ATTENDEES at the London School of Economics’ (LSE) monetary policy conference yesterday morning were treated to an A-list talking heads line-up, with former members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Sir John Gieve and Charles Goodhart joining Fitch Ratings’ Brian Coulton to discuss interest rates.
Unfortunately, the audience was not about to flatter its illustrious panel. A survey of the spectators revealed that 48 per cent thought regulations had not reduced the chances of another Northern Rock – bad news for Gieve, who has been dubbed “the fall guy” for the Northern Rock crisis.
But current MPC members might have been even more dismayed by words from old sage Professor Goodhart. Musing on the difficult job facing the committee in these challenging times, Goodhart suggested that he would want to be Rip Van Winkle if he were sitting on the committee nowadays.
Keen American literature students will remember Van Winkle as the fictional Dutch settler in a children’s story who, after wandering into the mountains to escape his wife, drinks a potion that makes him fall asleep for 20 years.
Fortunately, Goodhart soon revised his prognosis from 20 years of monetary turmoil to two, concluding: “I would want to be anaesthetised till 2012 if I were on the MPC at the moment.”
Bad luck, Mervyn.
Ryanair just couldn’t resist jumping into the increasingly vicious internal row over easyJet’s punctuality. Last week, easyGroup founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wrote a letter to easyJet’s board threatening removal of the “easy” brand if they didn’t up their game. Quick to capitalise on the fuss and drawing inspiration from reports that easyJet’s punctuality lags behind even that of Air Zimbabwe, Ryanair bought up newspaper ads featuring Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe under the headline, “Here’s easyJet’s new head of punctuality”. Its point? Unclear. But its marketing team certainly knows how to throw fuel on a fire.
TALK FOREX TO ME
Forex analysts and their cohorts now have a new way to procrastinate online between trades. LetsTalkFX.com, a social networking site for anyone connected to the forex industry, has now topped 700 members since going live in June, and the site is due to undergo its first upgrade soon.
The site provides its vetted membership with a range of services from social forums to events listings and blogs. Asked how they vet their members for the more exclusive parts of the site, co-founder Paul Ronan tells The Capitalist: “We have fairly good connections throughout the marketplace.” But he was coy about where he works – it’s still top secret. Ronan is one of five co-founders who began the site as a business venture with their own money, the others being Stefan Basiuk, FXecosystem’s Jon Vollameare and two as-yet mysteriously unnamed figures.
With Finotec Group’s CEO Xavier Alexandre offering exclusive blogged content on “strap-on algorithmics” and the site’s membership expected to expand by 6,000 over the coming months, forex traders might finally be about to give up yelling down the phone at one another in favour of more genteel, online banter.
The Capitalist hears that savvy workers at Architas Multi Manager have been scoring some strategic brownie points with their new managing director this week. Having been lured from Barclays Wealth after 15 years there, Hans Georgeson came into work for his first day on Monday to greet a workforce somewhat depleted by the summer holidays. Those who are around haven’t wasted any time, however: while working late in Architas’ swanky Old Broad Street HQ, Georgeson has been joined by colleagues still slaving away at their desks in a solid effort to curry favour early. We salute your cunning – but analysts should be warned: it won’t take long for the new boss to get wise, so best score points early on.
News from Cowes Week slipped through the grapevine into The Capitalist’s inbox yesterday, with City folks being treated to sightings of the new face of Musto clothing, Zara Phillips. Phillips has been in town to promote the brand, which is hoping to cement its equestrian and yachting credentials by bringing the royal horsewoman on board. Meanwhile, former Formula One owner Eddie Jordan was spotted sailing into place to take part in the Queen’s Cup on a 39-foot yacht called Erivale. Jordan was dwarfed by the more impressive 100-foot competitors and spectators could only wonder why the multi-millionaire was “slumming it” on one of the little ’uns. Did no one invite him aboard one of the nice big boats?
Victoria Bates is away.