Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pure agony

In this week's Ask Louisa, the pointless "agony aunt" careers advice column in the Daily Telegraph, the paper's "jobs editor" Louisa Peacock replies to Mike, a 62-year-old former public sector worker who is having trouble getting a job in the private sector.
Having informed him that few people in the private sector rate public sector workers ("The ball is in your court, Mike, to show to the employer that you can hack it in business," Louisa patronises) she then moves on to discuss the age issue.
"I can see where you’re coming from on the age front," she waffles. "It is bizarre that despite all the anti-discrimination law out there, employers are still legally entitled to ask for your date of birth before they’ve offered you the job".
This is something that young Louisa might know something about. To most intelligent readers, it seems that the only relevant experience the 20-something hackette possesses for doling out this dross, is a rather pert-looking photo byline.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sindy column...

For this week's column, click here.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Salmon leaps up Spreadex ladder

Ping! A press release arrives from spread betting house Spreadex. It has just appointed a new manager of its "Financial Trading Room" (caps obligatory) and I'll let the company take it from here:
"Tom Salmon has taken up the role at the age of just 25 after impressing during his four years with the firm.
Spreadex Managing Director Jonathan Hufford said: 'We like to think of ourselves as a forward thinking company and are keen to promote people to positions of responsibility when they have proved their worth, no
matter what their age.' Tom is originally from Blackpool and studied maths at Manchester University, where he specialised in applied maths."
Young maths geek in charge? There are literally no recorded examples of this ever going wrong.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Vexed and the City

It just keeps on getting worse for St James's Place, the wealth management business founded by City grandees Sir Mark Weinberg and Lord Rothschild.
Earlier this year it emerged that 31 of its clients collectively lost millions of pounds in savings after a senior partner, Peter Carron, advised them to invest in his own projects (police are investigating).
Anyway, one of the victims was rock photographer Kevin Westenberg, whose name is not among the 25 clients who have received SJP compensation. You can see from my picture that he's not happy snapper.
That's Kevin on the right holding the banner during a protest that took place outside an SJP event at the Goring Hotel this morning. My spies there tell me that his appearance caused quite a stir - so much so that SJP partner, Michael Gomme, was moved to tell delegates that the man outside was "seriously deranged" and was being "reimbursed".
That was a brave move. I'm not sure either statement is true.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Man off wire

Obviously City journalists and PRs are buzzing with talk about the resignation of Neil Collins from Thomson Reuters, after the former Daily Telegraph City editor breached company rules about journalists writing about shares they own.
Three thoughts occur.
1. Is trading after you've written about a company really such a crime? Buying shares after most newspapers have tipped them up is a very fast way of losing money.
2. Anybody who has ever met Neil Collins will be pretty sure that he hasn't done anything really wrong (except, possibly, being a bit of an arse for giving the incoming Breaking Views regime an excuse to whack him).
3. NC should have followed his own Private Eye test.
NB: the SlackBelly blogging code of conduct necessitates that the author of this post must disclose that he owes his career to owning shares in Neil Collins.

Update: here's Hugo Dixon, the co-founder of Thomson Reuters's Breaking Views website, in an interview with the Guardian in January. "Recently I think we have been quite influential in the global debate on banking regulation. We may from time to time influence a share price on the day, one way or another, but it's more these bigger strategic things where we have an impact." So what's the fuss about, then?

Sindy Column...

For this week's instalment on First London, click here.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

They think it's all over?

Another change in the interminable Liverpool FC bidding war, as I see that Peter Lim has withdrawn. A thought occurs. What are the odds that the club will end up being owned by someone other than current owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, recommended bidder NESV or Lim?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Meltdown the sequel

Amusing to see that failed fund manager Nicola Horlick is setting up a film script development fund.
Surprising, the publicity does not mention that she has some experience in this area, having been an "executive producer" on the screenplay of her husband’s failed novel, Meltdown, two years ago.
She has yet to drum up any interest in that project, despite a costly six-month campaign of dinners and lunches with alleged movie moguls in London, New York and Los Angeles. This was a morale-sapping blow to hubby Martin Horlick (ne Baker), a former personal finance reporter, who, I hear, was also fanning his eyes at the news that Panmacmillan would only publish his sequel if, like Meltdown, Nicola paid half the costs (she declined).

Sindy Column...

Prince Andrew and BG Group meet once again. Why so cosy? For this week's column, click here.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Second inaugural profit at City AM?

"London financial freesheet City AM has gone into the black for the first time, reporting pre-tax profits of £423,000 in the first six months of this year. The first-half performance of City AM, which was founded by Jens Torpe in September 2005, marks a significant improvement over the £419,000 pre-tax loss the company reported in the same period last year. 'After 18 difficult months for all media we are now back on the growth rate we had before the financial crisis,' said Torpe. 'We are confident we can maintain this positive trend'." Guardian, October 6, 2010.

"CityAM, the London financial free-sheet, made its first profit in the six months to March, raising expectations of an eventual sale of the title. The company behind the weekday earned £47,000 in the period before interest and tax on advertising revenues of £3.5m. Jens Torpe, the City AM publisher, said that he hoped to expand and improve profits before considering a sale. 'We're hoping to progress further,' he said. 'On the figures we think we can achieve, we will be much more valuable in the next two to three years'." - The Times, June 10, 2008.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Trump on the stump?

My old friend, comb-over king Donald Trump, says he's considering running for President after some poll was apparently conducted in New Hampshire testing out his name.

My bet is this is a publicity stunt for some television show or new business, but I'm half hoping it's real - it will be an absolute hoot!

As I occasionally enjoy pointing out, the Donald's views on the Italians and Chinese are somewhat uncompromising (so foreign policy should be interesting), while I particularly look forward to him courting the female vote, where he's shown some form before.

In January last year after the death of John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son, Jett, Trump paid tribute to the family by blogging how he once tried to bed the mother of the dead boy.

"My track record on this subject has always been outstanding, but Kelly wouldn’t give me the time of day," he movingly recalled at the time. Can the Donald really be the Republicans' Trump card?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sindy Column...

More red letter days at Red Letter Days. For this week's column, click here.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Ryder in a storm

Ping! An email arrives from some PR company called EdenCancan (no, me neither) trying to jump on the Ryder Cup bandwagon and plug one of its clients.
"We have a weather expert able to comment/predict on the weather," it begins as play in Wales is interrupted by torrential rain. "Dr Liz Bentley is one of the world’s leading weather experts. Former Chief Instructor of Forecasting at the Met Office College, she is the ultimate weather woman and climate change forecaster. Liz was BBC Weather Centre Manager before taking up the post of Head of Communications at the Royal Meteorological Society, when she founded the public membership organisation theWeather Club, in 2010, to promote an appreciation and understanding of the weather to people from all walks of life."
All very impressive. Just one question. If she's so good, why wasn't the plug sent yesterday?