ART IMITATES life in the new novel On the Floor by former Morgan Stanley bond trader Aifric Campbell.
“The real truth about the City – the pressure and the ruthlessness – is best written about by people who have lived it,” says Campbell, who drew on her years as Morgan Stanley’s first female MD on the London trading floor.
The book tells the tale of Geri Molloy, a major player at the fictional Steiner’s investment bank in London, who earns £850k a year doing business with a reclusive hedge fund manager in Hong Kong.
So far, so good – except Molloy’s world comes crashing down in the months leading up to the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991, when life unravels in a spiral of heavy drinking and – Lloyds shareholders look away – debilitating insomnia.
“Geri’s story is not mine – she is a maths genius, for example,” says Campbell. “But the feel of that era, the turning point on the road to the financial crisis, is entirely plausible and authentic. Such as the banter on the trading floor, which some readers have found quite graphic – I wanted to capture what it felt like in that environment.”
Campbell joined Morgan Stanley as a graduate in 1986 and left in 2001, and describes her time at the bank as a “meritocracy” – albeit one where it was harder, in her view, for women to be promoted and female traders needed a robust sense of humour.
“There was no political correctness at all,” recalls Campbell, mindful of an opening interview question, aged 25, on whether she planned to get married and have children.
Morgan Stanley, no stranger to the odd rumble with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, declined to comment.
THE FIRST time you do it, it is a bit frightening, but every time after that it is very rewarding. This is Richard Ross, chairman of the Rosetrees Trust, making an analogy between philanthropy and skiing as he throws his weight behind the one per cent campaign launched in the twenty-fifth issue of bankers’ bible Spear’s.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey (below left) and former national philanthropy ambassador Dame Stephanie Shirley are backing the scheme, which encourages high net worth individuals to offer their time, expertise and money to charity.
For those wealthy donors needing assistance with the tax implications of charitable giving, meanwhile, law firm Withers is on hand to dispense free expert advice.
STRINGS were pulled and favours were called in.
But still, no identifier came forward yesterday to name the outstanding dancefloor efforts of the senior lawyer (pictured top right) at the Legal Business Awards. Is the mystery mover and shaker performing a legal jig, a new version of the Peter Crouch robot dance, or simply a tribute to David Brent’s moves in the BBC comedy The Office?
Perhaps one of the Thursday Night Fever star’s many female admirers, who clapped along after forming an appreciative circle, can help out…
THE BEST spin on senior lawyers Martin and Hilary Winter’s trip to the World University Waterski Championships in Chile was “two top ten results” for their children Fred and Amelia. That means sixth and seventh in the finals for British universities, even though Fred is the reigning under-21 European waterski slalom champion.
Ever the optimist, Martin Winter recognises the site on the outskirts of Santiago will also be the venue for the next world championships in November 2013. “As they used to say in the military, time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted,” Taylor Wessing’s UK head of private equity told The Capitalist.