IT CERTAINLY doesn&rsquo;t bode well for a lengthy awards lunch when the presenter himself admits he&rsquo;s been ordered to &ldquo;cut back on the gags&rdquo; because of the economic climate &ndash; especially when the ceremony in question is none other than the Thomson Reuters Extel Awards, more commonly known as &ldquo;the Oscars of the City&rdquo;. (Practically every awards do anyone bothers to show their face at these days seems to claim the prestigious title, actually, but I have it on good authority that the Extel awards really are the original and best.)<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;d discourage any winners from bursting into tears and thanking their mother, father and agent, though,&rdquo; quipped a sombre Niall FitzGerald, the deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just not appropriate for these awards&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />He needn&rsquo;t have worried: the most the winners had time to do as they grasped for their glass trophies was smile smugly and answer a single question put to them on stage by presenter Axel Threlfall, of Thomson Reuters&rsquo; new multimedia platform Project Insider. Threlfall was described by some as a &ldquo;credit crunch&rdquo; version of last year&rsquo;s perkier host, former BBC boss Greg Dyke, in another &ldquo;entirely deliberate&rdquo; show of solemnity from the organisers. <br /><br />It&rsquo;s a good job ex-Lloyds TSB chief Sir Brian Pitman was on hand to lighten the mood with quips about the lack of colourful names in this recession compared to previous ones &ndash; including the Bank of Scotland governor named &ldquo;Risk&rdquo;, the Midland Bank treasurer called &ldquo;Gamble&rdquo; and (The Capitalist&rsquo;s personal favourite), the former keeper of the privy purse who went by the name of Major Blewitt.<br /><br /><strong>USUAL SUSPECTS</strong><br />Gongs were predictably scooped by UBS, named the leading broker for the umpteenth time on the trot, and Fidelity International, which reclaimed its traditional top fund manager spot after the award spent a year on the trophy shelf at JPMorgan Asset Management.<br /><br />Numis Securities took the prize for the leading small cap broker, while the financiers boosting their bonuses with individual awards this year included Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch&rsquo;s Gerard Zaffran, the salesperson of the year; fund manager Asif Jeevanjee, from JPMorgan Asset Management; and Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood, who hopped over to Blighty for the third time in four years to pick up his award.<br /><br />Despite the more subdued atmostphere at the event itself, over 261,000 votes were cast by the industry during the selection process &ndash; which means, in The Capitalist&rsquo;s book, that the winners can give themselves a well-deserved pat on the back.<br /><br /><strong>2009 THOMSON REUTERS EXTEL PAN-EUROPEAN AWARDS WINNERS</strong><br /><br />&9679; <strong>SPECIALIST SALESPERSON </strong><br />Gerard Zaffran, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch<br />&9679; <strong>BROKERAGE FIRM FOR TRADING AND EXECUTION</strong> <br />Credit Suisse<br />&9679; <strong>FUND MANAGEMENT INDIVIDUAL</strong><br /> Asif Jeevanjee, JPMorgan Asset Management<br />&9679; <strong>BROKERAGE FIRM FOR OPERATIONS <br /></strong>UBS<br />&9679; <strong>INDIVIDUAL EQUITY ANALYST</strong><br /> Andrew Wood, Sanford C. Bernstein<br />&9679; <strong>BROKERAGE FIRM FOR UK SMALL CAPS </strong><br />Numis Securities<br />&9679; <strong>HEDGE FUND</strong> <br />GLG Partners<br />&9679; <strong>BROKERAGE FIRM FOR SUSTAINABILITY RESEARCH</strong><br /> Societe Generale<br />&9679; <strong>BROKERAGE FIRM FOR EQUITY AND EQUITY-LINKED SALES</strong><br /> UBS<br />&9679; <strong>QUOTED FIRM FOR INVESTOR RELATIONS <br /></strong>SAP<br />&9679; <strong>INVESTOR RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL </strong><br />Chris Hollis, LVMH<br />&9679; <strong>FUND MANAGEMENT FIRM</strong> <br />Fidelity International<br />&9679; <strong>BROKERAGE FIRM FOR EQUITY AND EQUITY-LINKED RESEARCH </strong><br />UBS