HEDGIES FORK OUT FOR CHARITY AS LORD ARCHER HOSTS THE AUCTION

HEDGE fund philanthropists had one of their biggest galas of the year this past weekend, thanks to a fundraiser by Hedge Fund Care, a fund chaired by Robert Mirsky that makes grants to charities fighting child abuse and neglect. 400 or so of the industry’s finest donned their finest blacktie and arrived for a three-course banquet at St Paul’s Grange Hotel.

Tables were hosted by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and HSBC, and at £750 a seat, the guests had already thrown a few thousand into the collection pot before they even sat down.

With a charity auction led by Lord Jeffrey Archer – who has reportedly raised £39m at charity auctions in his lifetime – the hedges bid for prizes that included a signed Status Quo guitar and a luxury holiday in Barbados. “Pity the man who decides to stand up and tries to leave while he’s doing an auction,” Mirsky told The Capitalist.

With speeches by Esther Rantzen, Mirsky and a 12-year-old girl who had been bullied, the hedgies were hardly wanting for information about the good causes on which they were splashing their cash – which might be why they raised a total of £250,000 after the costs of the evening, which will be available for grants in the coming year.

Not a bad haul for an industry supposedly populated by heartless opportunists, eh?

TIGER PRANKS
So where do ex-City boys end up several years down the line? Some of them, at least, go on to found businesses, with www.yourgolftravel.com, founded by Ross Marshall and Andrew Harding, celebrating its fifth birthday over the weekend. The top of the Gherkin is certainly a more impressive venue than hosted my fifth birthday party, and the 300 or so traders in attendance were treated to some additional entertainment courtesy of a mischievous friend.

With the likes of Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo gracing the soiree, who else should show up but a very “WAG-like” girl, who busted her way into the VIP area with shouts and screams. She demanded to speak to Tiger Woods, claiming to be one of Woods’ many maligned girlfriends.

Just as the situation moved towards the inevitable call for security, with the party’s hosts turning various shades of red, she suddenly burst in to song, joined by two other seeming “guests” and proceeded to serenade the attendees with West End musical numbers.
But what on earth had happened? Pin the blame on Geoff Sewell, who runs Incognito Artists, a firm that sends top actors and actresses from West End shows along to parties to cause mayhem.

“I’ve never seen such red faces,” says our source of his hosts.
EURO PUNTING
Bad news for the euro, good news for traders. WorldSpreads is just about to open up the first spread betting opportunity on the future of the single currency itself. Traders have long been able to bet on the euro as they would on any other major currency, but being able to punt on its existence must surely mark a new low in the euro’s difficult year.
The bet will be available from January (so let’s hope it lasts the year!), with a spread of 710-720 days for how long the currency will continue. Optimists bet over 720, with the potential win or loss being 420 times the stake.

WorldSpreads CEO Conor Foley says: “Trapped between ideology and reality, the euro will be 2011’s hottest financial debate.” (I think we know what direction you’d bet on, Conor). “Every day we trade futures and currencies, but never before have I seen a trade on the future of a currency.”

Better hope those overly keen Eurozone regulators don’t get on the case any time soon!

FOR ENGLAND
So the Royal Wedding is meant to cost Britain billions in lost revenues next year, but what about the ever-recurring annual cost of “sick days” pulled after office Christmas parties? A survey of 6,000 people by Travelodge reveals that such stunts will cost the UK economy £620m this year alone. And this is despite the generosity of the businesses throwing them: 38 per cent will pay for the office party this year, thought this is down from 45 per cent in 2009.

As for the extent of the boozing, better not tell your health insurer: employees are meant to drink an average of 7.3 units of alcohol at the party, with men gulping down 9.6 and women 5.6. That’s well over the recommended daily limit of 3-4 for men and 2-3 for women.

So just bear in mind your patriotic duty, readers, when you wake up with that shattering headache, suffering the consequences of your excesses. The economy needs you!

ALL YE TUNEFUL
With the Canary Wharf menorah fully lit last week for Chanukah, it’s time for the Christmas carol singers to muscle in on some seasonal action today. Two carol services, at 5.30pm and 7.30pm in East Wintergarden, will host 900 people in total.