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EX-BANKER FOLLOWS HIS RUGBY DREAMS

RUGBY-lovers in the City can be rightly proud that one of their own is putting his money where his mouth is in terms of promoting the game of Rugby Sevens around the world.

Sevens – a speedier, shorter version of the traditional game – has recently enjoyed a bit of a boost from the announcement of its debut in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and the launch of the first ever UK National Sevens Series, set up by promotion organisation Ultimate Rugby Sevens (UR7s), the brainchild of chief executive Tim Lacey.

Lacey was himself a former professional rugby player with Gloucester Rugby before turning to a City career as an associate director in the debt capital markets team at investment bank UBS, which he left in 2006 to pursue his rugby dreams.

Lacey has now secured first-round funding for his venture from angel investor Ravensbeck – which has taken a stake in UR7s in return for a capital injection and use of its contacts to build up a portfolio of media rights for the firm, with the intent of turning the game into a global phenomenon worthy of its new Olympic status. Watch this space.

MUSICAL CHAIRS
Revolving doors over at small-cap stockbroker Daniel Stewart, where incoming chief executive Adam Wilson is preparing to take up his new post just as another high-profile corporate financier is turfed out of his seat.

I hear Steve Roberts – Daniel Stewart’s erstwhile head of corporate finance who joined the firm just nine months ago, having previously held senior roles at the likes of rivals Fairfax, Collins Stewart and Evolution Securities – was asked to leave last week in a shock move by the management team, led by founder Peter Shea.

Rumours are swirling over a difference of opinion on strategy at the firm – though repeated requests for comment from Shea fell on deaf ears, so The Capitalist couldn’t possibly comment.

Still, at least it’ll free up a bit of time on the golf course for City veteran Roberts – who’s probably counting the non-exec director offers as we speak.


ROAD RAGE
Over to the Finsbury Square officers of spreadbetter City Index on Tuesday evening, where the company was celebrating the first year anniversary of Martin Belsham’s return to the helm.

Perhaps predictably for a firm majority owned by Icap chief executive and former Conservative deputy chairman Michael Spencer, the guest of honour was Tory grandee Lord (Norman) Lamont. The former chancellor, who led Blighty through the recession of the early Nineties under John Major’s government, clearly understands the perils such a legacy can wreak on one’s character, joking that a London cab driver once claimed to have saved his life shortly after he left office.

Apparently, said cabbie was once driving a passenger around Mayfair when his fare spotted Lamont strolling down the side of the road, at which point he promptly offered his driver £500 to run him down.

Perhaps Darling should take note.


STAR TURN
The past few months have been chock full of gongs for Kirsty MacArthur, the 30-year-old relationship director at Heartwood Wealth Management who was recently named as one of Financial News’ top 100 rising stars for last year.

MacArthur has now landed herself a new accolade as the top woman in the boardroom in Red magazine’s upcoming 20 Under 30 Hot List, showcasing the talents of women across the entire career spectrum.

“Gosh, I’m thrilled!” gushes MacArthur, before turning suddenly serious when I ask her for her tips on cracking the glass ceiling. “There are far too few women in the City for me to have been given many tips on how to succeed,” she continues, “but I can only say that what’s worked for me has been a combination of tenacity, charm and shrewdness. Oh, and patience – which, as we all know, is found seldom in a woman and never in a man…”

Well, quite.

ROW OF LEAN
The old-school virtue of diplomacy is still alive and well at the City of London Corporation, I see.

Tomorrow and Saturday will see almost 300 eager swimmers diving into the pool at the Golden Lane Leisure Centre for the annual City Dip, in aid of this year’s Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Pitch Perfect – and apparently, incumbent Mansion House resident Nick Anstee (pictured below) will be taking the plunge this year just like his predecessors before him.

“He will be getting into the water, yes,” a City of London spokesman confirms, before adding tactfully: “It should make for a great photo, what with this year’s Lord Mayor being slightly, um, sportier than previous ones…”

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
A bizarre spark of logic comes to The Capitalist’s attention, courtesy of a paper from Gauti Eggertsson at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, entitled “The Paradox of Toil”.

In a nutshell (for Eggertsson expounds at length on the concept), his argument is that if everyone wants to work more, aggregate wages decline, creating deflationary pressures – which in turn increase the real interest rate, leading to lower demand for goods and a reduction in the rate of hiring by firms (still with me?)

There’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere, folks, and it looks like it’s best learned with a leisurely pint down the boozer.