Only weeks to go now before the biggest decampment the City has seen in a while; Japanese bank Nomura’s move back to the City from the Canary Wharf offices it inherited from Lehman Brothers a few years back. The bank, which will move its staff floor by floor to minimise disruption, starting on 12 July, is getting a tad excited about the Watermark Place office.
No wonder, either – if the Met Office’s predictions of a scorching summer are to be believed (we can but hope), their employees are going to have something of a treat in store. Not only does the new cafeteria look out over the Thames, complete with outdoor tables and chairs, but the bank’s new digs also boast the largest outdoor roof space in the whole of Europe, split over two separate terraces.
As one savvy Nomura schmoozer remarked: “We’re going to be able to host some epic parties out there.”
I’ll say. Are we all invited?
Love it or hate it, the vuvuzela horn’s incessant drone has been the soundtrack to the World Cup tournament so far. But those in the latter category will be delighted to know that it may soon become a thing of the past. Audionamix, a Paris technology firm, is in talks with ITV to license software that filters out the blare of the South African horns from football games without losing other sounds.
Audionamix, half-owned by Richard Bernstein’s Eurovestech, has already sold the technology to French TV portal Canal+, which began offering viewers the ability to turn vuvuzelas off last week.
Congratulations to Patrick Rarden (pictured right), the former Icap equity broker and City veteran, who last week picked up a Westminster award for his efforts outside the office, pounding the streets of the Square Mile on the beat.
Rarden has been a special constable volunteer in the City of London police for the past three years, giving up a hefty 587 hours of his own time in the past year alone to help the force. Alongside his patrol work, he also provides training for officers on the intricate workings of the financial markets, helps with high-level fraud investigations and has also set up his own charity, “Waste Not Want Not”, to distribute discarded food from Eat sandwich shops to rough sleepers in the City. Puts the rest of us to shame, doesn’t it?
Much has been made of besieged BP boss Tony Hayward’s jaunt to the Isle of Wight at the weekend for the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island race, but how did he actually fare out there on the water?
Not half bad, actually – Hayward’s boat “Bob” made it round the course in six hours and 16 minutes, which is pretty respectable for a Farr 52 monohull.
But it was another businessman who was really celebrating after the race, namely Mike Slade, the chief executive of property group Helical Bar, who’s no stranger to the waves in his Icap Leopard yacht. Slade was gunning for a record at the event, but missed out due to the boat being held up after it caught on a heavy lobster pot.
Still, he managed to take line honours with a time of just over five hours. “Thankfully we had a young diver on board who free-dived below and cut off [the lobster pot],” Slade laughs. “We thought we had slowed up and when we saw the size of the obstacle we realised why. Sadly there was nothing in it.”
AND ALL THAT JAZZ
Regular readers may recall the name of stockbroking veteran John East, deputy chief of Merchant John East Securities, who made a musical comeback earlier this year, playing the Hammond organ at a jazz gig in Chelsea. East is now planning his next gig at the 606 Club, on 28 July, and his ambitions don’t stop there.
“The last gig was recorded and we were going to put it out as a CD, but I think I’m going to wait until after the next one in case there are a couple more numbers worth including,” East tells me, explaining that the mix will be a mix of classics and new numbers, to ring the changes.
It’s worth a listen, too – not only has he been playing since his early teens, but the musical maestro was also formerly a founder of CityAid, the Square Mile’s answer to LiveAid, in the Eighties.