ONE of the City’s biggest bankers’ boxing clubs is setting up a championship fight for a charity night soon. The Real Fight Club in Spitalfields, London’s original home to the practise of “white collar boxing” (i.e. boxing by bankers) is holding a boxing showcase evening on 15 July and expects to see a City audience of 1,200-1,300 turn out to watch.
As well as raising money for charity, the event is being held to celebrate the club’s tenth anniversary. The night – in aid of children’s charity Kids Company – will pit top Danish boxer Mads Handsen of Platinum Equity against accountant Alex Bogaciev in a battle for the White-Collar Boxing Association’s European cruiser-weight title. Other boxers proving their prowess on the night will include fighters from Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg, UBS, West LB and Cleary Gottlieb.
And if the thought of oiled-up equity managers bashing each others’ brains out for a laugh doesn’t appeal, don’t worry – these boxers take their sports as seriously as they take their portfolios. What’s more, there should be no shortage of food and drink and a VIP ticket gets you front row seats for the action (as well as topping up a worthy donation, of course).
Unlike some of his club members, however, club founder Alan Lacey’s not too worried about the economy: “I wouldn’t say it’s recession-proof but... when things are tough you tend to want to focus on something. It’s either that or you go to the bar. We’re a cheaper alternative.”
Quick off the mark after the England football team’s 4-1 defeat to Germany yesterday, IHS Global Insight’s Howard Archer sent through a hasty memo: “The thumping of England by Germany in the World Cup is bad news for UK consumer confidence. I feel a downgrade of my third quarter UK GDP forecast coming on!”
He adds: “It is particularly bad news for those of us who work for companies with a German office. All my emails from our Frankfurt office are going straight to my junk mail with immediate effect and I am sure this will be a common feature across UK companies with German operations.”
A COURAGEOUS CRIB
The Budget prompted some creative metaphors this week, with BNP Paribas labelling the deficit one big hangover after “Brown’s binge”.
Meanwhile, the OECD’s verdict on Chancellor George Osborne made for some happier language. It called the Budget a “courageous move” that could “restore public finances to a sustainable path”.
Had they been cribbing pre-Budget briefing notes from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)? RBS released a note just four weeks ago laying out the Osborne’s options: “The choice facing the chancellor is whether to pursue a ‘softly-softly’ strategy or a ‘courageous’ approach”.
Contacted, one of the paper’s authors Ross Walker feigned outrage: “Those terrible people at the OECD, stealing my work again!” Though he can’t complain: RBS was quoting the wisdom of an old political master when it wrote about ministerial courage – that of Yes, Minister’s Sir Humphrey Appleby. “Above all,” Sir Humphrey advises, “if you wish to describe a proposal in a way that guarantees that a minister will reject it, describe it as courageous.”
Clearly Appleby had yet to meet a minister of George’s ilk.
THE PEOPLE’S PARTY
Speaking of courageous politicians, a flock of MPs turned out in their finery on Thursday for a glitzy summer soiree on the House of Commons terrace hosted by the Bow Group, the original Tory think tank. Among the honoured guests were business stars-turned-politicos Kwasi Kwarteng, Tim Loughton and Damian Hinds alongside none too few City visitors soaking up the Tory G&Ts.
The free-flowing drinks ensured the guests went home merry, and word reaches The Capitalist that a certain breakaway group of journalist and blogger types didn’t just stop when the free booze dried up. Instead, the intrepid revellers sneaked up the terrace into the exclusive MPs’ Strangers Bar to continue the party and made themselves at home even after their MP hosts went to bed.
They report drinking and “chilling out” in London’s best riverside bar until security kicked them out at closing time. Meanwhile, we hear that Bow Group chair Annesley Abercorn didn’t end the night before a late visit to St Stephen’s Tavern. No one can say those Thatcherites don’t know how to party.
BE MY SUGAR ANGEL
Lord Sugar – who used to be better known as Surallan for his starring role in the The Apprentice – could be stepping on some Dragons Den toes after announcing that he’s turning the hit BBC TV series into an angel investor game, with candidates now competing for a £250,000 investment from Sugar into an independent venture, rather than for a job at one of his own firms.
Either way, the show’s not likely to get any closer to the real deal. Anthony Clarke of London Business Angels says of entrepreneur pitches: “It’s not like the Dragons Den – we’re not there to catch them out or make them look ridiculous.”
It seems Sugar my not have received the memo.
Victoria Bates is away.