DRAGHI TAKES A NEW APPROACH TO BACKING THE EURO IN ECB PROMO

 
Elizabeth Fournier
AS European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi stood in front of the European Parliament yesterday and delivered a gloomy outlook on the future of the euro, a very different Draghi was doing the rounds on YouTube, in the latest piece of pro-euro propaganda released by the ECB.

In a video introduced by soft focus images of attractive European people and locations more commonly seen in a Eurovision song contest promo, Draghi calls the introduction of the first banknotes and almost a decade ago “an unprecedented challenge” but one that “went smoothly” – no doubt echoing his hopes for the single currency’s more recent performance in some of the Eurozone’s most stressed economies.

Later in the educational video, budding numismatists are encouraged to look out for potential fakes among the Eurozone’s 14bn circulating notes.

In case you were wondering, a genuine euro banknote “feels crisp and firm” to the touch, and features a unique hologram that changes image when tilted towards the light.

And for those still in possession of some lingering drachma, last seen on that holiday to Zakynthos in 2001, rest assured you have until 1 March next year to exchange it for euro notes, according to the informative film.

Though perhaps if you wait a little longer they just might become useful again...

FALKLAND FRENZY
IT was fun and games all round at the investor presentation for Falkland Islands Holdings yesterday.

Normally the AIM-listed £25m market cap company attracts relatively little attention, but yesterday analysts from the likes of Arbuthnot, Arden, Canaccord, Cenkos, WH Ireland and Charles Stanley all trooped in to quiz (or butter up) chairman David Hudd.

Could the surprisingly high level of interest have had anything to do with some of the hard-pressed broking houses thinking there might be a new client up for grabs?

Or is it just a coincidence that Altium, Falkland’s current brokers, will be giving up the mandate soon after announcing earlier this week that it is closing down its brokerage business?

THE MAN DIET
AS voracious readers of City A.M.’s lifestyle section will no doubt already know, Wednesday night saw the launch of lifestyle editor Zoe Strimpel’s (pictured below) latest tome on the trials and tribulations of being a single lady in the 21st century.

The Man Diet, published by Harper Collins (and available in all good high street and online bookstores, naturally) is a modern woman’s guide to how to detox her love life from the bad habits picked up over years of dating – from pursuing men too eagerly to (gasp) giving up Facebook stalking potential boyfriend material.

Members’ club Sketch was the setting for celebrations, with cocktails, champagne and canapés on hand to further tempt those eager to get their hands on the first copies of Strimpel’s second book.

“It was a gathering of scholars and partyers, friends and colleagues. They were drawn by the brilliant Man Diet book, of course, but in these straitened times, champagne-and-vodka drenched parties don’t grow on trees. Everyone was enjoying themselves and there are quite a few hangovers this morning,” Strimpel told The Capitalist, fresh-faced despite an after-party that led more ambitious revellers to Soho hotspot The Box to continue the celebrations.

A LENGTHY TENURE
THE world of investment banking can be a fickle one, so this morning The Capitalist would like to raise her (bowler) hat to one City stalwart who has managed to survive the profession longer than most.

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Richard Klein on Merrill Lynch’s US equity sales desk – where he started on 1 December 1986 and has since risen through the ranks to become head of the desk.

In the words of one of his faithful disciples, Klein has “manned the ship through thick and thin”, steering the desk through Black Sunday and the subprime mortgage crisis, surviving the sale to Bank of America, and now negotiating the tricky waters of sovereign debt – and finding US equities back in favour once more.

According to one employee, should Klein ever decide to step back from the front line he could start a sideline in Merrill Lynch memorabilia – apparently he keeps a drawer of historically significant relics, including a copy of the newspapers from Black Sunday, and a pink slip saved from his very first trade back in 1987.

VIRGIN GREETINGS
NOT content with having a stake in worldwide businesses controlling media, transport, drinks and most recently banking, Virgin boss Richard Branson is this year going after the commercial big fish – Christmas.

As the start of the festive month rolled round yesterday and The Capitalist worried about where her advent chocolate hit would come from, what should land upon her desk but a Virgin TiVo branded advent calendar, replete with Branson dressed as an angel, overseeing the happy scene.

It brings a whole new meaning to the spirit of Christmas.

Harriet Dennys will be back on Monday.