Forget south africa; the world cup is coming to bishopsgate

ROYAL Bank of Scotland has clearly been keeping an ear out for all the sage words of wisdom dropping from the sky over the World Cup.

The four-yearly event is one of the most sought-after corporate hospitality gigs in the calendar, but RBS, mindful of that taxpayer bailout it received during the crisis, isn’t biting.

Instead, the bank has decided to convert one of the larger hallways at its Bishopsgate HQ into a purpose-built “stadium” for investment banking staff and clients to watch the games, complete with covering canopy, indoor pitch and giant screens.

As many as 3,000 lucky individuals will be invited to watch the games in these salubrious surroundings, which RBS said were more “cost-effective” than ferrying everyone out to South Africa for the real thing. I’ll say.

They’re also using the occasion to run fundraising activities for children’s charity Sparks, thereby neatly ticking all three of the required boxes: philanthropy, keeping the cost of the whole operation to a palatable level, and avoiding staff mutiny over whether or not to allow the watching of games in the office.
Tick, tick, tick.

Speaking of snatching your opportunities with the upcoming footy, accountancy giant Deloitte is another one to have it licked. Browsing idly on the firm’s website yesterday, The Capitalist chanced upon a link to the Deloitte Fantasy Football League – complete with national, regional and local office leagues for the firm’s staff all over the world.

I hear that Deloitte is also being canny in “suggesting” a £10 donation from its staffers
taking part, to go into the sizeable pot to be donated to its three corporate charities Help
for Heroes, Cancer Research and Children with Leukaemia.

So far, over 1,000 eager players have signed up, in the hopes of winning office bragging rights and/or some swanky prizes, including corporate hospitality tickets to Premier League games, signed England memorabilia and a replica World Cup trophy. Prizes for the most innovative team to sign up so far include sports business group head Dan Jones, in charge of the firm’s annual review of football finance, with a team of past and present Man U players entitled “Republic of Mancunia”.

Mind you, The Capitalist is sure he’ll have a run for his money from a certain lady staffer whose “Legs Eleven” squad is based solely on how good the players look in their shorts…

Regular readers may recall that Old Spitalfields Market is currently searching for what
must be the best unpaid role in the City – that of official “ale taster” for London.
I hear that the market has now whittled down the candidates to a shortlist of just six, who will go head to head at an ale tasting competition at 1pm today in the market.
This is not a job to be taken lightly, the organisers assure us – jobs include spending a weekly “beer budget” on drinking in London pubs and reporting back on a blog. Hmmm. For the purely recreational drinkers out there, the market is today also hosting a mini beer festival to coincide with the competition, open between 9am and 3pm and offering free samples of local ales to the connoisseurs of the City. Just watch out for the stampede.

Roll up, roll up – the chance to bid for the world’s most sought-after corporate lunch has come round again.

Warren Buffett, the Berkshire Hathaway chief and “Sage of Omaha” investment guru, is once again auctioning himself off for homeless charity Glide Foundation – at which the winning bidder and up to seven hangers-on will have the chance to dine with him at a steakhouse in New York.

The auction, which closes in the early hours of Saturday morning UK time, has a minimum bid of $25,000, though beads of sweat must have been forming on our Buffett’s furrowed brow on Monday, the first day of the auction, when it took 14 hours for the first bid to come in.

That’s all changed now, with the going price last night standing at $81,100 after 28 bids. But it’s likely to go much higher – last year, Toronto wealth manager Salida Capital won with a $1.68m bid, and the record is $2.11m, proffered in 2008 by Hong Kong investor Zhao Danyang.

It’s cutting shears at dawn for the tailors of Savile Row, who are up in arms about suitmaker Moss Bros’ latest venture into bespoke tailoring, “Moss Bespoke”.

“This is several thousand miles from bespoke tailoring,” spits Mark Henderson, chair of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, who describes the bespoke suit as “an individual, hand-cut pattern and a garment individually made against that pattern, under the guidance of a Master Cutter”. Ouch.