CITY INSURANCE BROKERS TAKE TO THE RING AT EAST END FIGHT NIGHT

PERHAPS it’s a sign of the times, but white collar boxing – City boys (and sometimes girls) swapping their suits for silk shorts and beating the living daylights out of each other – is becoming ever more popular among financial sector workers.

With that in mind, it’s perhaps not so surprising that a sweating, heaving crowd turned up last night at the Troxy in the East End to watch a load of City boxers go head to head. All were from the insurance industry (a hotbed for testosterone-fuelled aggression if ever there was one), including William Dudley from Hiscox, Liam Tarf from Miller Insurance Services, Kevin Carlier from Aon and Stewart Cruickshank from Aon Benfield.

Mind you, the muscled fighters weren’t the only draw at “The Swing!” event – said sweaty punters were also treated to a special performance by Mitch Winehouse, father of Amy, who’s just released his own album “Rush of Love”.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS

When it comes to the décor of company headquarters, most firms plump for the safe option – a classical painting here, a bronze sculpture there, perhaps a Damien Hirst for the really daring.

Not so John Wriglesworth, managing director of the eponymous public relations consultancy, who managed to procure himself an original “Dalek” from the BBC’s Dr Who archives for the reception of his offices just off Fleet Street.

Not only that, but a little bird tells me he’s now trying to persuade his staff round to the idea of altering the model’s voicebox so that, instead of the usual Dalek cry of “Exterminate, exterminate,” it will cry: “Communicate, communicate”…

It’s certainly a novel way of bringing a smile to the faces of clients on an otherwise bleak Monday morning.

SACRE BLEU

Rugby aficionados were yesterday horrified by the news that the Rugby Football Union has enlisted a new company to provide all of the clothing for the England team in the form of Eden Park – a French clothing firm, sacré bleu! Perhaps the RFU should have taken its cue from the England football team and returned in its hour of need to Marks & Spencer, where chief executive Marc Bolland would doubtless have pulled out all the stops to lend a hand.

SEA FARER

It’s off to the high seas again for Helical Bar chief executive Mike Slade, fresh from helping to organise the largest ever coordinated property industry charity day last week to raise money for “Land Aid” – including charity gigs, cake baking sales and abseiling off 40-ft buildings.
Slade’s just as well-known for his escapades on his ICAP Leopard racing yacht, which is competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta this weekend.

As well as being a strong helmsman, Slade is certainly sympathetic to the City’s attitude to the sport of sailing, commenting yesterday that his love of this particular race stems from the “exceptional hospitality” at the Royal Malta Yacht Club”. Bottoms up.

WAR MONGERING

Brave words from John Taylor, the chief investment officer of foreign exchange risk manager FX Concepts, who sent out a missive to clients yesterday detailing how the current economic situation in the US is eerily similar to the climate in Europe immediately before the breakout of World War II.

According to Taylor, the US equity market’s rise over this September – an impressive 8.8 per cent – is its best performance for the ninth month of the year since the September of 1939.

“To me, the parallels are ominous,” he continued. “What were those people thinking back in 1939? Could a coming world war have that positive an impact on the economy and on markets? They must have been crazy… but what are we thinking of now? A war has just begun...”

He’s talking of a currency war triggered by the US beginning QE2, of course – an event which the Fed has been talking about for months.

“Bernanke, like Hitler seven decades ago, had been warning everyone who would listen,” Taylor continued, seemingly oblivious to the implicit faux-pas of comparing anyone to a genocidal dictator, even if the parallel does involve something as benign foreign exchange.

GEEK SQUAD

A dire warning for the banking sector, courtesy of IT recruitment firm Greythorn. The government’s new focus on the prevention of cyber terrorism will have unintended consequences for the banks, according to Greythorn – apparently, there are only 2,000 people in the country qualified to perform top-level IT security and cyber forensics roles, meaning that a war for talent is likely to ensue over said computer geeks in the near future between current employers and the blue-chip security services. Prepare to shell out the pennies, folks.