IT HAS only been three months since George Osborne spent the morning at Nomura to declare the Japanese bank’s new offices officially open.
But the chancellor was yesterday back in the Lower Thames Street area for the unveiling of Man Group’s new global HQ at Riverbank House, next-door to Nomura at 2 Swan Lane.
“I’m making quite a habit of this,” said Osborne, taking time out from his “extremely hectic” schedule to join Man Group’s chief executive Peter Clarke and chairman Jon Aisbitt to mark 228 years of continuous commitment to the City of London. “We look forward to being here for the next 228 years,” Aisbitt told his guests. “Although we recognise there will have to be some management changes.”
Man Group, today the world’s largest publicly listed hedge fund, started life as a barrel business under founder James Man back in 1783, when London was also in the throes of financial crisis, again under a Tory coalition government. “A young chancellor came in and saved the day,” noted Osborne smugly – although he must hope the similarities stop there, because his predecessor went on to die of alcohol poisoning.
It was a fitting anecdote for Man, which historically had the contract to supply all the Royal Navy sailors with their daily tot of rum. Until 1970, that is, when the Navy minister David Owen put a stop to the “fine naval tradition” – three years after the introduction of nuclear submarines. Apparently, the complexity of modern military machinery “outweighed the need for a settled stomach in choppy waters”.
BEES VERSUS VIEWS
BACK to the inevitable comparisons with Nomura, after Osborne remarked, on unveiling Man Group’s plaque: “When I did this at Nomura, the whole thing almost fell down.”
Both buildings are renowned for their panoramic roof terraces but, says Osborne, Man’s has the edge. “You have a better view than Nomura, by the way,” he told the hedge fund’s staff. “When they look out to the river, all they can see is your building.”
Not to be outdone, Nomura chose yesterday – purely coincidentally, obviously – to tell the world about the two new beehive colonies installed on its roof terrace, part of a honey-making project in partnership with inner-city charity The Golden Company.
Final scores at close of play yesterday: Man Group 1, Nomura 1.
DIDN’T know there is a Moscow in Scotland? You do now – it’s a hamlet in East Ayrshire that was this week put on the map when Nicholas Fairfax, an executive board member of Russia’s largest shipping company SCF Group took to his motorbike for a leg of the charity ride from Moscow, Ayrshire to Moscow, Russia and back again.
Fairfax was joined on the UK leg of the ride – which covered 6,500 miles in total and 13 countries – by HRH Prince Michael of Kent (pictured, with Fairfax), who helped raise £14,000 for The Poppa Guttmann Trust for spinal injury victims.
AS ITALY looks increasingly likely to be sucked into the European sovereign debt crisis, The Capitalist hears the City has coined a new phrase for the contagion: “Lehman-cello”.
More deadly than Italy’s national liqueur – and with a far more bitter aftertaste…
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
THE business elite are “disproportionately influential and at the forefront of new developments”, says Ipsos – so its hard to imagine how in 1993 only 33 per cent of global influencers owned a mobile phone, and by 1996 only 37 per cent used email.
The findings were unveiled at yesterday’s Ipsos presentation, where James Torr, director of the Business Elite (BE) Surveys, looked back at the evolution of the group described as “the driving force behind most economies” since the first BE study in 1973.
Interesting how sharply the percentage flying on business to the BRIC countries has shot up between 2002 and 2010 – by 53 per cent to India, by 56 per cent to China and by 79 per cent to Russia.
Average net worth is also creeping back up from the low of 2009 to €800,000 in 2010, with average income at more than €150,000.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
YOU’VE registered Man Group and Nomura’s changes of address; now please note that as of Sunday 17 July, City A.M. is also moving offices to: Fourth floor, 33 Queen Street, London, EC4R 1BR.