COMPANIES KEEN TO HIT THE ROAD FOR EVENTS

 
Elizabeth Fournier
WITH the Bribery Act and its new rules on corporate hospitality fast approaching, firms could be forgiven for dialling back the perks and avoiding client entertainment for the time being. But according to research by Keith Prowse, the big events on the UK calendar are still pulling in the punters – with next month’s 100th anniversary of the Cheltenham Festival topping the list of occasions to which businesses are still keen to travel.

Seventy-five per cent of businesses attending the annual meet (2011’s Festival kicks off on 11 March) travel more than 100 kilometres to attend – more than any other event surveyed. Of course Cheltenham’s case is no doubt helped by its relative distance from London – City firms would be hard pressed to make the trip across town to Lord’s or Twickenham quite as lengthy.

In contrast the Aegon Championship tennis, held at the Queen’s Club in Baron’s Court, is the hospitality opportunity that attracts the greatest number of local businesses – 57 per cent of corporate attendees are located within ten kilometres of the historic courts.

BANKERS BY CHANCE
Some City A.M. readers may remember the case of James Elgeti, the ambitious young Bath University student who stood outside Bank station last month with a stash of business cards and a sandwich board proclaiming: “You have the ability to kick-start my career in banking. Talk to me...”

James clearly has his eye firmly on the prize, but for bank executives both old and new, it seems providence is more important than ruthless ambition when it comes to landing a spot at the top.

After Lloyds’ results on Friday, outgoing chief executive Eric Daniels (right) entered the lions’ den – mingling with journalists keen to know his plans.

Though Daniels steps down from his post this week, he will be employed by the bank until September – until then he’ll retain an office at 25 Gresham Street and cannot work elsewhere.

But after that comes a period of indecision, with Daniels professing he’s unsure what he’ll do next. It’s likely to bring back memories of his post-college months, when the young graduate left college in the US with a management MA and little idea of what he wanted to do next.

Daniels admitted that a move abroad was top of his agenda back in 1975 – and that the best opportunity happened to be with Citibank, with whom he spent five years in Panama and enjoyed stints in Argentina and Chile.

It’s a sentiment that echoes a recent interview with HSBC chief Stuart Gulliver, where he confesses his first dream of being a barrister, which had to be abandoned due to financial constraints.

Again, a desire to travel drove his career path – an HSBC trainee talked up the bank’s training scheme with tales of Indian adventures, so Gulliver applied, entered a trading room in Sharjah and never looked back.

It just goes to show – even if you aim at nothing in particular, you might accidentally hit something very big indeed.

VETS DINE FOR FUNDS
It may have begun life as a football team, but today the Stock Exchange Veterans Association is one of the City’s foremost charitable organisations.

The group, headed by chairman Les Ames (above right) and vice chairman Les Polden will come together on 14 April for a dinner at The Brewery in Chiswell Street, with proceeds going to the association’s lengthy roster of beneficiaries.