IT WAS off to the iconic Gherkin building last night for one of the most exciting developments in the history of City A.M. – our newly-announced alliance with online financial services provider Interactive Investor.

Guests at the party sipped champagne as they admired the view over the City, chatting about the partnership, under which we will share our news and data resources in print and on the web.

What’s more, we’re set to get the City buzzing again next year with the launch of our very own awards ceremony, the City Awards 2010, sponsored by Saxo Bank – where gongs will be awarded for the overall business personality of the year, as well as the best trader, hedge fund manager, rising star, fundraiser, dealmaker, analyst, accountancy firm, law firm, insurance company and so on.

“If one thing has become clear in these difficult times, it is that companies require passion and leadership,” said City A.M. managing director Lawson Muncaster. “We expect 2010 to be the year of recovery, and it is these qualities that will prove the driving force behind the City’s most successful companies.”

Watch this space for more details, coming in the New Year!

It seems that the government’s punishing taxes on the wealthy aren’t just pushing bankers to seek to feather their nests abroad, if recent reports from Guernsey are anything to go by.

Formula One world champion Jenson Button was spotted in the tax haven last week on a whirlwind trip with model girlfriend Jessica Michibata, and if hot goss in the local community is to be believed, the loved-up pair are looking to buy a house there.

Time for Button to start saving some of those millions instead of paying them into the Treasury’s coffers, perhaps?

Everyone loves an anecdote to warm the cockles of the heart at this time of year, so here goes for what is officially the most festive story to come out of the business world so far this Christmas. Shares in Surgical Innovations, which is listed on London’s Aim market, jumped by 7.7 per cent yesterday after news that its surgical devices had been successfully used in the first ever laparoscopic procedure to be performed on an animal – namely, on a reindeer resident at Edinburgh Zoo.

All early reports indicate the cuddly creature is recovering well after its ordeal. All together, now: ahhh...

This one is bound to go down in the annals of the-dog-ate-my-homework excuses, but it was a show of bravery indeed when three of America’s top bank bosses yesterday missed a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama.

The official line was that Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley’s John Mack and Citi’s Dick Parsons were all kept earth-bound when their flight to Washington was delayed by fog, and would take part by phone instead.

Though of course, efforts probably weren’t helped by the impeccably-timed comment, made just an hour earlier by Obama, that he “did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street”…

In pops a reminder email from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAW), informing businesses that generous old HM Revenue & Customs is happy to give them a tax break on Christmas parties.

The annual tax-free amount per employee is up to £150, for those not in the know – which the boffins at ICAEW say is vitally important to take advantage of to give recession-beaten employees a bit of a boost this festive season.

“Businesses should not just resort to putting up some cheap tinsel in the office and offering plates of pretzels and soft drinks,” says tax expert Anita Monteith. “It has been a tough time for many businesses and staff are probably in need of having their spirits raised…”

Perhaps Royal Bank of Scotland, which is so concerned about keeping up frugal appearances that it’s earmarked just a measly tenner per employee, should take heed?

Here’s a novel idea to wring a bit of cash from the City’s rich list. Ex-soldier James Barham, chief executive of asset manager River and Mercantile, is planning a marathon bike ride next year in aid of the Help for Heroes army appeal, along with chum Andrew Stuart-Mills from Sterling.

Ahead of the bumpy ride, the intrepid pair are working on sending letters to all the chief executives in the FTSE 100, asking for a relatively paltry £500 in sponsorship – in return for their logos being featured on their Lycra cycling shirts. Here’s hoping said bosses get into the spirit with gusto...