morgan Stanley’, ‘Lehman Brothers,’ ‘Merrill Lynch’ – these are names from a previous era. In my book, large companies should be named after small groups of people, who built the business out of a cowshed with their own hands, slaving late into the night with only a kerosene lamp and a dream.

Engineering companies used to be like this: Hawker Siddeley. Armstrong Whitworth. Vickers Supermarine (though I’m not sure who Mr. Supermarine was, it’s a cool name). The decline of interest in engineering careers can, I posit, be traced to the amalgamation of these proud institutions into the likes of the antiseptic ‘British Aircraft Corporation.’ Even ‘English Electric’ was better, barely.

If all financial institutions end up with names like ‘HBOS’ or, worse, ‘Lloyds TSB HBOS.’ it’ll be the end of Britain as a financial centre. The kids will simply lose interest. You mark my words.

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