Final City discount house goes

MORE than 175 years of history has come to an end as the closure of the last remaining discount house in the City of London, Gerrard & King, was announced by its parent, South African financial services group Old Mutual.

A "handful" of jobs may go from the 53-strong staff as the UK equity and bond borrowing and lending operation is merged into the international equivalent at its sister company GNI.

Old Mutual director James Poole said: "We intend to see an orderly rundown of the book, which is currently trading profitably.

"We took the view that the long-term returns were not going to be good enough. There are no longer any privileges accorded to discount houses."

The closure will release about 60 million of capital at Old Mutual. It acquired Gerrard & King as part of its 525m takeover of Gerrard Group earlier this year. The discount house system was formally set up after the financial crash of 1825.