REFORM IS THE STORY OF BANKING BESTSELLER

EVER WONDERED how former BP and Lehman Brothers spinner Andrew Gowers ended up as a strategic consultant to the Association for Financial Markets in Europe?

The appointment of the one-time FT editor last November was a “seamless transition”, says AFME’s CEO Simon Lewis, from Gowers editing the body’s collection of essays on reforming Europe’s financial markets, as published yesterday.

The book contains some salient suggestions from AFME’s independent contributors, who were set the exam question: “How much has the capital markets industry changed and how much further does it need to go?”

Given the current headlines, The Capitalist skipped straight to the section on “the impact of regulation on remuneration”, where PwC reward expert Tom Gosling argues “it’s not all about the pay”. “Changes to compensation are important,” he writes. “But for the outcome to be successful, compensation changes must be viewed in the context of a firm’s wider enterprise risk-management approach.”

Food for thought for the investment bankers invited to last night’s launch at the Royal College of Surgeons – Michael Cole-Fontayn of Bank of New York Mellon, Jose-Luis Guerrero of HSBC and Costas Michaelides of Credit Suisse all left clutching a free copy.

BIRLEY BLACKOUT
THE CLOCK is ticking for Robin Birley if his £20m townhouse on Hertford Street is to open by Easter (The Capitalist 18 January). And matters won’t have been helped by the dramatic power outage in Mayfair yesterday afternoon, which forced Birley’s contractors Laing O’Rourke to down tools early.

The Shepherd Market blackout also interrupted the work of one “livid” finance boss on Trebeck Street, and the “lunch” of the hedge funders dining in the packed restaurant Sofra.

It should be noted, at this point, that the lights went out at 4.05pm.

LAUGHING MATTER
EVERYONE in the City could do with some humour, says Maria Kempinska, the owner of the Jongleurs comedy chain, who has strategically located her first Square Mile venue around the corner from Goldman Sachs on Bride Lane.

She should know – this is the businesswoman who started her company in 1983 with a £300 overdraft “and a bicycle as collateral”, only to see its owner Regent Inns, which bought Jongleurs in 2000, collapse into pre-pack administration in 2009.

Kempinska retained the intellectual property, however, and has rebuilt the chain into a £1.8m turnover business, as of the year to October 2011, with ambitions to expand beyond its 11 venues into media, management and more clubs.

“We are always looking for investment,” says Kempinska, as she beds in on Goldman’s doorstep.

GOING FOR A SONG
TOM CROSS BROWN is “very excited”. Why? Because Stowe Opera, as supported by the former Lazard and ABN Amro banker, is moving for its annual festival this July to Buckinghamshire’s Winslow Hall, the Grade 1-listed mansion designed by Sir Christopher Wren (above).

The performance is by invitation of restaurateur Chris Gilmour, who saw off reported competition from Tony and Cherie Blair to buy the estate in 2007.

This year’s opera will be The Marriage of Figaro, and bankers on Cross Brown’s circular have been offered a £5 discount if they book before the end of February. Every little helps.

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