Friday, 28 June 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Hold the front page chaps, Osborne’s eating a burger!

This week George Osborne ate a burger. He decided to tweet this fact with a photograph, presumably to portray himself as a ‘man of the people’. However Twitter did what Twitter does best and after a few minutes of crowd-sourced research, said burger had been identified not as some burger the common man might eat but an expensive one bought from posh burger chain Byron. Yes, we now have ‘burgergate’ and it made the front page of The Sun.

Apart from giving Byron Burger some excellent free publicity - so much so that their website went down under the pressure, it also meant that George Osborne, rather than talking about his latest spending review, had to spend the majority of interviews talking about the incident. Maybe this whole event was concocted by Osborne to side step from the issue of £11.5bn more cuts?

The antics of Tory MPs on Twitter didn’t end at burger photos. Osborne, in his speech joked that overweight Cabinet Minister Eric Pickles was “the model of lean government”. This prompted Pickles to poke fun at Osborne by tweeting a similar picture of himself eating a salad. Osborne replied, “Nice one Eric”. Oh, those MPs do have a lot of fun.

Abchaps were busy this week hosting a cred swap with Deloitte; and attending some great events including CIPR Summer Party hosted by Olswang, LSE Summer Advisor drinks, The Summer Shell Seminar, a day in the open air for the Ramster Charity Clay Day and the M&A Awards dinner where our client Camkids was nominated for AIM IPO of the Year. The creative team also attended Marketing Week Live, where we were treated to some insightful videos and presentations by Barclays that only their employees are allowed to see.

Law firm Pinsent Masons has hired David Doogan as Head of Banking in its Birmingham office, who joins from SGH Martineau. Lyceum Capital, the Private Equity firm, expanded its investment team by hiring Matthew Norrington (Investment Director) and Thomas Alldred (Investment Executive), while Gordon Warnke joined Linklaters as Global Head of Tax.

Pepperazzi - A foodie who obsessively insists on snapping photos of everything they eat and of every other dish at the table, to then share on Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites. Pepperazzos - please refrain from taking advantage of Instagram's new video function!

The City of London Festival arrived in our backyard this week. It offers a summer programme of music, visual arts, film, walks and talks. Starting the 23rd June it ends 26th July. Location - St Paul’s.

 Lowryand the Painting of Modern Life’ exhibition opened at the Tate Britain on Wednesday. It's the first of its kind to be held by a public institution in London since the artist’s death. It focuses on the best of Lowry’s urban scenes and industrial landscapes.

Masterpiece London Fair at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea opened yesterday and ends 3rd July. It brings together collectors, exhibitors and curators from around the world for an unparalleled show of fine art, antiques and design.

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Friday, 14 June 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Hester la vista

The big news to hit the City this week was the surprise announcement that Stephen Hester was stepping down as CEO of RBS. Tasked with turning the bank around, restoring it to profitability and overseeing its privatisation, his sudden announcement sent shares in the bank plummeting by 8%, wiping billions off its value. Although it partially recovered during the day, the fall out led to other banking shares tumbling as well; Lloyds dropped by 0.9 per cent, Barclays by 2.2 per cent and Aberdeen Asset Management by 4.3 per cent.

There has been anger from the City in response to George Osborne’s handling of RBSgate, with fury at the fact Hester was basically booted out by the Chancellor. It is clear that the two held divergent positions over the restructuring of the bank and also about the scale and pace of change. For all Osborne’s talk about entering the next phase of the RBS story, the message is the same. The government’s long held position was to refocus the bank towards consumer and business lending and cut down its investment banking operations. As Lord Lawson, former Tory Chancellor said “Essentially RBS is a retail bank dealing with SMEs and he [Hester] is an investment banker.”

Alongside the announcements of thousands of job cuts at RBS, some of which will be in the City, his £1.6 million pay out plus deferred share awards of up to £4 million and further privatisation announcements expected next week, the outrage from the City is set to continue.

This week Abchaps attended the Industry Lab on Healthcare at Bloomberg and a CIPR speakers lunch with John Hughman, editor of Investor’s Chronicle. We celebrated our Creative Director Boydie’s birthday in the Sky Bar. On Friday we hosted Versarien in our offices alongside Mark Russon of the London Stock Exchange, to congratulate them on their first day of dealings on AIM. 

The big City mover this week is undoubtedly the resignation of RBS Chief Stephen Hester. The chief executive of five years is to stand down at the end of the year as the UK government starts the transition to sell its 82% stake and return the bank to private ownership.

Paul Tucker is to leave his job as one of the Bank of England’s deputy governors. Mr Tucker is to leave in August, ahead of the end of his term, and plans to spend a period of time in academia in the US.

Amongst the City’s law firms, Fox Williams has appointed Helen Farr as a partner within its employment team and Lewis Silkin welcomes Adam Glass from Davenport Lyons as a partner in its media, brands and technology team.

Small Cap broker Westhouse Securities appointed a new finance director. Andrew Proctor leaves N+1 Singer to join the small cap institutional broking house.

Celebrate World Gin Day at Gin Stock 2013. For £36 a ticket, guest of the festival will be treated to some of London’s best bars, bartenders, live music and street food all day from midday to midnight and at the home of Street Feast London, Kingsland Road.!saturday-events/cp6w

For all you British Patriots, head down to Whitehall this Saturday for the annual Trooping of the Colour and celebrate the Sovereign’s official birthday. Events begin at 10am with the fly-past at 1pm.

London’s Southbank plays host to Yoko Ono’s Meltdown. From Friday 14 – Sunday 23 June, Yoko is curating a series of events and unique collaborations. There will be performances from Siouxsie, Iggy & The Stooges and talks and debates from the Guerilla Girls and Hans-Ulrich Obtrist

Head down to the Oxo Tower for renowned photographer, Roger Hooper’s exhibition in aid of WWF. Roger has captured animal images from across seven continents.

Say a prayer for the City’s new Wing

Whilst we City folk pray that the current deal-boom continues, a call is out for a ceremony to mark arrival of the City’s latest artwork. 
City bouyant on a wing and a prayer
It arrived with stealth, a giant diurnal bird of prey that embedded itself this week in the pavement outside our offices at 125 Old Broad Street, only its right wing showing above ground. 

Christopher Le Brun’s “City Wing” (pictured, right) stands around eight metres tall and sets the newly re-glazed office off very well.  It seems a shame not to allude to diurnal or raptors in the title if that’s where the concept came from - it marks the former site of the London Stock Exchange which is, of course, active in daylight hours and is at the top of the City food chain. 

But within sight of Brasserie Blanc, La Bourse and L’Entrecรดte, will the Wing provide too much temptation to a budding climber?  Unlike Le Brun’s Wing Column monument to Victor Hugo in St Helier, the City Wing could offer three grades of climb to the light-headed, a challenging South face, a slightly easier Northern aspect with ledges and toeholds, and to the West, a 17-step stairway to heaven, which is where the hapless might well end up. 

Anyway, given Le Brun’s brilliantly creative and fantastic work - he was elected President of the Royal Academy in 2011 - and the effort that went into installing it, surely it deserves a proper blessing after four years in the making, as do those that will no doubt fall from it.  A City chaplain, a prayer book and a wing all in the same frame will also keep the City diarists and sub-editors busy! 

We won’t however be using it much for photo shoots - too easy for clever Charlies to make puns about our prized IPO clients winging it on to the Exchange...!

Julian Bosdet

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Friday, 7 June 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: PRISM, The Information Showdown

Yesterday The Washington Post reported that Google, Apple, Facebook, Dropbox, AOL and Yahoo have been participating in the so-called ‘PRISM’ program which has provided the US Government’s National Security Agency with direct access to user’s data stored by these companies. And today, the Guardian reports that the UK Government’s NSA equivalent, GCHQ has also had access to the system since at least June 2010.

However this is all very confusing because the big Internet services deny having anything to do with PRISM, with some claiming to have never heard of it. Disgruntled spy leaking false documents or Corporate/ Government conspiracy of the century? We’re not sure yet, but Anonymous, the Internet activists, have just released the leaked documents for your viewing pleasure. News stories like this really show the power of the internet in terms of information spreading quickly but also the potential privacy issues on people if this story turns out to be true. It would be surprising if a company like Google is involved in the way that is alleged because of the huge reputational damage that it would have on the company. Their motto is “don’t be evil” after all. But perhaps their motto is wrong are they are just plain evil. Stay tuned.

This week Abchaps attended the Grant Thornton China event, the London Cleantech Cluster, a One Nucleus event, and The Social Stock Exchange's reception. We also had a team BBQ to celebrate the fourth start of Summer - hopefully it sticks around this time. And right now some of the team are down in Wiltshire on a Clay Shoot – lucky for some!

Investment management firm Brewin Dolphin has announced the appointment of David Howard as chief administration officer. Howard joins from Williams de Broe. Law firm Pinsent Masons has appointed Robbie Owen as a partner to head its infrastructure planning and government affairs division. He joins from Bircham Dyson Bell, where he was head of major projects. Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management has appointed Chris Colclough as head of portfolio management, previously senior investment manager at the firm. Investment managers Artemis has appointed Richard Pursglove as head of retail.

'Dash To Trash' - When investors flock to a class of securities or other assets, bidding up prices to beyond what can be justified by valuation or other fundamental measures.

There will be a lot of bare flesh this weekend in London Town and not just because of the heat wave, but because the London Naked Bike Ride will be in full swing tomorrow.

London Zoo Lates starts this Friday and every Friday until the 26th July.

The Rooftop Film Club in Peckham Rye is showing some absolute classics every night for the rest of June. Settle down to a great movie with equally great views of London.

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