THINGS are hotting up over at broker Hoodless Brennan, which I hear is currently in the final throes of negotiating a move from its current Canary Wharf HQ back to the quainter environs of the Square Mile.

The brokers at Hoodless, which plans to shack up on Finsbury Pavement some time early next year, are getting quite excited about their upcoming change of scenery, since many of them – including jovial dealing director Roy Phillips, famous for his customary telephone greeting, “Happy House” – are regulars at the gnarled old boozers lining the winding streets of the old City.

“It will make doing business with other broking houses and clients a bit easier due to geographical proximity,” chairman Andrew Baker tells me. “And the staff are looking forward to getting back to their charming haunts in the City…”

Hoodless shouldn’t get too comfortable, mind, since a potential suitor is waiting in the wings in the form of Edward Vandyk – aka “Dr Death” – the owner of Astaire Securities who’s made a name for himself over the past year for his aggressive consolidatory actions in the sector.

Vandyk has apparently already held informal talks with the shareholders in Hoodless about a potential tie-up in the near future, attracted by the firm’s traditional stockbroking businesses in London and Bristol and market-making capabilities, which is a strength Astaire does not yet possess. Vandyk isn’t exactly known for his propensity to dither on such deals, so watch this space…

Media monkeys everywhere got a bit of a surprise yesterday with the shock announcement that John Waples, business editor of The Sunday Times, is heading over to the dark side with a job at PR firm Financial Dynamics – as a managing director, no less.

Cue another scramble of applications for his old job, coming just months after the shoes of Mark Kleinman, Waples’ counterpart on the Sunday Telegraph, were finally filled by Kamal Ahmed.
Frontrunners for the post, unsurprisingly, are thought to include Times stable insiders Dominic O’Connell and Ian King…

Has Geraldine Davies – who’s just upped sticks from executive search firm the Willis Partnership to join the ranks of communications search group Ellwood & Atfield – landed herself the toughest job in the recruitment business?

Word reaches The Capitalist that Davies has been tasked with finding a replacement for John Murray as head of comms at the Financial Services Authority, which must be a hard sell seeing as it’s more than likely that the regulator’s days are numbered if the Tories have their say next year.

Not that she’s prepared to let on, mind. “Not at all – it’s surprising how many people are interested,” Davies explains. “It’s an exciting, challenging job…” I’ll say.

We’re used to the broking firms in the City warring against each other in business, but it now seems they’re getting competitive on the New Year gift front, too.

Not so long ago, we received diaries for next year from Charles Stanley, which had the foresight to include a table of wines and when each vintage is best to drink. But in comes another 2010 diary from Winterflood Securities which is even prettier, made of pink leather with The Capitalist’s name embossed in gold on the front. Very fancy.

Feast your eyes on the photo below, which isn’t a sight you’ll see very often in the City. Anneli Collins, head of M&A tax at KPMG, and her colleagues Angus Wilson and David Prestwich had a trip to the hairdresser earlier this week and came out with their hair a deep shade of blue.

The stunt was to raise money for their marathon attempt next April, in aid of Dyslexia Action and After Adoption, though I hear it’s also netted them some unusual fans.

“I had a heavily tattooed and pierced man come up to me on the way to work and tell me my hair was cool,” Collins says, sounding somewhat bemused. “I think we’re appealing to a whole new demographic…”

Wonders never cease. In comes an email from SocGen analyst Dylan Grice, who’s compiled a list of his favourite financial books – including The Essays of Warren Buffett, edited by Richard Cunningham, and Manias, Panics and Crashes, by Charles P. Kindleberger.

So why is the note from Grice and not notorious bear colleague Albert Edwards, pray?

Because Edwards “only reads ‘chick lit’”, apparently. Uh-huh.