WITH another eight days to go before the turkey is even dished out, some of us may have already had our share of mince pies and bucks fizz.
But not everyone has been so indulgent. Two bankers in particular have successfully resisted the temptations of the festive season and are on track to shed almost five stone and raise £20,000 for charity between them despite only being set the challenge a mere eight weeks ago.
Stephen Green of Citigroup and Lee Johnson from RBS were selected from over 60 keen entrants who volunteered to be put on a strict diet and exercise regime under the supervision of Matt Roberts Personal Training Club on Cornhill, as part of its “Fat Bankers” Competition.
The cash they raise will go to the Richard House Children’s Hospice and Prostate Cancer Charity (and they’re still accepting donations).
The two will go head-to-head (well, paunch to paunch) at the club on Monday lunchtime, when the name of the banker with the iron will to shed the most pounds will be announced.
Here’s hoping their bonuses won’t follow suit!
Not everyone has access to a personal trainer to firm up their willpower of course.
For those without, Barclays Wealth’s Greg Davies, head of behavioural finance, has come up with some rather unusual recommendations to stop traders and savers from letting their emotions take over when the threat of crisis looms.
And he has been inspired by none other than Homer’s Ulysses and the tale of the sirens.
“Ulysses is going past the island of the sirens, scantily clad, beautiful young women, who lure sailors to their deaths,” he told The Capitalist, adding: “This is great, by the way, I’ve found a wonderful classical painting of this, which means I get to put naked women in my Powerpoint presentations with respectability.”
Anyway, as those finance workers well-versed in the classics will know, Ulysses gets his sailors to tie him to his ship’s mast so that he’s unable to pursue his doom.
And that’s exactly the kind of service Davies is offering his clients. The fact is, even if you can find another wealth manager willing to tie you up and stuff beeswax in your ears, they still probably can’t find a way to make Powerpoint sexy.
WHAT LIES BENEATH
It seems that it’s not just tax havens that are guarding secret deposits: the City of London has a few hidden places of its own to stash secrets.
Nestled next to Mansion House, amid the busy streets of the Square Miles, sits the City of London magistrates court.
But the respectable frontage actually hides a set of abandoned old gold vaults deep beneath the courts.
But it’s not gold that the City is keeping under lock and key. The vaults are used nowadays to keep another valuable asset under heavy guard: prisoners, most of them being charged with financial crimes, are held there before and after their hearings.
Which means that the Grade II-listed vaults are at least being put to something approximating their original use: for the recovery of hidden treasures.
You would think the FSA would make the effort to get their sums right, especially when they’re in charge of chastising others for being inconsistent with their figures.
And yet the body proudly announced this week that they’d raked in “£85,312,81.50” in total from fines in 2010.
Calls to the FSA resulted in confusion. It seems they’re not even sure where the commas and decimals should be in the correct figure, resulting in an administrative nightmare as they go back through their books with a fine toothcomb.
Always good to have confidence in your regulators, eh?
If you’ve always fancied making a cameo appearance in, well, a huge campaign to publicise support for British troops, now’s your chance.
Online video site Winkball will be out filming in the City between 1pm and 7pm tomorrow in an attempt to add City faces to its “faces for the forces” campaign. The plan is to rack up 500,000 short videos of celebrities, leaders and Joe Schmoes saying why they support British troops and think they’re doing a swell job.
The campaign, which is supported by the British Legion, is already up to 405,000, with David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Gary Lineker and Pixie Lott all in the bag so far.
So where to catch them? You
don’t have to go far: they’ve managed to get filming rights in Liverpool Street Station, Canary Wharf, Leadenhall Market, the London Stock Exchange,
Lloyds and outside the Bank of England. Just try to make sure you haven’t just taken a mouthful of your lunch when the camera starts rolling.