City DiaryNewSmith founders Michael Marks and Stephen Zimmerman had put in a full morning’s work hedging funds in their Berkeley Square base.
But disaster struck on the way out to a well-earned Mayfair lunch when the pair got trapped in the office lift for more than an hour.
To the great amusement of their hedge fund colleagues, Diary hears it was a case of “I’m a former Merrill Lynch celebrity, get me out of here!” as the pair blustered away to security through the intercom about taking legal action and not paying the rent.
Not even the life-sustaining water passed through a chink in the lift door could cool down the hot-headed partners, as the five other trapped members of The Lansdowne House Seven remained calm.
“Don’t panic in difficult markets,” came the elevator pitch of one witness.
Some number-crunching from the legal world.
The figure cited by HMRC as the recovery target for its crackdown on tax-avoiding City lawyers: £19.5m. The value of pro bono work by the top 20 UK law firms in 2011: £456m.
Says Guy Adams of legal recruiter Laurence Simons. “A large number of City lawyers give their time and expertise to charitable causes, and this greatly outweighs a relative few bad eggs.”
Such as the 52pc of private practice lawyers – average salary £124,000 – who have taken on no pro bono cases at all this year.
BG Group seeks good advice
End of an era at BG Group, after the FTSE 100 firm spooked the market on Hallowe’en with a profit warning that sent its shares crashing 20pc.
Diary hears the energy group is looking to part ways with its external PR adviser Maitland, following the fumbled handling of the Q3 results.
Time for City spinners up for the challenge of managing the takeover talk surrounding the business, next year’s exit of chief executive Sir Frank Chapman and the ongoing freefall of the BG Group share price to dust down their CVs.
Clueless in the crisis
Proof that those in charge of the UK’s major banks were out of their depth in the run-up to the financial crisis has come from former chancellor Alistair Darling.
As the Treasury’s duty minister when Lehman Brothers imploded in 2008, Darling was paid a visit by the head of a bank that was later bailed out by the taxpayer.
“The chief executive of this bank said, ‘As a board, we have decided that from now on, we are only going to take risks on things we understand’,” Darling told diners at the British Property Federation dinner.
He kept guests guessing, however, as to whether his City caller was the then-boss of RBS, HBOS or Lloyds.
Rupert Murdoch’s stocking filler
What to give the News Corp chairman who has everything (except Penguin and 61pc of BSkyB)?
How about the Financial Times Essential Guide to Negotiations by Geof Cox as a gift for Rupert Murdoch this Christmas?
For just £14.99, or the price of two shares in BSkyB, the book promises to help the hacking-hit newspaper proprietor with key areas such as negotiating “remotely” by email or phone.
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