THE LOVE affair between businessmen and their fast cars is certainly alive and kicking.
This weekend marks the Goodwood Revival historic motorsport and aviation festival, as over 132,000 attendees prepare to head down to Sussex for two days of immersion in classic cars and planes. And The Capitalist hears that among those competing on the track will be a surprisingly large number of City types, enjoying a bit of a break from the daily grind.
Orange chief executive Tom Alexander will be there taking a 1951 Aston Martin DB2 for an adrenaline-fuelled spin; former peer Baron Laidlaw, the businessman who earlier this year refused to become domiciled in the UK for tax purposes, will be hopping over from Monaco to get behind the wheel of a Maserati 250S; and Shaun Lynn, the president of inter-dealer broker BGC Partners, will be driving his own 1961 lightweight Jaguar E-type.
JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford’s rare and pricey 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is being driven by his son Joe, while Tesco group strategy director and BSkyB non-executive Andrew Higginson is leaving the driving to the professionals. He’s entered his 1959 Austin A40, which he’s entrusting to the capable hands of racing driver Oliver Gavin.
Simon Lewis, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s spokesman until the general election earlier this year, is set to step through a new set of doors at the beginning of October. .
Lewis, who had been director of communications at Number 10 for almost a year before the coalition came into power, is to lead the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).
As chief executive of AFME – created out of the merger of LIBA and SIFMA Europe – he will be tasked with lobbying regulatory and government officials on behalf of the industry.
Earlier in his career Lewis spent a period in financial PR and lengthy stints at Vodafone and Centrica. In contrast, after the election, he spent just a couple of months in an interim communications advisory role at UKTI.
In zooms an email containing lengthy ruminations from Unicredit’s resident economist Alexander Kock… on Munich’s upcoming Oktoberfest, of all things.
Kock is up in arms over the cost of heading to Oktoberfest, which is apparently climbing up at a much steeper rate than the general consumer price index. In order to calculate how much steeper, he’s developed a Wiesn Visitor Price Index, breaking down the cost of visiting to two Mass (two litres) of beer and half a grilled chicken, plus the price of public transport.
“The development of the individual price components reveals that prices have risen disproportionately since 1985,” Kock writes, adding that beer has risen the fastest, by over four per cent per year.
The upshot? Oktoberfest’ll cost you, 3.4 per cent more than last year, to be precise – and well above the expected inflation rate of 1.2 per cent.
Luckily, to ease the pain of the actual hangover, Kock also kindly included a ten-point guide to avoiding feeling like death the morning after – water, eating plenty of sausages to soak up the alcohol, you know the drill. If all else fails, an hourly dose of vegetable broth should do the trick for the remaining beer toxins, as well as copious amounts of chocolate and pizza.
“Of course – to quote Benjamin Franklin – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Kock muses. “But experience teaches that this is easier said than done...”
A cautionary tale from the City with regard to the so-called “Boris bikes”, courtesy of Baker Tilly’s cheery head of capital markets Chilton Taylor.
Taylor tells me he’s been on the bike trail for four days so far, though only the first of those days has been entirely successful.
On the second day, he encountered three separate bikes which could not be released from their docking stations, while on the third day, the gears failed half way through his journey back home.
On the fourth day, he rose again to the challenge, but passed four empty stations before having to walk a mile to find a bike. Adding insult to injury, Taylor then proceeded to ride for a grand total of two minutes in exuberant style before his trousers split down the seams. Best stick to the Tube in future?
Finally, congratulations to Berwin Leighton Paisner’s resident exercise junkie, real estate finance lawyer Jill Parker. I hear Parker won the World Amateur Triathlon
Championships in Hungary at the weekend – coming first in the 30-34 Olympic-distance women’s race by over three minutes and competing against 2,800 athletes from around the globe.
That’s a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run, just to drill it home for the faint-hearted.