CITY insurer RSA certainly knows how to celebrate in style. The firm is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year – though it’s not sure of the exact day – and has been busy thinking up various gimmicks to mark the occasion.
First of all, RSA roped in brewer Shepherd Neame to create a special anniversary beer for its birthday year, as well as taking care of employees’ sweet teeth by manufacturing its own brand of confectionery.
And now, it’s been digging around in the archives for various mementos of its three centuries in the City, coming up with some absolute gems. RSA previously insured the likes of explorer Captain Cook, author Charles Dickens, naturalist Charles Darwin and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
The firm has also unearthed a priceless underwriting document for the current St Paul’s Cathedral building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, after the old cathedral was burned down in the Great Fire of London.
At least RSA now knows it’s got plenty of assets to flog off if it ever gets into a sticky spot of financial bother...
Some well-deserved celebrating this week on the part of former JP Morgan investment banker Elham Al-Qasimi, who quit her job recently to undertake the ultimate charity challenge – becoming the first Arab female ever to trek to the North Pole.
The hardy lass has now completed the 92-mile trip on skis, lugging her food and equipment alongside her, in temperatures of down to –30°C. She managed the impressive feat in just ten days, despite initially scheduling the trip to take just over two weeks.
“The journey was one which was a breakthrough culturally as well as personally, and one which I hope inspires Arab women all over the world,” Al-Qasimi said.
Just as Germany shocks the markets by banning naked short selling, out comes India’s largest stock exchange to actively encourage the practice.
The National Stock Exchange of India’s chief executive Ravi Narain said yesterday he would launch a new short-selling platform within weeks, to satisfy a “huge demand” from investors.
“My view is that if the whole world is rushing to India, you’d have to be brain dead to be rushing out,” Narain told Bloomberg. “Our strategy should be to continue to attract foreign investors to Indian assets onshore and to bringing foreign products to Indian markets…”
NO BIG DEAL
And the award for the least apologetic member of the hedge fund community goes to… David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management.
Tepper is best known for betting on the US and British governments bailing out the banks in the depths of the crisis and then taking home a record pay packet on the back of the gamble. Mind you, things aren’t always rosy for the former Goldman Sachs man – speaking at the Ira Sohn conference in America this week, Tepper told of how his firm has lost $1bn (£686m) in assets under management over the past month.
Shrugging his shoulders, he continued: “What’re ya gonna do?”
Joy and disappointment were both on the cards at the Fixed Interest Golfing Society (FIGS) annual golf jaunt last weekend, held this year at a course near Salisbury.
As the sun burned down, those present tell me that retired NatWest Markets staffer Michael Sibbering eventually took the trophy from Charles Stanley’s Ian Falconer, though only by a whisker.
Meanwhile, there was also stiff competition for the wooden spoon prize – a statuette of a bronze bunny golfer. Chris Kyle had been in possession of said trophy for a number of years but lost it last year into the less than capable hands of Monument Securities’ Trevor Cooper. But Kyle managed to regain his dubious crown this year, to the joy of his little grandson – who has always loved the little fella.
The Capitalist can only admire the ambition of Neil Bennett, the hack-turned spinner at the helm of PR consultancy Maitland.
Bennett will this weekend make his attempt at completing the so-called “Comrades Marathon” in South Africa – which is actually a double-length 55 mile marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, to be completed in under 12 hours.
“Thank you, if you do spare a thought for me when you wake on Sunday morning,” Bennett wrote to his City chums yesterday. “The race starts at 5.30am so by breakfast, God willing, I should be 20 miles along the way…”
Good luck to the intrepid chap.