Thursday, 28 January 2010

Separated at birth...

Has anybody noticed the remarkable similarity between former Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir Fred Goodwin and camp funny man, Paul O'Grady? Are they, perchance, related?

Sir Fred O'Grady

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hitting the nail on the head

I see that the Dorset home of Peter Maitland, the late chief exec of Bond Street antique furniture dealer Mallett, is up for sale for £4m.
Maitland died in October last year, but had spent the previous decade restoring the house, partly to showcase his outstanding collection of English antique furniture and pictures. The result, gushes the estate agent, is "a worthy testament to his taste and character".
I do hope the new owner keeps up those standards, which probably means the estate agent should ignore prospective American buyers. Maitland didn't seem to have much regard for their knowledge of furniture, observing that they usually needed to be told what to buy: "They have an adviser, usually an interior decorator or designer," he once said. "They just know they want the very best. And in double quick time".

Monday, 25 January 2010

How flotations work...

"The great vampire squid, Goldman Sachs, has been appointed to handle [Betfair's] £1.5bn listing." SlackBelly, October 19, 2009.

"Speculation about a flotation comes up regularly. But we are not about to appoint an adviser." Mark Davies, managing director of Betfair, tells the Evening Standard, November 30, 2009.

"Betfair has selected two investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, to advise it on a £1.5 billion stock-market flotation." Sunday Times January 24, 2010.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sindy column...

Click here for SlackBelly's Independent on Sunday column.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Spawn of the dead

Zombie fund specialist, Resolution's Clive Cowdery, is sending son Joshua out to work.
He's currently doing a spot of work experience at financial freesheet, City AM, but I wouldn't expect too many puff pieces on the old man. I'm told Joshua is prone to leaving the office early, not to return that day.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Who guards the Guardian's execs?

Anger and self righteous fury among staff at The Guardian (no, really).
But this time it seems they may have a point.
Several of the soon-to-be "outsourced" technical support staff were last weekend dispatched to the home of a senior Guardian executive to fix a faulty computer.
Already annoyed, imagine how they felt when they discovered a) it was the computer of one of the exec's children they were mending and b) the executive has seven (count 'em) personal computers with Guardian Media Group stickers on them, suggesting they have all been pilfered from the office.
It is not yet clear whether the techies loaded the broken computer with porn of the most dubious kind, but one can only hope so.
Which exec was it? I'm working on that...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Pedants' corner...

Sometimes hacks are so certain they know something, they don't even bother to check it.
The Times and The Telegraph both tip their bowlers to Rolling Stone magazine, referring to Goldman Sachs as being a "giant vampire squid".
Just one problem. The actual words used in the famous piece by Matt Taibbi were: "great vampire squid".
It's a small matter, admittedly, but I happen to notice these things. Taibbi's full (entirely fair) line on the investment bank, actually went: "A great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
City journalists should find the time to read him. The boy can write.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Joke job watch - part (oh, I've lost count)...

An early entrant for joke job of the week comes (as usual) from the Media Guardian, where the NHS is seeking a Communications Director for its Diabetes and Kidney Care unit (it's not enough for them to make people better, they also have to go on about it).
To land this post, you must have "qualifications in communications" (English O'Level? Or something more impressive such as a Media Studies degree?) and a "clear understanding of issues that impact and affect the health service" (such as the amount of cash it wastes on PR people, presumably).
Salary? Up to £79,031, an amount of money that is "subject to Agenda for Change evaluation". Presumably that means that if you are deemed to have pursued this agenda successfully, you'll get even more dosh.
Hours? 37.5 a week.
Thanking you.

Sindy Column...

Click here for SlackBelly's Independent on Sunday column.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Russian rebirth?

There's a rumour going around that Russian investment bank, Renaissance Capital, is about to sign a joint venture with a western broker. Developing...

Update 18/01/10: FT is reporting it is Strand Hanson, an emerging markets boutique.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Brass Monkey Britain - part 1,863

You may have noticed there's a cold snap on, so here's my (occasional) audit of which energy source is providing power to British homes and businesses.
During the past five days, coal has contributed an average of 44% of the UK's energy, while wind (it never blows when you need it, but we have 2,800 turbines just in case!) supplied 0.98%. Who'd have thought it?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Ladbrokes staff given warning Bell

The shock departure of Chris Bell from Ladbrokes was hastened by disgruntled investors surprised by the bookie's heavily-discounted £275m rights issue. But did Bell himself see all this coming?
At the group's Christmas party, the well refreshed chief exec told staff that it had been a "crap" year, there would be no bonuses and there would be "some sackings". The man's a prophet!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Manchester Guardian forgets its roots

Those cost cutters at the Guardian Media Group, who are desperately seeking staff they can sack, should perhaps have a look at p11 of the Guardian's G2 supplement today.
In its break-down of their favourite 50 TV dramas of all time they describe Coronation Street as "the Yorkshire soap".

Monday, 11 January 2010

Brass Monkey Britain - part 1,862

As the country continues to freeze, what news of Worcester - the Bosch Group-owned maker of household boilers which are supposed to be keeping Britons toasty during the cold snap?
"We are experiencing a high volume of calls", admits the company's automated voicemail, before the company admits that cold weather often causes its boilers to pack up as "i
t’s possible that your boiler’s condense trap/discharge pipe has frozen".
So that's boilers that don't work in the cold. Solid work.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Odds on a dark horse?

With John Waples leaving Wapping for a career in spinning, here are the runners and riders on his replacement as City Editor of the Sunday Times - at least according to David Buik, BGC Partners' genial odds caller. Let's hope Buik has better luck than last time he created such a market, when the Sunday Telegraph was desperately seeking a new City Ed to replace Mark Kleinman. Back then, not one of Buik's selections even made the short-list!





IAN KING – 4/1









IAIN DEY – 14/1



JAMES MOORE – 25/1 (really, David?)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Separated at birth?

Might Stelios's spirited legal department be calling the number on the card?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Rugger buggers with banker's memory

I see that Tim Lacey, a former UBS banker, is trying to raise financial backing to help launch a rugby sevens league.
Lacey - whose City career included raising funds for companies such as Notwork Rail and Vodafone - is happy to be painted as a former Gloucester "rugby star" in order to sell his new project. That's not quite how the local press recalls it.
The thisisgloucestershire website - home of the Gloucestershire Echo and The Citizen - reckons Lacey "warmed the bench on a few occasions during some Cheltenham & Gloucester Cup ties" and "tasted only a few minutes of action".
The cheeky monkey!