Friday 1 July, 8am, eighth-floor boardroom: Ungodly hour, but the gods of GBH are over from Atlanta. Team leaders have been summoned from their beds. Weird wearing a suit and tie again. Our American masters are a conservative lot. Noah, Wyatt and Logan are dressed like evangelist preachers.

Agent P

The three amigos basically say – in much longer words – that the sentiment swingometer has shifted from greed to fear in the States. “How’s it going here, guys?” drawls Logan, a legendary deal-maker who runs GBH’s West Coast operations. He knows perfectly well from the returns sent to HQ. Deals are dissolving over here as well. Asking prices are being marked down. Agreed prices are being chipped by buyers wanting to recover increased borrowing costs.

We all look to Mike, our boss, to say something. He nods at me to answer, fingering me as a marked man. Yesterday, we had a pre-meeting to agree the line. Not that I’d have to spin it. “Well guys,” I stutter, instantly regretting the use of the word “guys”.

“The UK market is not that bad right now. There is some nervousness,” I add, not daring to mention withdrawal of a £720m deal by Norges Bank to sell Bank of America offices in the City. “But it is a little early to panic,” I conclude, while panicking inwardly for my job.