EW Perloff, the eccentric chairman of property firm Panther Securities, has something of a cult following among City investors due to his penchant for using company results statements as an excuse to reminisce at length about life’s little quirks.
But yesterday’s final results announcement was a corker even by Perloff’s own standards, ranging from fervent attacks on the current “dreadfully incompetent” government, to worries about having left the draft company figures in a seat pocket of a plane, to tales of a boys’ gambling trip to Vegas.
And all that before Perloff – who’s been at the helm of Panther for over three and a half decades – got started on saying a fond farewell to the company’s former headquarters at Panther House.
Launching into a detailed memoir of the building’s history, Perloff took a look back at its more colourful tenants over the period – including a photographer of Page Three girls, a porn company, a group “planning a bank vault heist”, a young musician who thought he could fly and jumped off the roof into the courtyard, a number of fashion designers and even the proprietors of what he euphemistically dubbed a “pot plant” factory using up half the building’s electricity (hmm).
“When I am just dust and hopefully memories, my spirit will float around the corridors of Panther House, beaming like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, smiling on all the late-night workers,” Perloff finishes, wistfully. “I will be the happiest ghost in all of London…”
The man certainly knows how to brighten up a day in the office.
BOOM AND BUST
With the vestiges of “Obamania” becoming a more distant memory across the pond, has US President forgotten the basic lessons of PR?
I only ask after Obama used his weekly address at the weekend to promise an end to Wall Street bailouts “once and for all”, claiming his plans for reform would – wait for it – “put an end to the cycles of boom and bust”.
I’m sorry, ending boom and bust? Has the man learnt nothing from the poignant experience of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who famously used the same boast of his own government when he was chancellor, only to shoot himself in the foot when the world nearly experienced financial Armageddon?
SPICING IT UP
Hats off to five of the bravest women in financial services, who are taking a trip down memory lane later this week at a ladies’ talent show organised by R3 – the Association of Business Recovery Professionals – in aid of the Debbie Phillips Cervical Cancer Research Fund.
I hear the ladies in question are dressing up as the Spice Girls (in their heyday) for the event, with Deloitte partner Louise Brittain as Ginger, R3’s own Frances Coulson as Posh, MAB Law’s Christina Fitzgerald as Sporty, Baker Tilly’s Josie Turpin as Scary and Finella Fogarty from DLA Piper as Baby Spice.
After a slight hiccup when the PVC boots got stuck in transit due to the volcanic ash crisis (they’re due to be delivered shortly, thank heaven), the girls are preparing for their rendition of “Stop” on Wednesday, under the pseudonym “Old Spice”.
“We may be over forty, but we’ve been practising and we’ve got the dance routine down pat,” Brittain tells me. The Capitalist is awaiting pictorial evidence after the event…
Tensions were bound to be running high on the first day of filming for the eighth series of Dragons Den yesterday, given the high-profile spat between stars Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan over the latter’s non-dom tax status.
Bannatyne began the day on Twitter by warning that the BBC producers had banned the Dragons from tweeting about what was happening on the set, much to his followers’ disappointment.
But they were soon cheered when Bannatyne began a round of banter among the Dragons, posting a picture of Peter Jones having his makeup retouched and claiming Caan was still not speaking to him and had “the huff”.
Ding, ding. Round two?
Word reaches The Capitalist of a rather unusual dramatic adaptation coming to the City, courtesy of Sedos – formerly the Stock Exchange Dramatic and Operatic Society.
Sedos is putting on the Shakespeare comedy The Taming of the Shrew at the end of the month – but their production has something of a twist to it, being set in the modern day business environment. What’s more, the society is performing the play at offices all over the City after work, and it’s putting on two public performances at the London Stock Exchange on 4 May and at Sainsbury’s headquarters in Holborn on 6 May.
Actors and actresses in the production are drawn from City firms including law firm Sprecher Grier Halberstam, Lloyds insurance broker Besso and financial data company Markit.
Tickets are available from www.sedos.co.uk.
FIVE A SIDE
Congratulations to the enterprising team over at OPM Fund Management, who raised over £10,500 from the fund management industry last week at a charity five-a-side footy tournament and dinner out in the countryside in Norwich.
Aberdeen Asset Management, BlackRock, Lazard, M&G, Aviva, Gartmore, Old Mutual, Schroders and Neptune were all among the 30 teams taking part, with Invesco Perpetual taking away the trophy at the end of the day.