South African born Tony Granger, who has a successful career which spans 25 years in the financial sector, was recently admitted as a freeman of London. This is the highest honour the City of London can bestow on an individual.
The traditional ceremony takes place in a courtroom where this legal status is bestowed. Individuals who have made a significant impact in their field are invited to take up the Freedom to acknowledge their contribution. Granger said, “I feel honoured to have been invited by the Guild of International Bankers, where I am a Freeman (Worshipful Company of International Bankers), to be admitted as a Freeman of the City of London. Although I don’t live in London, I do appreciate the recognition.”
Individuals chosen make a declaration to her Majesty the Queen swearing a solemn oath to Her Majesty promising to keep the Queen’s Peace in London. Famous honorary members include Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill. The granting of the Freedom of the City of London is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today, first presented in 1237.
The benefits of this accolade include the right to avoid being press-ganged, to be drunk and disorderly without fear of arrest, to be married in St Paul’s Cathedral and buried in the City.
Granger was born in Worcester, Western Cape in 1951. As a child he and his family moved to Zimbabwe. He received his BA in Economics and Law and an LLB from Rhodes University and also holds a B.Com from Unisa. He worked as an advocate at the Supreme Court of South Africa and at investment group Old Mutual before moving to the UK in 1987.
The 62-year-old is currently the President of the Insurance Institute of Shropshire and Mid Wales. He is also a former president of the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa and Managing Director of ITAS Planning Limited, which designs new insurance products and provides other client services. Over the past 25 years Granger has been involved in developing new and innovative products and services for the banking, insurance and financial services sectors in the United Kingdom. He boasts achievements such as forming the first financial services training company to train professional accountants, solicitors and independent financial advisers in financial services subjects.
He was involved in the design and launch of the first Annuity Bureau as an open market option trading platform and developed the concept of Corporate Benefit Audits for companies.
“I am also a firm believer in making it possible for the consumer to understand complicated products and services in layman’s terms. I have written over 14 business books in financial planning issues, ranging from pensions, inheritance tax and trusts, school and university fees funding, retirement planning, business protection, succession planning, tax- efficient investments and others,” he said.
Granger explained that as a business owner he doesn’t have the same security as working for a big company. ”Things can go wrong, and they do. As business owner, you carry ‘the can’ for whatever goes wrong.”
“The lessons learned have helped me in the advice process for those less fortunate…and saving their businesses,” he added.
He has revealed that he will be doing less work with personal client services in the future but this in no way means he is slowing down. The 62- year-old played rugby in the World Golden Oldies Festival in Japan in November 2012 for the Australian team also known as the Budgies.