SOMETHING of a coup for law firm Lewis Silkin yesterday, as it announced the appointment of former Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick as a consultant in its sports law team.

Barwick, of course, departed the FA under a bit of a storm cloud back in 2008, after fans and commentators alike placed the blame for appointing Steve McClaren as England manager squarely at his feet.

Shouldering the responsibility for England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 can’t have been the easiest cross to bear, but it looks like Barwick isn’t one to dwell on past mistakes.

“I don’t profess to be a legal expert and the firm doesn’t want me to be a legal expert,” he tells me. “They’re looking for someone well connected to advise on opportunities as they arise, make introductions, increase their access and be something of a ‘voice of reason’ behind the black and white front of law…”

Lewis Silkin apparently acts for a number of the Premiership teams, many of the premier rugby clubs, sports agents and big brand sponsors, so The Capitalist is sure Barwick’s contact book will be oozing with possibilities for the firm.

Half of the jetset financiers in London may have descended upon Davos for the World Economic Forum this week, but a sizeable chunk of the rest of them have popped over to neighbouring Austria for a snowy jaunt of their own.

Today marks the main race day for this year’s Interbourse ski trip – where 19 stock exchange teams from around the world are currently battling it out for slope supremacy.

The giant slalom race will see the London Stock Exchange Ski Team hoping to improve on their 9th place last year, with performances from Richard Madeley of JP Morgan, Jeremy Sheldon of Killik & Co, and three racers from KBC Peel Hunt – captain Nick Pettman, Alex Hendy and Mark Chellingworth.

I’m told all members have been selected after rigorous tests through gates on the slopes as well as for their endurance in the local bars – the best of luck to them!

When it comes to the kind of screaming adulation usually reserved for the likes of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, The Capitalist doubts HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan ever dreamed he’d be on the receiving end one day. But that was until he landed in the Far East yesterday for an official welcome to his new principal office in Hong Kong, to be greeted by a frenzy of flashbulbs and swathes of adoring fans, only too keen to show how happy they were to greet their new hero (above).

The bank’s spinners tell me the film star treatment comes as no surprise, since HSBC – or simply “The Bank”, as it’s known in those quarters – is a national institution over there.

“The three most important men in Hong Kong, so the old saying goes, are the governor of Hong Kong, the chairman of the jockey club, and the chairman of The Bank,” one tells me. Who knows what hell would have broken loose if Stephen Green had been the one moving into his new office...