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Friday Feature: Antony Lowther, OW 1983

1st March 2024

When were you at King Edward's and what was your most memorable experience there?

I was at King Edward’s Witley from the summer of 1976 to 1983, 41 years ago and I can assure you much of it seems like yesterday! First, I was in the junior house QMH and then Wakefield, ending my days there as Head of House and School Prefect. They were interesting times; 1976 was the start of the Punk era and so you had long haired Vita formers listening to progressive rock like Genesis (Charterhouse boys), Deep Purple, Cream etc and the Third Years and up listening to the Sex Pistols, Undertones and the Clash. Later the ‘New Romantics’ hit the scene and Duran Duran and Depeche Mode were the flavour of the day.

I had many memorable times at School some grand, like the Queen Mother’s visit, and some smaller scale, like House discos, or Sunday Tea with rubber cheese on toast and a warm yoghurt! There were endless rounds of toast at Jasper’s house (the then Chaplain and head of RE), freezing games of football on Lower Gurdon’s, School Drama competitions, and all my friends, the most important element of my time at the school.

What is your job and role now?

I am a Managing Director and Head of Compliance for a German bank in the City of London. The role is not very different from being Head of House and School Prefect if I’m honest and the skills I learnt at KESW in those roles I probably apply every day at work, minus the task cards and detentions. Sadly I am not allowed to use these anymore! My job is to try and ensure the bank operates within the law and regulations. It is a job that has developed into a very wide career chic as regulations have become more and more numerous and fast changing.

The risks that we are dealing with at the moment are Russian sanctions brought on by the war in Ukraine, and the threat of Cyber attacks, either in our public facing bank offerings or in our behind-the-scenes operations where the internet and the connectivity of the cloud means that the price we pay for the benefits of these things exposes us to the risks of hackers and cyber criminals.

Congratulations on your recent entry to the Freedom of the City of London. What does this involve?

The freedom of the City of London is a very ancient tradition. It is not an award, reward or honour and there are various ways of obtaining the freedom for anybody who may be interested. For me, it is an important stepping stone in my membership of a Livery (the Worshipful Company of International Bankers). There are over 200 Livery companies represented in the City of London they were the organisations that regulated and oversaw a vast range of commercial activity in the City and created a system of apprentices and trainees for different jobs and tasks within the City. Some are very old and date back to the 1300s, 1500s, and up to the present day. Some of the original Livery’s dealt with being a Merchant, a Mercer, a Fishmonger or Goldsmith or Grocer and some of the more modern ones include mine the International Bankers, as well as Insurers, Actuaries, Management consultants, Information Technologists but as I say there are over 200 with a very wide range of coverage to Basket Weavers (the late Queen recently became an Honorary Member ) to Air Line pilots. They form an important part of the framework of the organisation of the government of the City Of London and retain the voting powers for the Lord Mayor.

The school has very strong connections to the City of London and the Corporation of London and it is worth digging and investigating (Google it!) to find out more. The purpose now is to help people create or maintain networks, to involve themselves in learning and charitable activity and I am sure the school has benefited now and in the past from its close association to the City. One important privilege remains that as a Freeman of the City you do not have to pay taxes on bringing your ship over London Bridge into the City to graze, and in September every year there is a ceremonial drive of ships across the bridge. This is not a right that is is routinely put into practice, as there are not too many open fields left in the City!

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