DUNSTONE SWEEPS THE BOARD AT COWES

IT’S been a good year for Charles Dunstone. Not only did the Carphone Warehouse tycoon wed his long-time sweetheart Celia Gordon Shute and deliver robust profits for his shareholders over the past 12 months, he’s also continued to make waves in his beloved sport of sailing.

Dunstone took the honours for the super-yacht class zero category at Cowes Week last week for the second year running, winning four out of seven races at the regatta. The mobile phones mogul hosted regular crew-mate Simon Le Bon on his boat “Rio” on Friday, prompting endless puns on Duran Duran’s famous Eighties hit of the same name.

Even sweeter for Dunstone, though, must have been the victory over the other moneyed business leaders competing in the class – including serial entrepreneur Sir Peter Ogden at the helm of “Jethou” and Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw, who skippered “Bob” – the yacht which is co-owned by Deutsche Bank’s former global head of utilities Robert Gray and Tony Hayward, the outgoing chief of oil giant BP, who drew widespread criticism when he took the boat out for a spin, mid-oil spill crisis.

WHIRL WIND
The exhausting whirlwind of M&A chit-chat in the small cap stockbroking space continues apace.

The latest name to enter the fray at the end of last week was, surprise surprise, Astaire Securities – which is now rumoured to have rejected a bid from rival Daniel Stewart. The offer means that the pair of firms have come full circle from last year, when stubborn talk of Astaire buying up Daniel Stewart refused to go away despite repeated rebuttals from then-boss Edward Vandyk.

This comes, of course, just a few short months after a failed takeover by Astaire of another rival, Hoodless Brennan (now HB Markets) – which is now, in turn, thought to be in discussions with yet another prospective buyer, Alexander David Securities.

It’s all positively incestuous, isn’t it?

BOOK WORM
A breath of career fresh air for UBS worker Samantha Carbon, who’s decided to go all literary on us after 18 years working in the financial services sector.

Six years ago, Carbon was on holiday in Africa when she was seized by creative inspiration and wrote 30,000 words of her novel, All That Glitters, before she had even set foot back in the UK. The book follows the tale of Sophie, a trader’s assistant at a bank in the City, who falls in love with an American financier against her better judgment and is then devastated to learn that he has been having an affair behind her back.

Carbon, who turns 40 later this year, is also currently working on two other novels inspired by her professional experiences in banking, so expect more where this came from.

ON OUR LAURELS
Lloyds boss Eric Daniels has not lost his American twang – or, indeed, his sense of humour when it comes to the rivalry across the Atlantic.

Asked in a Sunday newspaper interview whether or not he would be retiring when he hits 60 next year, Daniels retorted: “Despite having lived in the UK for more of my adult life than anywhere else, I’m still American. I have American roots. The 60 thing is more of a British thing…”

AND we get five weeks’ holiday a year? Slackers, the lot of us.

MAD MEN
Hedgie-turned-fashion designer Britt Lintner has been busy recently, whipping up a new collection inspired by TV hit Mad Men which is due to debut next month.

Lintner – who manages somehow to juggle a high-octane job at hedge fund GLG Partners with her designing – burst onto the scene a few years ago and has since dressed the likes of the former PM’s wife Sarah Brown. Now, she’s on a one-woman mission to turn up the heat on office wear – which, if her new designs are anything like the figure-hugging creations sported by Mad Men’s buxom Joan, played by Christina Hendricks, should get colleagues in a bit of a lather.

“My muse is the feminine female – confident, dynamic and powerful – who also isn’t afraid of retaining her girly chic,” says Lintner. “A friend recently called the designs, ‘respectable sexy’, which I quite liked…”

The woman’s surely onto a no-brainer, especially in the City.