Jolly Good Fellow

It was a distinct honour to be elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Kings College London (KCL) in 2021. Due to pandemic restrictions, ceremonies were delayed over three years. In the past few weeks, KCL has held nearly 50 graduation ceremonies, against a ‘normal’ 15 or so. At one point I got singled out with this most kind citation:

“During a career spanning more than 40 years, Professor Michael Mainelli has sought to explore – in theory and practice, from lecture hall lectern to trading floor terminal – the potential for advances in technology to bend the workings of commerce to progress the principles of social equity: of banking, insurance and finance to strengthen society and help address its many problems.

“Through hallowed Harvard to gnomic Switzerland to the squares of a pre-Big Bang Square Mile, Michael Mainelli’s drive and energy, polymathic learning, ferocious intelligence, and boyish curiosity remain undimmed. He retains an enduring confidence in people, their societies and systems, histories and futures that single him out as an exceptional character of our great capital city.

“Michael is an accountant, business founder, analyst, writer, impresario and magpie of men, his flair and energy built upon deep scholarly foundations: author of four books and nearly 200 articles on computing, risk, markets, history and even the restoration of boats – he was a proud owner for 21 years of Thames Sailing Barge Lady Daphne. Michael is a doing man as well as a thinking man: jet setting consultant, blockchain innovator and founder of Z/Yen, now one of the City’s leading thinktanks through which he has become an indefatigable spokesman for leveraging the Square Mile’s good will, wealth and enterprise to support charity, the public sector and to address pressing international emergencies like climate change. With this in mind, he was one of the founders, in 2005, of the so-called London Accord, and its offspring, Long Finance, that provide access to the world’s largest open library of environmental, social and governance analytics reports used to inform international decision making around global warming, poverty and inequality. He is also custodian of the Global Green Finance Index, ranking the green investment credentials of financial centres around the world.

“His career also spans education and public service: disseminating knowledge through reports, speeches and lectures, one-time Professor of Commerce at Gresham College; visiting professor at LSE; Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of World Traders and its Master from 2017 until 2018; Alderman and now Sheriff of the City of London. Michael is an old friend of King’s, supporting a major celebration of its historic and current scientific achievements co-organised by King’s Archives Department in 2017 and the following year a public lecture exploring the uses of technology to alleviate poverty. As a developer, in 1983, of the world’s first digital atlas and the precursor to Google Earth, it is then perhaps fitting to navigate Michael back into the King’s family and an enduring fellowship that short walk from Square Mile to Strand.”