HEDGE FUND TYCOON TRIFON NATSIS IS SAFE AS HOUSES

GOOD news for hedge fund tycoon Trifon Natsis, co-founder of Brevan Howard Asset Management, as The Capitalist can reveal his planning application for major improvements to his Hampstead home has been recommended for approval by Camden Council.

The planning officer dealing with the application has recommended the scheme receives the go-ahead in an internal report, as he doesn’t believe the lavish development will have a negative impact on the character of the Hampstead conservation area. Nor does he think it poses issues of structural instability.

All being well, then, the grand designs will get the green light from Camden’s councillors at the Development Control Committee meeting on 17 March, and Natsis’ home will soon be the talk of the neighbourhood.

Of particular note, The Capitalist hears, is the south-facing terrace ringed with a balustrade, which sounds like the perfect place for Natsis to host a housewarming party. Just a shame that since Natsis is now based in the fund’s Geneva office – where he also has a home – those London-based soirees may be limited.

TRUSTING FUNDS
BANKERS beware: the world of private funds will be exploded next Monday when Justin Cartwright’s latest novel Other People’s Money hits the bookshelves.

Cartwright’s fiction focuses on an “old posh bank in trouble”, Tubal & Co, and as part of his research he interviewed scores of characters at small investment firms to see just how far they would go to prop up a failing bank.

He recalls: “I asked [one banker] whether it would be possible that my small – fictional – private bank would pad its assets in a crisis by using family money, or whether they would use client money.

Without a moment’s hesitation he said they would use client money, which could be easily channelled into the bank ... before any regulators or auditors started to ask questions.”

So who is this source – “the most controversial person, no question” – that Cartwright questioned? “Someone who deals in international trusts,” was all the author would reveal, adding that “none of [the bankers] wanted to be quoted”. Funny, that.

ANIMAL KINGDOM
It’s a leap year for Deloitte, after the firm’s work to help preserve the Rubeho Forest in Tanzania was recognised by having a species of frog named after it – the Nectophrynoides deloittei, to be precise.

If this trend for renaming reptiles after global corporates continues, things could get very silly indeed, with the PricewaterhouseCooper lizard going head to head with the Ernst & Young gecko. Safe to say, though, that the sea birds of the Gulf of Mexico will be spared being tarred with oil giant BP’s “safety record” brush.