SMELLING OF ROSES IN CAMERON’S NEW COURT

AND so it came to pass. Outgoing Marks & Spencer chief Stuart Rose has wasted little time in finding another gig for himself: he’s been offered a job working on David Cameron’s “happiness index”, a headline-grabbing little initiative being led by the Office for National Statistics to monitor our “national wellbeing” as a supplement to GDP.

But wait! Wasn’t it all foretold many months ago? The Capitalist recalls Rose’s pre-election appearance on the BBC’s Question Time programme in October last year.

He proved remarkably evasive, fending off David Dimbleby’s questions with a chuckle and a comment that he was being asked “all the political questions tonight”. “It’s a political programme,” Dimbleby responded with some surprise.

But fellow panellist Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, was quick to pick up on Rose’s reticence. Was Rose, perhaps, maybe, planning to go off and get a job in government, he wanted to know.

Answer came there none.

THE SEASON OF GIVING
It seems the merry men of Hargreaves Lansdown are raking it in this Christmas. The firm’s head of pensions, Tom McPhail, was tapping away on Twitter on Friday, under the cute pseudonym @pensionsmonkey, and he had a plea, for the sake of his burgeoning colleagues: “Could all fund managers please stop sending our investment team Christmas delicacies; they are already overweight and have no shame.”

A message to those same generous fund managers: the slim ladies of the City A.M. investments team have no such problems.

OUT OF THE HAT
In an end-of-year note to investors, Renaissance Asset Managers’ chief investment officer Plamen Monovski had some unusual predictions for 2011, “the year of the rabbit”. Among his forecasts: US equities will grow strongly, investors will flee the BRICs and “a few” global luxury brands will collapse. But be warned: the forecasts were clearly labelled “for professional investors only”.