CAVIAR, lobster, champagne and sports car sales have all been dwindling over the course of the downturn, so I suppose we really should have seen this one coming.
Apparently, the latest luxury product to take a tumble is the Cuban cigar, synonymous with bulging wallets the world over – which saw an eight per cent fall in world sales over the past year to just $360m (£233.4m).
Still, the irrepressible people of Cuba, loath to entertain the notion of curtailing their fun, are holding their annual Habano cigar festival in the country as usual this week, with tastings, premium cigar awards, trade fairs, plantation visits and a gala evening all on the menu.
Well, they’ve got to make sure visitors can get their money’s worth, with the full event programme – excluding flights and accommodation – setting them back the equivalent of nearly £900…
Americans in London will have a brand spanking new base from 2017, after US ambassador Louis Susman yesterday unveiled the design for the country’s new London embassy.
Feast your eyes on the design itself, below, which was designed by architectural firm KieranTimberlake in Philadelphia, the winner of a competition to provide the blueprint for the new building.
Apparently, the goal of the project was to design a “complex” structure with a “timeless quality” to represent the US over this side of the pond – while also taking into account the need for a building which was at once modern, welcoming, energy efficient and safe.
The Capitalist isn’t entirely sure that the resulting over-sized glass box, to be situated in Nine Elms, near Battersea, perfectly fulfils the latter requirement, though one assumes the experts know what they’re talking about.
US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner has entered a brave new world. Geithner, one of the top dogs tasked with rescuing the financial system in the depths of the crisis, is set to appear in the upcoming April edition of fashion bible US Vogue – though he’s keen to stress he doesn’t feel comfortable in the world of wealth and only “looks like a banker”.
“His wife is a clinical social worker; his children went to public school,” paraphrases Vogue’s Rebecca Johnson. “He wears off-the-rack Brooks Brothers suits and a black rubber watch and tools around Cape Cod in a 30-year-old Boston Whaler. If you’re invited to the Geithners’ for dinner, the secretary himself will probably have cooked it. Barefoot.”
That’s if his culinary skills haven’t suffered from neglect after working regular 15 hour days over the course of the crunch, mind.
Look no further for your credit and equity derivatives broking needs tomorrow than to Phoenix Partners, which is holding its annual charity day.
The event – which is held across the group’s 70-strong New York office and 40-man London operations – is in memory of former employee Joshua Bruce Sawyer, who died in 2007 from a rare cancer aged just 28. The firm has raised over £3m for charity since then, so any help would be gratefully received.
CALL TO ARMS
While we’re on the subject of good causes, a call to arms to like-minded City folk keen to take part in the second annual CARE 3 Peaks Challenge, supported by City A.M.
The event, taking place on 11-12 September, will see teams from across the City scaling the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in just 24 hours, aiming to raise £100,000 for poverty charity CARE.
Last year saw teams competing from the likes of Deloitte, Baker Tilly and winners Bank of America – visit www.carechallenge.org.uk/3peaks for more details.
After receiving more than just a cursory slap on the wrist last week from the Financial Services Authority, Wills & Co is fighting back with a bang.
The stockbroker was officially censured and ordered to offload its clients, after the regulator said it had failed to improve its sales practices and monitor its advisers after it was fined £49,000 in 2007. But group chief Peter Shakeshaft yesterday uploaded four videos and a statement to the firm’s website, claiming that the FSA is discriminating against the small cap broking sector.
“You will notice that the banks which led us into this credit crisis have been ‘too big to fail’. It is a shame that the FSA have not adopted a practice of fairness across all sectors,” he storms. “I genuinely fear for the very existence of all stockbrokers in this country…”
Ding ding. Round three?