ACTOR and Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey is becoming quite the dab hand on the trading floor, if reports from our Stateside friends are to be believed.

Bankers at Citigroup in New York were astonished last week when Spacey popped into their offices to do a spot of research for his new movie, Margin Call, which is set during the chaos of the financial crisis.

According to the New York Times Dealbook blog, Spacey spent quite a few hours in meetings at the bank, trying to work out what makes a trader tick – how it feels to win or lose millions of dollars in the blink of an eye, how to deal with the moral issues associated with selling a security you know is worthless, you know the drill.

Mind you, Spacey’s no stranger to the financial markets. He is a regular at the charity trading days of some of the City’s largest firms. Just last December, he showed off his skills on the phones at inter-dealer broker ICAP’s charity day, where he took to the floor alongside fellow celebrities including model Kelly Brook, ex-rugby international Matt Dawson, presenter Chris Tarrant and X Factor duo Jedward.

There’s nothing The Capitalist likes more than a good mystery, and here’s a particularly juicy one for readers to get their teeth into.

The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police is appealing for the City’s help to solve a 13-year-old cold case – namely, of a man found dead in the woodlands of Biggleswade. The man in question was found in February 1997 by a couple of young boys who were bunking off school, and had died from lung and brain cancer in the temporary shelter in which he was living rough.

Rumour around the town at the time had it that “Old Ragbones”, as the vagrant was known, had once worked in the City of London – and, upon learning that he was terminally ill, had resigned from his job and withdrawn from society.

The man was thought to be in his 50s when he died, and was described as being “very well-spoken, well-educated and reserved”. He also had a very distinctive tattoo on his arm, featuring a woman’s head above a large heart shape. The woman has dark curly hair and the tattoo also included part of a name, which police believe is only four or five letters in length and ends in a ‘Y’.

“At some point, this man must have had friends, family, colleagues,” says detective chief inspector Sean O’Neil.

“We are asking anyone who has worked in the City – do you recognise this man? Does anyone recognise the tattoo design? If you can help, please call the non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222, quoting Operation Hermes. No matter how small or insignificant you might think the information is, get in touch.”

On to England’s World Cup victory yesterday, and a spot of bad luck for Prime Minister David Cameron, who only got to watch his team for half of the match. The reason? An ill-timed meeting with the Irish prime minister.

Over to Harry’s Bar yesterday for a World Cup party hosted by Ken Brotherston, the chief executive of headhunter Kinsey Allen International.

At half time, Brotherston was forced to stand on a chair to boom his speech over the room due to microphone problems, though the Scot did manage to elicit throaty chuckles from the England fans with a dig at much-maligned striker Emile Heskey.

Apparently, one of his mates – a dedicated football fan – named his dog after Heskey, since the footballer had just scored an England goal when he first got him.

“That was about three years ago,” Brotherston quipped.

Many City traders were officially encouraged by their bosses not to stray away from their desks and to carry on working, remembering that “not all our clients support England”.

However, it looks as if not everyone took that sage advice from on high – trading volumes were down substantially on the average at just 928m yesterday...

One of The Capitalist’s spies was passing the household store Wilkinsons early yesterday when he spotted a surplus of St George flags and other England memorabilia retailing on sale for just 10p a pop. Perhaps they’ll be snapped up now that the team added a victory to its World Cup score card?

A snippet from BP’s in-house online magazine BP Planet, which clearly isn’t taking as dim a view of the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill as others have.

“Much of the region’s businesses – particularly the hotels – have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams,” one report claims, optimistically.

Congratulations to the bunch of 600 Deloitte partners, staff and clients who took part in the firm’s charity “Ride Across Britain” last week, cycling 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for ParalympicsGB.

The riders, who were joined by Olympic gold medallists James Cracknell and Rebecca Romero and Paralympic gold medallists Sarah Storey and Jody Cundy, have raised £316,000 so far this year for the event, which Deloitte is sponsoring for four years between 2010 and 2013.