A COUP for City PR outfit Brunswick, which is on the cusp of a lucrative new contract to advise HSBC on its public policy over in Brussels.<br /><br />Brunswick boss Alan Parker has long been chummy with HSBC chairman Stephen Green, so the tie-up shouldn&rsquo;t come as too much of a surprise. But though some in the City anticipated raised eyebrows at some of the other banks advised by Brunswick, such as Barclays, Abbey and Northern Rock, I&rsquo;m assured there isn&rsquo;t so much as a scrap of bad feeling floating about around Brunswick&rsquo;s ploy to extend its tentacles further into the banking world.<br /><br />HSBC, for its part, reckons its motivations for upping its presence in Brussels are clear.<br /><br />&ldquo;In a category where all banks are increasingly seen as the same &ndash; worse, perceived as irresponsible or somehow culpable for the financial crisis &ndash; HSBC has not sought government recapitalisation and continues to generate capital, pay dividends, and lend money,&rdquo; HSBC&rsquo;s group communications director, Richard Beck, tells me. <br /><br />&ldquo;We would like to play our part in ensuring that emerging policy reform is sound and certainly doesn&rsquo;t disadvantage sound institutions.&rdquo;<br /><br />Certainly sounds like an endorsement of EU competition chief Neelie Kroes&rsquo;s plans to break up state-aided banks to me.<br /><br /><strong>WHITE OUT</strong><br />Nailbiting stuff in Regent&rsquo;s Park on Wednesday evening, as the last eight teams in this year&rsquo;s Last Man Stands T20 Corporate Cricket Championship battled it out for a place in the semi-finals next Tuesday.<br /><br />UBS and IMG Media came up with the goods in their quarter final matches against Jones Day and Serle Court and will meet next week, while Barclays Capital, which put up a fine performance against UBS&rsquo;s second team this week, have somewhat drawn the short straw with favourites Lovells in the semis.<br /><br />Lovells, you see, won the championship last year and are currently ranked 4th in the world, out of a staggering 500 teams in the corporate league, while the rest of them rank much further down the top 100. Who knew the whole affair was so popular?<br /><br /><strong>BOOT CAMP</strong><br />The City of London has decided to get physical with all the lazy fat cats on their patch.<br /><br />Yep, the corporation is offering a free pass for the over 45s to a new masters club launching at Golden Lane Leisure Centre on Tuesday 18 August, from 12-2pm. <br /><br />Among the various sports on offer will be fencing, swimming, table tennis, tennis or &ndash; for more roly-poly visitors &ndash; short mat bowls, all laid on by the City of London Sport and Physical Activity Network (COLSPAN) and Sports Development Team.<br /><br />So now there&rsquo;s no excuse for all those who might have used the crunch as a useful pretext for turning to comfort food and leaving those early-morning personal training sessions by the wayside.<br /><br /><strong>FEELING THE BURN</strong><br />Talk about setting the scene. I hear that at the Barclays shareholder meeting yesterday, an ominous stench of burning swept the room, just as investors started to get into their furious stride as they protested over the bank&rsquo;s plans to close its final salary pension scheme.<br /><br />But despite a short ripple of alarm, the offending smell was sourced back to some drilling outside. Panic over.<br /><br /><strong>BRIT INVASION</strong><br />Word arrives that all is not well with relations down under.<br />New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was recently overheard by one of The Capitalist&rsquo;s Antipodean moles while on his way to official business, pumping his minions about advice on a rather pressing issue.<br />Apparently, the recession here in Blighty has propelled thousands of Brits to seek refuge in friendlier climes, and the Kiwi government is becoming really quite perturbed by the thought of said invaders taking all the local jobs, particularly given the rising unemployment in the country. An invasion of the Brits, eh? Now there&rsquo;s a terrifying thought.<br /><br /><strong>SPACE AGE</strong><br />For all those ladies (and map-less gentlemen) who have ever lost their way in the concrete jungle that is Canary Wharf, there may be a speck of hope on the horizon.<br /><br />I hear there&rsquo;s talk at the Canary Wharf Group about developing digital screens to be erected around the area, in order to show passers-by their exact location &ndash; and direct them as to the best route towards their destination. The group itself is adamant no firm plans are underway as yet and the futuristic contraptions may never materialise. But though Wharf residents seem keen on the idea., something tells me it&rsquo;d never work back in the City. Getting lost in all those twisting alleys has long been the perfect excuse to eke out a good business lunch&hellip;