WE ARE positive about the outlook for our business, said broker Marex Spectron when it unveiled its 83 per cent boost in operating profits on Tuesday night.
No charitable donations were paid out during the year to 31 March – just dividends to shareholders of £5.3m – but all that changed as of yesterday, when the energised commodities broker donated the day’s profits to youth programme Fairbridge at its charity trading day.
All the big names turned out to drum up support on the phones – Zinzan Brooke of ex-rugby union fame, former Arsenal defence talent Lee Dixon and the under-elevens’ favourite TV presenter Anna Williamson – to help young people become “the next generation of the London workforce”, said Marex’s group MD Gavin Prentice.
So the appearance of London Mayor Boris Johnson was the icing on the cake at the event that also marked the opening of the firm’s new office at 155 Bishopsgate.
Well, not exactly a new office. Just a different floor in the same building – “much bigger than before”, assured a spinner – to accommodate the doubling of headcount over the last 12 months after the business backed by two former Lehman bankers swallowed up first Spectron and then the global markets division of Eden Financial.
HEADS IN THE CLOUD
WAS IT the champagne served at 7.30 in the morning or being high above the City at Tower 42 that made the government’s advisers so giddy about cloud computing?
“The Cloud is a gateway to explode entrepreneurship,” said ex-Dragons’ Den panellist James Caan, while David Cameron’s tech adviser Eric Van Der Kleij demanded: “Celebrate, welcome and embrace the Cloud.”
Only Telemetry co-founder Anthony Rushton, who hosted the Ahead in the Clouds breakfast, was less enthusiastic. Hilton had written his speech at home and fed it into a cloud-based drop-box for later access, he confessed, before getting cold feet. “I still brought it along with me physically on a memory stick.”
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
FORMER Bank of New York wage-slave Louisa Barnett doesn’t like using the phrase “cash rich, time poor”.
But the female banker who dropped in to Barnett’s beauty parlour Butterfly while on a conference call and left, one blowdry and several grooming treatments later, without once breaking the flow of her telephone dealings, is surely deserving of the cliché.
It is unclear whether said power-broker was among the 150 guests at Butterfly’s fashion show at Green’s restaurant on Tuesday night.
But “valued client” Christine Goodbrand of insurer Matthews Daniel dropped by to watch the catwalk show of Rigby & Peller lingerie, LK Bennett officewear and tailoring from Nooshin, as did professionals from Grant Thornton, Standard Chartered, White & Case and Aviva.
A percentage of proceeds from the show went to Dress for Success, which provides disadvantaged women with the right wardrobe to help them compete in job interviews and beyond.
ALSO at the show was Vanessa Vallely, head of business management at Aviva Investors, who booked in to Butterfly’s Newgate Street branch to look her best ahead of last night’s Women of the Future Awards, where she was up for Mentor of the Year.
But there were no photo opportunities for Vallely, whose category was won by professor Jenny Higham of Imperial College
Signia Wealth’s chief executive Nathalie Dauriac-Stoebe, meanwhile, lost out in the entrepreneur sector to health foods queen Hayley Gait-Golding, who sold her house to finance snack bar start-up Bear Nibbles.
HOW do you make sure fund managers turn up at an AGM? Hold it somewhere upmarket and fashionable, thought the organisers of the CFA Society of the UK’s general gathering, who booked Prism, the City outpost of Harvey Nichols.
But not even the prospect of the former banking hall’s original Ionic columns could motivate members to draw straws for new chairman Richard Rothwell and the six new CFA UK fellows, as announced to the City yesterday.
Just 30 people turned out to vote on the board appointments, somewhat dwarfed by the 200 who showed up for the free drinks afterwards. It should be noted, at this point, that the esteemed institute has 10,000 members in the UK.