Wolseley duo to return with a breakfast pad on city doorstep

RESTAURATEURS Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, owners of the Wolseley, have managed to keep this extraordinarily quiet, but word reaches The Capitalist that they’re in the early stages of launching another power breakfast hotspot right on the City’s doorstep.

Rex Restaurants has long been enjoying the spoils of the Wolseley’s popularity with just about everyone – from private equity gurus, bankers and hedgie hotshots to well-heeled ladies who lunch – all flocking to the restaurant’s chequered halls morning, noon and night.

And I’m told the new venture – to be opened in the old Theatre Museum of performing arts site in Covent Garden – will also seek to capitalise on the ever-increasing awareness among financiers that breakfast, while perhaps not so fun as a booze-fuelled lunch, is ultimately far more productive.

No comment is forthcoming from Rex on strategy plans for the new restaurant, though a spokeswoman informs me the project is “in the hands of the City of Westminster” as it awaits planning permission.

Here’s hoping the powers that be will look favourably upon it…

Ex-RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin may be celebrating his return to the business world after taking up a position as senior adviser to Edinburgh architectural firm RMJM, but I hear the new role means he’s also going to have to put his charity ambitions on hold for a while.

Last year, word leaked that Goodwin was seeking a third sector job to occupy his time after his tenure as chairman of the Prince’s Trust came to an abrupt end last year. But it appears a substantial secondary charity role is no longer feasible, since his RMJM job will see him travelling extensively to the firm’s bases in Dubai, Hong Kong and the US.

If nothing else, at least Goodwin can bask in a long-forgotten smidgeon of goodwill after news of the new role broke.

Says my man at the besieged Scot’s side: “He has had a few phone calls since it went public, wishing him all the best.”

Whispers abound that Nicola Foulston – the feisty former head of racing circuit firm Brands Hatch Leisure – is plotting a comeback.

Life has changed for Foulston since selling the group to Octagon Motorsports for £120m a decade ago. Now with two young kids, she spends most of her time in Switzerland, though I hear it may be back to the fast lane in due course if a suitable opportunity rears its head. Watch this space.

Efforts from City firms to help ease the suffering of the people of Haiti in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake continue apace.

Deutsche Bank raised $4m (£2.5m) for charities on the island recently as its US equity trading team donated 100 per cent of a day’s commissions to the cause.

And potential clients should flock in their droves to electronic bond trading firm MarketAxess today as it holds a charity trading day in aid of the relief effort, donating half of its transaction revenues to the American Red Cross.

To all those who’ve been burned by riskier assets in the past, here comes another lesson on the joys of investing in fine wines. New data from vino investors The Fine Wine Fund shows the fund rose a respectable eight per cent over the year – and that though December was a quieter month as people chose to buy into Christmas presents instead of investments, trading in early January has already shown a marked improvement.

Quite apart from all that low-risk baloney, of course, the wine showing consistently the best returns over the past few years was the rather fine Chateau Lafite – and if it does eventually go into decline, at least you can commiserate in style by drinking the stuff.

Another week, another awards ceremony dubbing itself the “Oscars” of its particular sector – though this time, at least there’s a socially responsible element to the whole affair. The City of London Corporation has announced the shortlist for its Sustainable City Awards, which recognise businesses for their environmentally-friendly policies. The ceremony is on 18 February, but The Capitalist reckons a pat on the back is due to the likes of Société Générale, Aviva, Daiwa, Deutsche Bank and Eversheds, who’ve impressed with their green agendas even in a tough year.