T H E VO I C E O F T H E C I T Y
£3.25 ISSUE 63
MAKING CASH FROM THE CRASH
HOW HOLLYWOOD IS MAKING A KILLING FROM THE CRISIS
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T h e vo i c e o f T h e c i T y
Mark Hedley ART DIRECTOR
Matthew Lewis-Hasteley CITY EDITOR
Jon Hawkins SUB EDITOR
Brendan Fitzgerald SENIOR DESIGNER
Lucy Phillips EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Matt Huckle CONTRIBUTORS
‘trader jokes’ from the annals. Falling firmly into the ‘oldie but goodie’ category was this one: Q: How many brokers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Two. One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell it before it crashes
A British journalist who left London for Santa Monica in late 2001, Jeremy Kay is US editor of the film trade publication Screen International. He has written for the Guardian and theTelegraph, as well as reporting for Time Out and the Independent on Sunday. [p36]
I imagine it would have Alessio Rastani – the BBC News interviewee who “goes to bed every night dreaming of another recession” – in stitches. Now, there’s a man who hasn’t done
Jamel Akib, James Gurney, Jeremy Kay, Angela Knight, Richard Mackney, Amber Marks, Paul Milican, Chris Ratcliffe, Chris Robinson, Jancis Robinson, David Rothnie, Katerina Varnavides
the reputation of bankers many favours.
Mayor’s Fund for London – to help the banking community
As we know, not all bankers are self-serving, cold-hearted, money-making machines. (Right guys?... Help me out here!) That’s why we have teamed up as official partners of The
CHRIS ROBINSON Appointed chief executive of The Mayor’s Fund for London in October 2008, Chris Robinson has been running charities in the UK for ten years, most recently International Sport for Development, Right To Play, and children’s hospice, Chase. [p54]
give something back to the city it calls home. As Boris Johnson, patron of the fund, explains on p54, the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Martin Deeson HEAD OF DIGITAL
Mike Gluckman COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR
Lauren Neale HEAD OF MARKETING & PR
Loren Penney MARKETING & EVENTS
capital needs your help. Almost 40% of London’s children live in poverty. That is a harrowing statistic – especially considering many of those children live right on the fringes of the Square Mile. So, what can you do to help these kids? Well, if you’re planning on running a marathon or climbing Everest, then get sponsored for The Mayor’s Fund (btplc.com/
Danielle Kent, Sameeha Choudhury
mydonate) – and let us know, because we can feature you in the
DRINKS & VENUES
magazine. Or, if that sounds like too much trouble, why not
enjoy a three-course feast, the company of BoJo, and a preview
Michael Berrett, Nicholas Gray, Sophie Green, Will Preston, Simon Orchard, Will Taylor ACCOUNTS
Steve Cole, Laura Otabor
of The Nutcracker? Tickets for the annual square mile Masked Ball on 25 November may cost £500 a pop but all the profits are going to the Fund. For tickets go to squaremile.com.
DAVE ROTHNIE A freelance financial journalist, David Rothnie writes a weekly column on investment banking for Euroweek and is a regular contributor to a range of specialist titles. He also writes plays and sitcoms – his play Times Like These will be out later in the year. [p46] CHRIS RATCLIFFE Starting his career shooting for AFP and national newspapers, award-winning photographer Chris Ratcliffe joined Bloomberg News as its London-based contract photographer covering breaking business stories from inside large multinational companies. [p40]
Tom Kelly OBE
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Mark Hedley, Editor email@example.com square mile supports The Mayor’s Fund for London. Please give generously.
◀ This issue’s front cover is an hommage to Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal classic – vertigo sufferers not being the only ones who have suffered dizzying falls of late. The original artwork was by graphic design master Saul Bass.
© Square Up Media Limited 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Square Up Media cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Square Up Media a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Square Up Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Square Up Media endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.
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COVER FEATURE 30
PORTFOLIO 14 . THE EXCHANGE 18 . ART WORK 20 . NOTICEBOARD 22 . CITY TRUMPS 24 . THE ANALYST 26 . MOVEMBER ASSETS 73 . TAG HEUER 74 . MONTBLANC 76 . BUY!BUY!BUY! 82 . ASTON MARTIN 85 . REVIEWS: RAMSAY 89 . JANCIS ROBINSON 93 . TRAVEL PROPERTY 115 . LONDON LIFE 10 SQUAREMILE
30 HOLLYWOOD: LIKE THE CITY, BUT SEXY COVER FEATURE Until 2008, finance films were few and far between. But now Hollywood has cottoned on there’s plenty of cash to be made from making bankers beautiful.
36 TIGHT MARGINS
JC Chandor’s debut film Margin Call, about Lehman’s collapse, almost didn’t happen – because of financial difficulties, ironically.
40 PICTURE THIS
Bloomberg snapper Chris Ratcliffe has won this year’s best business photographer – here he explains the secrets to his success.
46 BRAVE NEW CITY
In the wake of the uninspiring Vickers’ report, Euroweek’s Dave Rothnie asks what would it really take to reform the City?
54 THE MAYOR’S FUND FOR LONDON
Chris Robinson and Boris Johnson explain how you can help our new charity partner, the Mayor’s Fund
57 MY WORLD: LOUIS ROEDERER CEO
Jon Hawkins meets the man behind the bubbles
61 ETHICAL CURRENCY
Benevolent banker Alastair Constance knows his beer; he knows a bit about foreign exchange too
62 WHITE KNIGHT
The CEO of the BBA on the future of the eurozone 65
HAWKEYE How the City is funding the Conservative party
66 ESCAPE ARTIST
On dropping corporate finance for leasing dresses
We meet the charismatic Maryam Nemazee, the anchor of morning Bloomberg TV show The Pulse
The King Power UNICO is the first column-wheel chronograph produced entirely in-house by Hublot.
For a list of Hublot stockists in the UK, please telephone 0207 343 7200 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Hublot TV on: www.hublot.com
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Where the City spends its money well
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POR TFO LIO
‘HypotHesis Vi – the three Graces’ by Gérard Rancinan from the opera Gallery; operagallery.com
CITY TRUMPS: BOATING
ASSETS BUBBLE Gérard Rancinan’s photography has graced the walls of every gallery from the Louvre to Mayfair’s Opera Gallery and won him four World Press Awards. This image gives you three reasons why...
The CIT Y Inde x SWINGING DICK? OR JUST A DICK HEAD? THE CITY’S WINNERS & LOSERS
aFTer The CITY Words
#37 AFTer-dInner sPeAKer
England’s miserable rugby world cup defeat to France now feels like ancient history, so much so that it actually seems as though 2003’s victory against Australia happened more recently than that 12-19 embarrassment we’ll never speak of again. One man who probably remembers the 2003 final better than most is Josh Lewsey, because he was in it. But now he’ll be playing on a different field altogether as he joins Citi as an equities trader. He’ll get used to the scrum of the floor pretty fast we imagine, and he’ll have no trouble tackling tricky markets heading for breakdown.
▲ city SartOria The search is on again for the City’s best dressed banker. “Bankers might feel recession-worn, but they certainly aren’t threadbare,” said James Sleater of tailors Cad & the Dandy, who have launched the hunt. Competition looks fierce, and the winner stands to win a bespoke suit worth £1,500. Rumours Bob Diamond, who came 6th last year, has been turning up in a gold lamé disco suit to clinch victory this year are unfounded. Or maybe that’s just dress-down Fridays at Barclays.
▲ the Old dayS “It just forces you to actually call your assistant. It’s like the old days, when you had to talk to people,” said one investment banker of the server issues that plagued BlackBerrys throughout mid-October. A little less conversation, a little more action? Apparently not – we all just used iPhones instead.
▲ aStOn martin For the second year running, the marque has been named the coolest brand in the UK. Trailing Aston Martin were Apple, Harley-Davidson, Rolex, Bang & Olufsen and, er, BlackBerry in 5th. How things change. Less CrackBerry, more CackBerry...
▲ bp The US has allowed BP to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico, angering environmentalists. Lighten-up guys! Never heard the expression ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’?
SQUarEMILE’S ‘Miles’ by Jamel akib
▽ Been there done that got the Ferrari the house in the country the alimony bill and 1,000 tales of insider trading bad behaviour and general debauchery… [pause for breath]. No point keeping it all in, I say. Maybe it’s time you took your story on the road. After-dinner speaking is pretty straightforward: you have dinner then afterwards you speak, ideally loudly enough so everyone can hear. And that’s about it. It’s a great way to make easy money, especially if you’ve retired from the game but your more recent efforts at playing the market have gone awry. Here are a few tips to ensure success. Start with a joke: everyone loves a giggle, especially drunken twats on a jolly. Selfdepreciate: remember, no one likes a bighead. Also, try and make your stories dead dirty. Crank up the filth. People devour tales of sex, drugs and sausage rolls. This is all dandy if you’re a consummate performer – but what if the cat nabs your tongue each time you open your trap? Such a situation calls for one of two solutions: practice and/or alcohol. Though the latter may offer a short-term remedy, the former will stand you in solid stead for the duration of what promises to be an exciting and lucrative second career. Stand in front of the mirror and enunciate. That helps. As does imagining everyone else is naked. This will make you feel less vulnerable and more confident. Just don’t allow yourself to become visibly engorged. That would be bad. All that’s left is to get signed up to a top speaker agency and get honing those anecdotes. Just don’t ask me for any good jokes. I’ve used up all my best ones up writing for this magazine. ■ saulwordsworth.com
ThIngs To do
▲ jOSh leWSey
Wall St had already been under siege, and as the global demonstrations against greed gathered momentum it was inevitable the protestors would take to the streets of Square Mile in protest. And they did. On a Saturday. When no one’s there. The very definition of an empty threat.
▼ rbS chriStmaS partieS “End-of-year party subsidisation to cease,” RBS told its investment bank employees in a doomladen e-mail. We don’t know about end-of-year parties, but there might be a few end-of-the-world bashes going on after that news.
▼ SOciété générale As Jerome Kerviel’s €4bn fraud was uncovered, the French bank failed to tell shareholders of an alleged CHF182m fraud, says the Telegraph. Presumably they hid it in the Soc drawer...
It is time for the financial sector to make a contribution back to society
▼ Occupy the city
As 2012 fever pitch rises, so too do the expectations of your clients, who are desperately hoping you’ll be able to make up for their having failed to snaffle any tickets by wining, dining and, er, athleticking them at the Olympics. But if you’d thought of raising the bar a notch by running naked across the stadium with their company name daubed across your chest, think again. The Olympic fun police will slap ‘advertising’ streakers with a £20k fine. A hammer blow for naked ambition.
▼ Olympic Streaking
We’ve already given the portly Galleon Group founder much more space on these pages than he’d get in a budget airline seat, but it seems only fitting that – as he prepares to start an 11-year sentence for insider trading – he’s back in them again. The (relatively) good news for Rajaratnam is that he may join Bernie Madoff and terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman in a North Carolina prison a US expert refers to as “the crown jewel of the federal prison system”. In the same way Peter Andre: Going it Alone is the crown jewel of the British TV programming industry, presumably...
▼ raj rajaratnam
EC President Jose Barroso on a proposed EU financial transaction tax with the aim of raising £48bn every year
Want to nominate someone? Work with a legend? Or a turkey? Contact us with your City Winners & Losers: email@example.com
Cr Ch bunCh
When mOney driveS yOu rOund the bend Words
#27 BUGATTI L’Or BLAnc, £1.5m ▽ So, you already own the fastest convertible car in the world. But what can you do to really make it stand out? I know! Forget carbon fibre or rare metal alloys... Whack a load of porcelain on it: that should do the trick. This one-off special of the Bugatti Grand Sport is called the L’Or Blanc (‘white gold’) which makes very little sense given there’s not an inch of white gold on it. There is, however, plenty of porcelain courtesy of Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM), an historic Berlin porcelain company with a name almost as elaborate as the Bug’s threeweek long hand-coated paint job. So, which bits are actually made from porcelain? Well, the wheel centres, fuel and oil filler caps, rear ‘EB’ badge, centre console surround and rear interior centre trim, for starters. There’s even a dish in the centre console that can be used as a caviar tray. Clearly aimed at the Chelsea owner rather than Chelsea player end of the market, then. Rumours that Lamborghini are soon to follow suit bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘a bull in a china shop’. ■ bugatti.com
r★o★g★u★e Traders banking ain’t What it uSed tO be... Words
#12 TOshIhIde IGUchI Of all the people who’ve made it into square mile’s rogue trader volumes many appear to be pretty heartless. this month, we meet a man who bucks that trend: a rogue trader with a conscience...
P o r
BonuS B u Ster riva iSeO FrOm €280,000
Fresh from a glittering launch at September’s Cannes Boat Show, the Riva Iseo is the latest must-have harbour hopper from the world’s oldest boat yard. Despite this ancient heritage and classic craftsmanship, the Iseo is the most modern boat Riva has ever created – even offering the option of a hybrid engine version with a Zero Emission Mode cruising option, particularly useful for lakes or where normal speed boating is forbidden. It’s also the first yacht of its kind to be equipped with both infotainment and GPS charts built for the Apple iPad platform. This software has been specifically designed for Riva Iseo and features a number
l i o Words
of applications for browsing, including the owner’s manual, viewing the weather forecast, listening to live stream radio and customised iTunes playlists. Now it’s up to you to pick the music. (Waterboys, anyone?) Regardless of all this techno-wizardry, the hallmarks of Riva haven’t been forgotten: the extensive use of carefully crafted mahogany throughout is still skillfully finished with a 20-coat varnish: ten are applied by brushing, ten by spraying. And if you’re in the wrong bit of water? There’s now a custom-made car-trailer which allows easy transportation of the yacht, wherever the wind – or rather the road – takes you. ■ rivauk.co.uk
Cartoon by Modern toss, moderntoss.com
t f o
▽ Born in 1951, Toshihide Iguchi came to America when he was 19 to study psychology. After graduating, he began to work with the Japanese Daiwa Bank in its office in New York where he quickly excelled. By 1980 he had impressed his bosses enough to be promoted to the role of portfolio manager. However, things quickly went pear-shaped when, in 1983, he lost $70,000 through his trades. Fearing a dent to his reputation – and his pay packet – he covered up the losses and attempted to trade his way back out. Unfortunately, the situation spiralled out of control and for the next 11 years he made no less than 30,000 unauthorised US treasury bond trades, incurring losses of $1.1bn. Somewhere down the line it occurred to Iguchi that someone might find out about all this ‘creative’ management. In 1995, knowing discovery was at some point inevitable, he wrote a 30-page confession letter to the president of the bank confessing his crimes, citing his desire to protect his and the bank’s reputation as the reason for his behaviour. Of course, his actions had the complete opposite effect and after Daiwa initially tried to cover up the losses the scandal went public. The reputation of Daiwa Bank was severely damaged and Iguchi had to spend time in prison and was fined heavily. Still, it’s the thought that counts, right? While in prison Iguchi made some unlikely friends including George Harp, one of the founding members of the prison gang Aryan Brotherhood. He also wrote a memoir of his life in the US that became a number one bestseller in Japan. Proving that if you want critical success, crime does pay. ■
artwork GÉRARD RANCINAN WORDS
Gérard Rancinan learnt his trade photographing natural catastrophes, civil and ethnic wars, and urban riots. But it’s his epic photographic artworks that have earned him his considerable reputation – exhibiting everywhere from Mayfair’s Opera Gallery to the Louvre.
At first glance you could quite easily mistake one of Rancinan’s photographs for a Renaissance oil painting by one of the Italian masters, not out of place in the National Gallery: a large number of people all striking, well, strikingly striking poses, surrounded by a plethora of symbolic objects and wearing minimal clothing. But then, just as you’re about to walk away to grab an over-priced smoked salmon bagel from the gallery canteen, something catches your eye. One guy’s wearing a Prada T-shirt; some girl’s got a D&G belt; and is that a Shell barrel the big guy is sitting on? Metamorphosis I: The Raft of Illusions is a commentary on the state of humanity, and it doesn’t take Brian Sewell to work out it ain’t exactly a pat on the back. Jean-David Malat, art critic and director of the Opera Gallery, summarises Rancinan’s appeal: “He is truly one of the best photographers of our generation. He is a monster of energy, always looking for the next crazy project and I feel Rancinan will become a staple in the history of art photography for generations to come.” ■ Prints are available from £30,000-£100,000 at Opera Gallery London, 134 New Bond St, W1S 2TF; 0207 491 2999; operagallery.com
THE BLOOMBERG SQUARE MILE RELAY Last month, more than 100 teams – including one from this magazine – fought it out over a specially designed relay course in the heart of the City. This year’s winners were Macquarie Bank, just beating last year’s winners Barclays Capital by 12 seconds.
PHOTOGRAPHS by John Marsh/Action Images
45 PARK LANE THE HOTEL FEATURING
CUT BY WOLFGANG PUCK
ROUND-THE-WORLD CLIPPER ▽ Top Trumps (but for the City)
HOIST THE BANKER!
– When it comes to boats, are you a water baby or a cry baby? By Jon Hawkins
LIQUID ASSETS Like rock-climbing and
Wales, sailing is one of those things that looks more attractive in the pictures than is actually the case. The reality of controlling 100ft of fibreglass, wood, cloth and rope in gale-force winds and 20ft waves is sadly a world away from a flat, sparkling ocean with dolphins surfing the bow wave. On the plus side, it will all be over mercifully quickly when you sail into the side of an oil tanker.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ AFFORDABILITY
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ SEX APPEAL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ MARINA KUDOS
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ square mile SAYS... WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA
ILLUSTRATION by Mark Oliver
CITY TRUMPS 22 SQUAREMILE
THE DINGHY LIQUID ASSETS Some might say the sail-
ing dinghy is the poor man’s yacht, or a toy for someone lacking the balls to sail a proper boat. But you know better, don’t you? You know the diminutive dinghy is the purest, toughest and fastest vessel on the seas, like an ocean-going Caterham or an aquatic Ducati Monster. You know this, until you’re overtaken by a plank of rotting wood, an oil drum and a dead seagull.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ AFFORDABILITY
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ SEX APPEAL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ MARINA KUDOS
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ square mile SAYS... WATER LOAD OF RUBBISH...
THE MEGAYACHT LIQUID ASSETS There’s something
about becoming a billionaire, apparently, that means you suddenly feel the need to lavish millions on a vast, floating monument to your ego. The net result being that the world’s wealthiest men have entered themselves into a boat-shaped arms race, building bigger and bigger yachts to outdo each other. Well you would, wouldn’t you?
THE SPEEDBOAT LIQUID ASSETS It’s a common mis-
conception that every new speedboat comes equipped with its very own honey-skinned lingerie model, ready to laze around in a bikini on deck. Remarkably you have to find your own; easy when your boat’s a wood-panelled vintage Riva, less so when it’s a dirty-white ten-footer called Wet Dream, moored off the coast of Southend-on-Sea.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ AFFORDABILITY
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ SEX APPEAL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ MARINA KUDOS
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ square mile SAYS... WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ AFFORDABILITY
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ SEX APPEAL
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ MARINA KUDOS
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ square mile SAYS... VIVA LA RIVA!
▽ This month...
WHISKY BAR – By Matt Huckle
ANALYST 24 SQUAREMILE
I'm going to be honest with you; I pretend to use ‘the force’ when I approach automatic doors. I'm sure there are legions of others who do the same as me but for those of you who aren't convinced let me present to you the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Private Bar as a way to change your mind. The bar uses state of the art motion sensors designed by Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau to activate its opening sequence – simply wave your hand across the sensor to see the top of the bar rotate 180º revealing bottles of Johnnie Walker, crystal glasses, and ice. Made to order by Porsche Design Studio using brushed titanium and leather the private bar slickly combines modern design with the heritage of Johnnie Walker. Weighing an impressive 450kg and standing at 220cm tall this is a bold way to serve your whisky. The bottles themselves are presented on a surface angled to 24º – the same as the bottle’s label – and are backlit to make the most of the distinct blue colour of the glass. And if you're still not convinced about using the force to open doors? Well, have a couple of glasses of Blue Label, that should make you much more open to the idea. ■ Available exclusively from Harrods. Price available on request.
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2012 RANGE ROVER Representative 0% APR Land Rover Freedom ﬁnance promotion applies to new Range Rover models ﬁrst registered in the customer’s name between 1st October and 31st December 2011. Promotions are not available for used cars. Finance subject to status. Guarantees may be required. With Land Rover Freedom you have the option to return the vehicle and not pay the ﬁnal payment, subject to the vehicle not having exceeded an agreed annual mileage (a charge of 12p per mile for exceeding 10,000 miles per annum in this example) and being in good condition. Details correct at time of going to press and are subject to change without notice. Land Rover Finance, PO BOX 108, Leeds LS27 0WU. We work with a number of creditors to provide ﬁnance to our customers, including Land Rover Finance. Vehicle shown is 12 Model Year Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Vogue priced at £69,485.
OFFICIAL FUEL CONSUMPTION FIGURES FOR THE 2012 RANGE ROVER RANGE IN MPG (L/100KM): URBAN 12.5 (22.6) – 24.6 (11.5) EXTRA URBAN 27.2 (10.4) – 34.5 (8.2) COMBINED 19.0 (14.9) – 30.1 (9.4) CO2 EMISSIONS: 348 – 253 G/KM.
▽ This month...
– By Mark Hedley
Cancer. All you need to do is choose your style and then survive one full month of snide comments, odd looks and abuse from colleagues. No change there, then.Once you’ve grown your mo, send
in a photo to matthew@ squaremile.com and you’ll make it onto our gallery on squaremile.com/movember. Go forth and grow! ■ For more info on how to get involved go to uk.movember.com
ILLUSTRATION by Ben Tallon
MOVEMBER 26 SQUAREMILE
Raising £106m to date, Movember is a global charity encouraging you to grow a moustache throughout the month of November, raising awareness for men’s health issues, particularly Prostate
To encourage aspiring mo bros, Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale has released a new limited edition Movember bottle, complete with mini-mo, to celebrate this spiffing cause. As an official licensed partner of the RAF, Spitfire is also calling for chaps to grow their mo in the proper fashion by keeping in accordance with the Queen’s RAF guidelines: the ‘tache must be kept tidy and “not extend below the wedge of the mouth.” No Fu Manchu for you, then. Go to a participating barber for a ’tache grooming, and you’ll even get a free bottle of Spitfire thrown in. spitﬁreale.co.uk
BusINEss PHOTOGRAPHER TIMEs, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’:
CITY BANKING REFORM 101
ZFE ATU RES
MONEY’s TOO TIGHT TO MENTION JC Chandor’s debut movie Margin Call almost didn’t happen after funding was pulled. Fortunately, the project was saved – and ended up bringing together some of Hollywood’s finest
HOLLYWOOD: MAKING CASH FROM THE CRASH
From golden opportunity to the silver screen, the banking crisis is too good for Hollywood to miss. Makes a change, says MATT HUCKLE 30
LET’S FACE IT, risk management and collateralised debt obligations aren’t cool. In fact, not much of the finance industry is cool. Sure, a job in banking may enable you to drive around in a Porsche but tell anyone you paid for it on the back of your knowledge of the energy derivatives market and they’ll quickly lose interest. For a long time, Hollywood apparently felt the same way – and broadly speaking, I wouldn’t knock them for it. Back to the Future probably wouldn’t be as loved as it is today if it told the story of Marty McFly reconsidering his hedging strategy. And I don’t even want to think about the commercial success of Over the Hedge if it had been about Mayfair fund managers instead of CGI racoons. The only time the finance industry appears on the silver screen is when the focus is on the excesses of banking or a specific scandal, à la Wall Street or Rogue Trader. The problem is, there are only so many times you can play on the heartless trader cliché and Barings can only break once; there just wasn’t enough material. That was, until 2008. The credit crunch thrust the world of banking into the public consciousness and someone, somewhere in Hollywood had dollar signs flash up in their eyes. It’s not just wily hedgies who can make money from a crisis – we’re suddenly being presented with several different films about finance and big-name actors have been queuing up to get involved. For the first time your profession is going to be featured heavily on the big screen. You’ll be joining an elite list of professions which have been romanticised by Hollywood, including astronauts, secret agents, and, er, CGI ▶
The credit crunch thrust the world of banking into the public eye, and suddenly dollar signs started flashing up in Hollywood eyes… SQUAREMILE.COM
‘Incredible: it doesn’t matter who you’re up against, your versatility always rises to the challenge.’
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Last year’s ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ sadly came across as a cynical ploy to cash in on the hugely successful 1980s original... ▶ racoons. Hang on a minute, did banking just become cool? Well, it really depends on how good the films are. Last year’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps sadly came across as a cynical ploy to cash in on the original. The weak script had little insight into the industry, and the actors, particularly everyman Shia LaBeouf, didn’t come across believably. (Its only redeeming feature was Charlie Sheen’s cameo – which was genius in its naffness.) With all the genuinely interesting real-life characters that populate the industry it was clear the only reason Gordon Gekko was used is because he was the most
likely to bring in the big bucks. It may have been a moderate success at the box office, but surely it’s the last time we’ll see this banking lizard on the big screen. An alternative to this approach is to focus on the facts and create a hardhitting documentary. The Academy Award-winning Inside Job went down this route and presented the public with a gripping step-by-step tour of what – and who – really caused the credit crisis. For an audience whose only exposure to the industry is their own bank manager and the occasional ‘lunch is for wimps’ pop culture reference it provides an eyeopening experience. The film is clearly aware of this and plays heavily on the shock value, with a tagline asserting the film ‘cost $20tr to make’ and featuring a politicised Matt Damon as the narrator. Damon is aggressive in his criticism of the Obama administration for hiring so many of the people who had been accused of crippling the industry. Unfortunately, critically-acclaimed documentaries rarely prove a runaway commercial success. The obvious compromise here is to take real life and dramatise it. Rogue Trader was a success
Wait Till It’s Out In The Cinema THEY SHOULD MAKE THAT INTO A FILM A film based on a popular book is always a good idea. The audience know what they’re getting when they buy a ticket and literature nuts love to complain about their favourite scenes being left out of the film. It’s a recipe that worked well for Rogue Trader, and with Martin Scorsese working on The Wolf of Wall St we think Hollywood has dramas covered at the moment. However, perhaps there is room for something with a broader look at the industry. Stepping back to the 1980s, Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker would be great to show how the excess of banking is nothing new. Any excuse to stuff a sound track full of Duran Duran is OK with us. We’d welcome a Bonfire of the Vanities remake too, if only to sort out the cast; Bruce Willis as a trader? Come off it. Nouriel Roubini’s Black Swan would have been great one too – but apparently someone’s already nicked that title...
in the late 1990s with Ewan McGregor playing a banker before it was cool. On the same lines Margin Call is due for release shortly and features a dramatised account of the collapse of the Lehman Bro…er… a fictional bank that definitely isn’t Lehman Brothers. The film has a big name cast with names like Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Demi Moore making an appearance, keen to flex their acting muscles. Whether or not it is a success you’ll at least finally be able to have a nice easy reference to use when people ask you what you do: “I do what Demi Moore does in that Margin Call film. No, that’s not the one where she is a stripper. Oh nevermind.” On second thoughts maybe use Irons as an example instead. Another movie on the horizon is Arbitrage (hint to naming a financial film: use a word picked randomly from the pages of the FT). Only at the early stages of production, it’s probably a little too early to tell if this is going to be one we’ll be proud of. However, while Al Pacino was initially linked to the film he has since been replaced by Richard Gere, and given that director Nicholas Jarecki’s only other claim to fame is writing the script to woeful flick The Informers we don’t have the highest of hopes. The subject of last month’s square mile cover story, Jordan Belfort, aka the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, is also due for the big screen treatment. With Martin Scorsese directing and Leonardo DiCaprio taking the leading role, it certainly has a chance of being a hit given their previous track record of making successful films. In fact when you read Belfort’s story it’s hard to imagine it won’t be a winner – if maybe not something you’ll be waving about as a prime example of your trade. If all these previous films have something in common, it’s their attempt to dwell on the dramatic and often tragic aspects of an industry that ‘rules the world’. While it is true that scandal and drama sell extremely well, comedy arguably sells better. But is it tasteless to profit from laughing at a financial crisis the world is still yet to escape from? Will Ferrell doesn’t seem to think so and is set to star in an upcoming film called Swear to God about a hedge ▶
▶ fund manager who believes he has met the almighty. It might be hard to imagine at the moment but if banking had its own Anchorman, packed with memorable quotes and absurd personalities that gently poke fun, rather than mercilessly criticise, then that may be the best way for Hollywood to make money out of the crash. Hey, it might even paint banking in a sympathetic light. Or is that just a bit too much to ask? ■
YOU’VE GOT THE PART We want to see films about finance do well so we’ve done some of Hollywood’s work for them and picked out the actors who would be best suited to portraying the City’s finest on the big screen. Of course, without stringent interviews to gauge an actor’s suitability we’ve had to go almost entirely (okay, entirely) on what they look like. However, you can be sure we’ve been extremely thorough in our research. Whether it’s Ron Perlman’s large and sturdy head being almost an exact replicas of Hector Sants’ – or Antonio Banderas playing António HortaOsório because they have the same first name and have had careers defined by working with a large black horse, you can be sure we’ve only picked the best. We think that Sir Ian McKellen would make a cracking Mervyn King too. He has the on-screen gravitas already and if he eats a few more pies he’ll have the physical gravity to match it…
It might be a little hard to imagine at the moment, but what if banking had its own ‘Anchorman’?…
HORTA-OSÓRIO – BANDERAS
KING - McKELLEN
SANTS - PERLMAN
PHOTOGRAPHS (King & Horta-Osorio) by Facundo Arrizabalaga, (Perlman) by Peter Brooker, (McKellen) by Carolyn Contino/BEI, (Banderas) by Sipa Press, ALL PHOTOS: Rex Features
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In the forthcoming movie Margin Call, first-time director JC Chandor managed to secure some of Hollywood’s biggest guns to portray the financial crisis in all its, er, glory. World-renowned critic JereMy Kay finds out how…
If you could bottle the testosterone in Margin Call, the suspenseful financial crisis drama by first-time feature film-maker JC Chandor, you’d have a product that would shake the energy drinks market to its core. Sharply dressed bankers prowl their boiler room environments, scowling through meetings and disembowelling each other with looks over the course of 24 nerveshredding hours as an investment bank hurtles towards the abyss. Yet even though machismo rises like steam from a first-class ensemble cast that boasts Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, and Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto – Demi Moore as the sole female executive, for the record, is as tough as they come – the prevailing sense is one of anxiety. Dread drips through the tightly woven script and laps at the shores of every scene as traders, analysts and their bosses hunch over terminals in thrall to a numerical jeremiad that screams of dark days to come. The story behind Margin Call is rooted in fear. That it landed a prestigious world premiere slot at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah back in January 2011 before screening a month later in Berlin and proceeding to entertain audiences ▶
the titans SquareMile.coM
▶ at other international festivals is impressive. It’s a testament not only to the drama’s quality but also to the tenacity of its creator, who at time of writing was counting down the days to the US release through Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate on 21 October with the UK launch – through Stealth Media Group – following early in the new year. But first, let’s revisit the fear. In 2005, Chandor, then a 31-year-old documentary producer and commercials director, was preparing to shoot a self-penned drama that he’d developed over eight years when out of the blue his private backer got the jitters and withdrew. It was six days before the start of filming. “That threw me into a bit of a spot,” says the engagingly understated Chandor, whose lazy charm and singsong cadence belie a hair-raising ride through independent film-making. “I’d taken eight or nine months off to put [the project] together and our child was about to turn one, so I needed to get a job.” Chandor corralled several partners and invested in a piece of commercial real estate in Lower Manhattan in 2006, a time when he says the banks were virtually giving money away. The small consortium sold the property a year later on the advice of a partner’s godfather,
Margin Call plays like a verbal action movie as rapid-fire exchanges ricochet like gunfire and the bank’s bosses try to divest toxic assets... just as the market started to skyrocket. “18 months after we sold, the world started to come apart and I asked myself what was it this guy saw while the rest of New York was paying $2,500 per sq ft,” Chandor says. “At that time, I hadn’t written anything for three years and I was in LA driving around and the allure of the film business started seeping into me and I thought maybe there was one more shot as a writer. I sat down and it came out of me like nothing ever had.” Margin Call, Chandor says, was inspired by a conﬂuence of events and ideas, among them the wise counsel of the godfather; the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the gathering sub-prime mortgage storm; and the film-maker’s memory of living in London as a teen while his father, then a banker with
Merrill Lynch, weathered Black Monday in 1987. Chandor didn’t tell anyone, including his father, he was writing again. There wouldn’t have been much time to do so anyway, because four days later he had his 81-page first draft, a zippy accomplishment made all the more impressive by the fact it subsequently went through very few revisions. “I gave the script to two friends,” Chandor says. “One was the director of photography at Washington Square Films where I’d directed commercials for a few years and the other was Joe Jenckes, who gave it to Neal Dodson, Zachary Quinto’s producing partner at Before The Door Pictures. A few weeks later Zach signed up.” This was Margin Call’s first major coup. Though Star Trek had not yet opened in theatres, Quinto was known for the hit series Heroes and many in Hollywood believed he was about to pop. With the actor-producer on board, the project started to gain traction. Hollywood agency CAA’s film finance department took the script to potential financiers and cast; the game plan was to shoot in summer 2009 and configure the project as a smart $2m ensemble piece. Quinto would play Peter Sullivan, the young analyst who sketches out a hunch by a veteran trader who has been laid off and discovers the bank where he works will implode unless it implements a fire sale of highly volatile, potentially worthless assets. The rest of the cast took shape quickly, because once a movie business titan like CAA gets hold of a decent script, let alone a thrilling one, its zeal and inﬂuence in attaching talent cannot be underestimated. Famous names were circling. Sir Ben Kingsley was attached to play John Tuld, the bank’s darkly regal CEO whose arrival midway through the story ratchets up the tension, to say the least. Billy Crudup signed, as did Tim Robbins and Carla Cugino. Then Chandor experienced another trying moment of independent film-making calamity. “We put together an amazing cast but we couldn’t raise the money,” he says, laughing at the irony. “The movie was about the financial crisis, and there was
a financial crisis going on at the time, and we couldn’t raise a dime, so a lot of the cast ended up not being in the movie. Sir Ben was doing Hugo with Martin Scorsese and when we finally got the money for the project he had to leave.” Tom Wilkinson replaced Kingsley and when he also had to drop out owing to prior commitments, the part eventually landed at the feet of Jeremy Irons. He infuses Tuld with a delicious inscrutability and transforms him into one of the highlights of the film. Production delays and actors’ ubiquitous scheduling conﬂicts forced Robbins, Crudup and Cugino to leave as well, leaving Chandor and the producers with the task of rebuilding the project. “It took us a full year to scrape the money together and by 2010 we had enough interest from financiers and we were shooting by June,” Chandor says. A young financier called Michael Benaroya who hails from a dynasty of wealthy North-west American realtors, had become the sole equity financier on the project after he bought out the other backers and boosted the budget to around $3.5m. He would also serve as producer alongside Robert Ogden Barnum, Corey Moosa and the aforementioned participants. Santa Monica-based sales and financing company Myriad Pictures would handle international pre-sales, a mainstay of independent film financing that allows film-makers to cash ﬂow sales estimates on territory distribution rights before the film is made. The film-making landscape is strewn with what-ifs and while the early cast choices demonstrated the goodwill that many felt towards Margin Call, the final talent roster that coalesced once financing fell into place proved to be pitch-perfect. Bettany plays the cynical, jockish trading manager Will Emerson, Simon Baker is Jared Cohen, Tuld’s baby-faced chief lieutenant (“He’s a fucking killer,” Emerson tells Sullivan at one point), while Moore holds her own as Sarah Robertson, the company’s chief risk management officer with a highly developed instinct for self-preservation. However, it was Spacey’s involvement
that helped galvanise the project and encourage others to join. He signed up shortly before the Cannes International Film Festival and even travelled to the Cote d’Azur to talk up the project to international buyers. “He was a driving force,” Chandor said. “Other actors read the script knowing the Spacey character was there – that helped.” Spacey delivers arguably his best work in years as Sam Rogers, the head of the trading ﬂoor who wants out and secretly pines for his dying dog (and therefore, in time-honoured cinematic
The film was shot over 17 days in June and July 2010 in Manhattan on a ﬂoor in a skyscraper that had been occupied by a hedge fund...
grammar, must be a good egg). Watch out for him during the Oscar race. They shot over 17 days in June and July in Manhattan on the ﬂoor of a skyscraper that had been occupied previously by a hedge fund. “The whole idea of trapping the cast on one ﬂoor,” Chandor says, “came from restrictions I placed on myself so the budget would stay low, but it also served to heighten the drama and sense of claustrophobia.” Margin Call plays like a verbal action movie as rapid-fire exchanges ricochet off the screen like gunfire and the bank’s bosses work out how to divest themselves of toxic assets and live to fight another day. The fact the bank is fictitious and the action takes place at an unspecified time may have leant the story an enduring topicality. Only time will tell. For now, Chandor, who is lining up his second independent feature and has a contract to write two features for Warner Bros, is excited about the upcoming releases in the US, UK and elsewhere. Sales agent Myriad has sold out all territories. “Margin Call explores the scenario of when do you know to sell,” says the film-maker, who lives with his wife and two children in New York State. “It’s an ethical dilemma but I don’t think the people in this piece are criminals; they’re not Bernie Madoff. It’s entirely legal for them to have sold off this stuff… but they panicked. Some people made a lot of money during the financial crisis, while others were panicking. I’m not saying there wasn’t fraud going on; it’s just that that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. This movie is all about the grey area.” ■ Margin Call is out in January 2012
Mervyn King I wanted the picture from this press conference with Mervyn King to reﬂect the turmoil in the global economy. He was delivering the latest news on monetary policy and squeezing his hand – which works well to reﬂect the serious nature of the topic being discussed and gives the impression he is clamping down on the issues he was addressing.
BLOOMBERG ChRis RatCLiffE
LONG LIVE THE KING
No – not Mervyn. But Bloomberg photographer CHRISTOPHER RATCLIFFE who has just been crowned the best business photographer in last month’s UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards
BLOOMBERG ChRis RatCLiffE
Eurostar When shooting the CEO of Eurostar and Philip Hammond, secretary of state for transport, I expected a fairly standard picture of a handshake. Then, two kids came along and the CEO turned to look out of curiosity while the politician kept his focus, almost as if not to look stupid. I love that a couple of kids can break a dull moment.
BLOOMBERG ChRis RatCLiffE
Paris Air Show This is the inside of a nose cone of an Airbus. It was in a very quiet part of the trade hall and in isolation the picture didnâ€™t really work. So I waited for a good 15 minutes for something interesting to happen and finally a businessman came along to take photos on his mobile. And, bingo!
Split DeciSion Euroweek’s DaviD RothNiE asks if the iCB’s recommendations for banking reform go far enough – and whether the answer isn’t already staring us in the face. one american professor certainly thinks it is… 46
The Professor of Economics at Boston University bristles at the mention of Sir John Vickers and the UK’s Independent Commission on Banking: “I think what they have done is a disgrace and they have brought shame on their country.” In Larry Kotlikoff’s view, the recommendations of the Vickers report will do nothing to halt a repeat of the misdemeanours that triggered the 2008 global financial meltdown which is still reverberating three years later. Instead, the commission has played to the vested interests of the banking industry. “The financial crisis was not caused by a lack of liquidity. It was caused by the fraudulent manufacture of securities. Everyone suspected that banks were holding a load of crap, and when they got found out, there was a rush to the exit that caused the crisis,” he says. If Kotlikoff sounds like he has an axe to grind, it’s because he has. Since the financial crisis, he has argued for the banking system to be fixed; it needs root and branch reform that eliminates proprietary information and leverage. In other words, stop banks from borrowing to take positions in financial instruments that they are not forced to disclose. Once you do that, you can stamp out fraud and re-instate trust in the system. “It’s like the drugs industry in the US used to be, where people would sell pink liquid as some kind of elixir that turned out to be radioactive. The people who sold it got rich, meanwhile, you’re dead. Then Teddy Roosevelt introduced the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1906 and suddenly you couldn’t lie about what you were producing anymore. Information is a public good.” Kotlikoff has a number of prominent supporters,
Banks were holding a load of crap, and when they got found out there was a rush to the exit that caused the crisis IllustratIons by tim Bradford
Systemic stability What’s Wrong and hoW to fix it Nearly three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, risk and capital are still too concentrated with a handful of banking behemoths deemed “too big to fail.” The ICB’s proposal of forcing banks to ring-fence their retail businesses would ensure that in the event of another bank run, deposits would be protected by the taxpayer, while bond-holders would be on the hook for the riskier investment banking operations. Banks against the proposals say it would push up the cost of funding for their investment arms and drive shareholders away. Those calling for a more radical solution want to force banks to split their retail and investment banking businesses entirely, returning the City of London to its pre-1986 Big Bang days when banks took deposits and brokers acted purely as financial intermediaries.
not least Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, who raised eyebrows in the City of London at the end of 2009, when he boldly told an audience at London’s Mansion House: “Of all the many ways of organising banking, the worst is the one we have today.” King publicly backed Kotlikoff’s views at a Commons select committee in 2010 and it was on the governor’s recommendation that Kotlikoff flew to London last autumn for an audience with the Independent Banking Commission as part of its consultation process. Vickers did not attend the meeting, but Bill Winters, the former boss of JP Morgan’s European operations, was present for what was an interesting conversation. “What I proposed is not complicated, and it’s not utopia,” says Kotlikoff. “It already happens in the US and it’s called the mutual fund industry.” Kotlikoff’s solution to the banking crisis is what he calls ‘limited purpose banking’. Under this structure, a bank’s checking account would convert to a mutual fund in which people invest in closed-end securities funds, which are vetted by a central regulator similar to the FDA. Banks would simply have no proprietary positions and would revert to their traditional role of acting solely ▶
▶ as an intermediary matching buyers and sellers. The rest of their investment banking operations, such as providing advice on mergers and acquisitions, would convert to consulting businesses.
Development and Growth of london as a Financial centre What’s Wrong and hoW to fix it Critics of a radical overhaul argue that it will reduce the City’s status as an engine for economic growth. The City, they argue, has built its world-leading reputation on its openness to global capital flows that has in turn attracted the brightest and best talent. Raising taxes or splitting the banks would do irreparable harm.
Investors could still lose money, but they would know what they were betting on and banks would disclose their daily trading positions. These reforms – set out in his book Jimmy Stewart is Dead: Ending the World’s Ongoing Financial Plague with Limited Purpose Banking – are in place to protect taxpayers’ deposits from the “hucksters and snake-oil men” who take risks with those retail deposits. His arguments for protecting deposits by banning banks from lending money not matched in cash reserves would bring down the curtain on what Kotlikoff calls “trust me” banking and, paradoxically,
finance professionals see it differently. Guy Davies, a former banker and now a partner at City executive search firm Hogarth Davies Lloyd, says: “Some of the trust broke down with the expansion of the multi-product global investment banks. I believe one of the consequences of the credit crisis is that some banks are trying to reposition themselves with an increasing focus once again on being trusted advisers which is, in part, represented in the emergence of several boutique investment banks attempting to differentiate themselves with the offer of independent advice.” Advocates of a more open City say the
re-instate trust in the banking system. Alas, the ICB dismissed Kotlikoff’s model in two sentences: “While some of these proposals have sensible aims and could be welcome developments if banks chose to adopt them, the benefits of mandating these structures across the sector do not appear to outweigh the costs and risks. Accordingly, the Commission does not propose to pursue them further.” Undaunted, the professor has recently been to Dublin and met Patrick Honahan. “I think somebody is going to adopt this. It’s not that radical and 30% of the US financial system is already in mutual funds. Denmark already has this system.” The Professor’s thinking proved too rich for the City of London’s conservative palate, although senior
City’s transformation from Oxbridge elite to global meritocracy is down to lighttouch regulation and a system in which people want to forge careers. Certainly, in terms of diversity, the City has come a long way in a short space of time. A little over a decade ago, partners at Cazenove could only be referred to by their initials, while button-collared shirts were regarded as a no-no. When US bank JP Morgan Chase bought a stake in Cazenove six years ago, one of the things it did was to establish a diversity programme. The joke doing the rounds at the time was that Cazenove already boasted a diverse employee base – it had staff from Cambridge and Oxford. Just as Barbarians at the Gate, the book that gave a lurid account of banking excess on Wall Street in the 1980s,
attracted a generation of bankers now in their 40s, so the financial crisis may have made a career in banking more – not less – exciting. A survey carried out a year into the financial crisis in 2009 by the careers office and students’ union of Oxford University revealed that not one of the 500 respondents regarded banks as ethical and only 15% of respondents felt the industry was ‘supportive of society.’ Despite, or perhaps because of, this searing indictment of the City’s morals, there was no sign of a drop in demand from students eager to forge a career in derivatives, insurance, asset management or investment banking. Certainly not at
politicians and regulators, carry on and award themselves a pay rise. As regulators clamped down on the bonus culture that encouraged shortterm risk-taking, banks responded by doubling the salaries of staff in order to retain top performers. The basic pay of managing directors at the bigger banks has now jumped to £300,000 from £150,000 before the crisis. Guy Davies adds: “Banks are trying to find ways of ensuring they can continue to pay their top employees as competitively as possible while staying within the prevailing (and continuously changing) regulatory framework. Clearly in so doing
Oxford University, where 99% said the pay was excellent, and 100% said it offered a clear path to promotion. Opponents of radical reform of the banking system argue it would kill innovation and force a brain-drain from London to more vibrant financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong. If anything, the City’s ability to survive cataclysms such as the global crisis of 2008 is down to its paradoxical cocktail of pin-striped conservatism and openminded innovation. And survive they have, with a level of panache that would have even Bear Grylls doffing his trapper. It is hard to imagine another industry that would bring the world economy to its knees, receive billions in taxpayer bailouts and despite receiving the opprobrium of
they are also keen to give themselves the best chance of continuing to attract new, young graduates.” When taken out of context, such figures simply fan the flames of banker bashing, which if it became an Olympic sport, would guarantee a bullion vanload of British gold medals at London 2012. Bankers are used to being masters of the universe, and they have not taken kindly to the anger heaped upon them. When Bob Diamond, the boss of Barclays, told a Commons select committee that “the time for remorse was over,” he was accused of staggering arrogance. The unilateral loathing of bankers is not helping the reform debate, or the UK economy, which benefits from the strength of the financial service industry. And it’s true
a survey conducted at oxford University revealed not one of 500 respondents regarded banks as ethical the vast majority of bank staff did not cause the crisis, a point that the Financial Services Authority has emphasised by only applying stringent pay reform to what it calls ‘code staff’ – people who ▶
provision of credit What’s Wrong and hoW to fix it Tensions are running high that banks have failed to guarantee lending to smaller businesses despite being bailed out by the taxpayer. The Government argues any concessions to banks over pay curbs and balance sheet taxes should be off-set by guarantees over lending. While banks are lending more to small businesses, they will not be tied to specific targets. Privately, they brand the Government hypocritical for wanting them to take less risk on the one hand, but with the other extend loans to businesses that might not be sound enough credits. Some local communities are taking the matter into their own hands. In 2009, Brixton introduced the Brixton Pound. Based on an idea adopted during the Depression Era in the US and now in its second year, the Brixton Pound is designed to boost local spending and keep money circulating within the community.
▶ have responsibility for taking risk. The City’s argument is that while a lack of regulation caused the crisis, a new system shaped by excessive regulation will damage the City and by extension the UK. Leading City bankers point out the regulatory playing field is uneven and that far from giving the industry an easy ride, the UK is suffering because draconian pay curbs are yet to be adopted on Wall Street, or indeed in Asia, where the financial crisis is largely regarded as a western phenomenon. “Mervyn was speaking as a central banker and central bankers would like to see the industry simplified because it is easier to understand and regulate,” says one prominent UK banker who
Bankers argue that a new system shaped by excessive regulation will damage the City and by extension the UK 50
has worked at the Treasury. As the hub of global capitalism, the mantra of the banking industry is that its continuing relevance and development are driven by market forces. “The City is a service industry, and the complexity that exists within it today comes from the clients it serves,” the banker adds. “Clients like that complexity, they like getting the products they get from under a single roof.” The City, like the cranes that soar above it as they shape the future, is constantly evolving and its advocates call for greater, not less flexibility. Despite the consequences of the financial crisis, the damage wrought upon the City of London either by increased taxes or greater regulation, not to mention the reputational damage, has done little to detract from its allure. In March, the ninth annual global financial centres’ index placed London in pole position in a survey of 79 cities for the fifth consecutive year. The report, compiled by consultants Y-Zen Group with the co-operation of the City of London Corporation, struck a cautious tone arguing the City should not rest on its laurels with the continuing emergence of Hong Kong and Shanghai. To this end, bankers welcomed the visit of the Chinese Prime Minister in July and many believe the key to the City’s ongoing relevance will be driven by its ability to attract China’s leading banks to London. With its time zone, popular international language, established
market and, until recently, light-touch regulation, London remains hard to beat. In the report’s foreword, Sir Michael Snyder, Chairman of the UK Government’s Professional and Business Services Group, urged “Government, regulators, professional, financial and trade bodies [to be] bold and innovative in the measures that are needed to keep the City internationally competitive.” That chimes with recommendations from the ICB, which stop short of breaking up banks’ retail and investment arms, calling instead for a “ring-fencing” of retail operations, so they are protected from the fall-out when bets go wrong in the investment banking divisions. Banks and regulators differ on radical reform. Regulators prefer an overhaul of the system to make it safer; banks regard any departure from the status quo as upheaval. Either way, the brave new city emerging from the rubble of the financial crisis is looking as exciting, cosmopolitan, vibrant – and risky – as ever. ■
Greenwich Mean time is Money What’s Wrong and hoW to fix it The more laid-back among us simply shrug and point to the Greenwich Observatory. Our time-zone is our biggest asset. Unless regulators start messing around with the clocks, London’s position between New York and Asia means it will always be at the epicentre of global capitalism.
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ILLUSTRATIONS by Jamel Akib
THE MAYOR’S FUND
LOUIS ROEDERER CEO
HOUSE OF CARDS Angela Knight says we can’t keep ignoring Europe’s economic problems, hoping they will just go away. The time for actions is now, otherwise the eurozone is not the only thing that’ll come tumbling down
Going the Extra Mile for Children
Square Mile is proud to have become an official partner of the Mayor’s Fund for London. CEO CHRIS ROBINSON explains how we can make the capital a better place
DO YOU GO to too many meetings? Yes, me too. But one warm evening last May I attended a particularly unusual one. It was at Shoreditch Town Hall. Now, I remember Shoreditch Town Hall from when I was a kid growing up nearby because of the major boxing events held there. It fell into disrepair but is now being restored by a local community trust. It’s a great building. But on this night it was buzzing. There were more than 400 people inside, all talking at once. All ages, all colours, all types – and all talking! It was the first ever meeting of the Shoreditch Citizens’ Assembly which The Mayor’s Fund for London had bankrolled London Citizens to organise. More than 20 different organisations – churches, businesses, students, residents’ associations, police, mosques, trade union branches and community groups – got on stage to commit themselves to the initiative. They all made their points and pledged their support; they debated what the priorities should be for their community. It was 54 SQUAREMILE
noisy, chaotic at times; there was music, shouting, laughter, debate. I loved it. Barclays Capital donated us the money to fund Shoreditch Citizens as a three-
FUND RAISING If you want to give to The Mayor’s Fund for London, there are several methods. First, you can click ‘Donate Now’ on mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk. You can text ‘TMFL11’ to 70070 to donate £10 through JustGiving. In order to raise sponsorship money for the Fund, apply through MyDonate (btplc.com/ mydonate) and select the Mayor’s Fund. Contact: Liz Reid on 0207 983 4611, firstname.lastname@example.org
year community engagement project. The poor parts of London have had things done to them for years. That’s probably one reason why the ‘solutions’ don’t stick. They are imposed, parachuted in. We wanted local people to tell us their priorities. Over 60 community leaders have been trained now and the organisation goes from strength to strength as people take responsibility for their own lives and their own agendas. London Citizens told us we were the first fund to come to them and say they wanted this process to be a part of their work. But it seemed only common sense to me. When we started The Mayor’s Fund for London with our focus on child poverty, three years ago this month,
CHARITY MAYOR’S FUND
SQUARE MILE MASKED BALL
For the third consecutive year, Boris Johnson will be our special guest speaker at the annual square mile Masked Ball. In aid of the Mayor’s Fund for London, 50% of table sales and all profits from both live and silent auctions will go to square mile’s new official charity partner. Held on 25 November, this is one of the first black-tie balls of the season, and looks set to be bigger and better than ever. Taking place in the Great Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice, more than 500 of the City’s movers and shakers will enjoy a Louis Roederer champagne reception followed by a three-course dinner. Live entertainment includes an exclusive preview of The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet, followed by dancing till late. For those who want to keep the evening going, a VIP after-party will be held at Bungalow 8 private members’ club. If you’re interested in joining in the fun, a few tables are still available. Please contact Alex Watson on alex@ squaremile.com, or call 020 7819 9999.
we really wanted to listen as well as talk. We have listened to our corporate partners, too. All of the £7m we have raised in that time has come from the private sector – major donors and corporates. When it works best is when it is a real partnership. Goldman Sachs worked with the Fund for an entire year beforehand to develop the Young London Working project, which was launched in February this year. The project links high-quality employment training
●● We always try and take our corporate partners to see our projects, to meet the people we are working with... projects to employers in an innovative way. It came out of a true partnership where we worked up the concept and planned the business together. We always try and take our corporate partners to see our projects, to meet the people we are working with. Our Business Club members get the chance to come out with us and see the fund in action. Unlike many funds and foundations we do not have a big endowment feeding us money or a secured funding stream. We have to go out and raise the money. Board trustees cover the majority of the central costs of the charity with the aim that 100% of the money raised goes to the projects. But the real story is out there in the streets of London. Every day, there are great families and wonderful people running inspiring schemes making a major difference. Through the work of the Fund we are trying to connect up those good, good people with the corporates and individuals who want to assist and are ready to put their money and time into helping. Our new partnership with square mile magazine is part of this joint effort. We are delighted to be its charity partner. Among many things, we now have the chance to tell you some of these stories and I look forward to doing that in each issue going forward. Together, we can all make in-roads into alleviating child poverty. Not all of our meetings will be as entertaining as the one at Shoreditch Town Hall, but we will do what we can. ■ For more information you can contact me directly on: email@example.com or 020 7983 4051; mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk
For all its economic dynamism, London faces deep-rooted social challenges and the contrast between rich and poor is a serious issue for its citizens. Some 630,000 (or 39%) of London’s children and 44% of inner London’s children live in poverty. This is a shocking statistic and one that urgently needs to be tackled. The children and young people of our great city are its future. They are the ones who will be running our public services, managing our banks, building our houses. It is vital that we invest in these youngsters now in order to ensure the future of our city. The Mayor’s Fund for London brings together the wealth-generating sector of our city in order to nurture and care for the interests of disadvantaged children and their families. It’s about Londoners helping Londoners. As the world turns its eyes towards London in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, I urge our business leaders and wealth creators to support the Fund and its work and I sincerely thank all of our supporters and funders. The range of projects under way for the Fund have already impacted on over 8,000 children. The Fund’s future work will particularly focus on the crucial early years. All the evidence tells us how important these are for a child’s future. Together we will invest in London’s children and continue our work of creating the best big city on earth in which to live. ■
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LET’S KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY Louis Roederer CEO Frédéric Rouzaud on leading the vintage brand into the future. By JON HAWKINS
IN 1833, Louis Roederer inherited his uncle’s champagne house, founded in 1776, gave it his own name and set out with the intention to create “universal renown”. The house has been in family hands ever since and current CEO Frédéric Rouzaud, who took over from his father Jean-Claude Rouzaud, is a direct descendent of Louis Roederer. Rouzaud junior initially started out in the wine real estate industry before joining the family business in 1996 as a sales manager, rising to CEO ten years later. Champagne Louis Roederer’s flagship prestige cuvée, Cristal – famously sold in a unique clear bottle with a flat base – was first made in 1876, exclusively for Tsar Alexander II. Cristal is still only produced in only the very best vintages. The Louis Roederer Group now comprises several properties around the world, including Bordeaux, Provence, Portugal and California. On keeping a 235-year-old company fresh and exciting We have been in existence since 1776. In the wine business, of course, you have a long-term vision of what you have to do because it depends on lots of assets that
MY WORLD FRÉDÉRIC ROUZAUD
you have to manage – for example, when you plant a vineyard you can only harvest the crop after four years, and the best expression is when the vine is 15 years old. So you always have to think in the long-term, which is unlike what happens today, when everything moves so fast. We work to a long-term strategy, sure, but at the same time what is very modern in a wine house like ours is that every day, every year, you create a new wine. Maybe it’s too much to suggest we are artists, but we are certainly artisans.
On his great-grandmother, Camille Olry-Roederer, who took on the management of the house after the great depression of the late 1920s At this time, all champagne companies were in a bad condition but my greatgrandmother Camille really saved the company by keeping it in the family. She didn’t try to sell it – she could have done, she’d just lost her husband – but she was very visionary in a way. She managed to reduce spending, she reopened the house to exports and she came through the Second World War, so all of us in the family can say “thank you” to her. My father, of course, did a great job after her, between 1967 and 2006 when he decided to retire, even though he remains the president of the board. My father also had long-term vision and tried to keep Roederer as a haute couture champagne. He was very clear in that philosophy – only making champagne from our own vineyards – and he really did very well, not only with Louis Roederer but also by investing in the wine business outside of Champagne: creating a Roederer estate in California in the early 1980s, buying
●● Our shareholders are family members – they don’t ache for a quick return on investment based on monthly reports…
a port house in 1990, two or three great chateaux in Bordeaux and Domaine Ott in Provence. Today, we want to be one of the industry’s leading champagne and wine luxury groups, as a producer first, of course, then as a distributor.
On the beauty of being a familyowned business Our shareholders are family members – they take a long-term view, they don’t ache for a quick return on investment based on monthly reports; they’re interested in taking care of the vineyards, the winery and the wine in the best way possible. That gives us all the means to guarantee the quality of what we do is our first purpose. On resisting selling the business I don’t know if people have been interested in buying Roederer – we have never been for sale! The shareholders really are attached to their assets for the long-term, and they are happy with their investment, which means that the company is financially healthy. If a company works well – and the shareholders really want to take care of what they have, especially today when financial markets are uncertain – the shareholders are happier having their money with Roederer than on the stock exchange, especially in today’s markets. On increasing production, gradually We sell around 3.5 million bottles a year. In 1850, we were producing 2.5 million bottles so you can see that increasing volume hasn’t been the primary purpose of our company. We have 230 hectares of vineyards contributing to 70% of our production, which is unique in Champagne, where 90% of the total vineyards belong to 15,000 small growers so the big champagne houses only have 10% of the vineyards. We combine the best of both worlds in Champagne, the world of the growers and the world of the house, those practicing the art of blending. We add new vineyards every time we can but it’s very rare for them to become available in Champagne, it’s sometimes only one hectare. We generally buy ▶ SQUAREMILE 57
MY WORLD FRÉDÉRIC ROUZAUD
▶ between five and ten hectares a year and that ensures a small increase in volume. Next year, perhaps, production will be 3.7 million bottles.
On making Cristal Cristal is not made every year. We have 50-60 hectares of vineyards out of the total that are really identified as the best – the best exposure, the oldest vineyards, the best terroir – only Grand Cru, of course. Only these vineyards can produce Cristal, not every year, but that gives you some idea of how much we can produce, knowing that one hectare can only produce 8,000-10,000 bottles. On the reason the now iconic Cristal bottle is clear and flat-bottomed Tsar Alexander II of Russia asked for a special bottle – he didn’t ask for a special wine, in fact. Out of the 2.5 million bottles Roederer produced in 1850, one-third was going to Russia, so it was a very important market for us. The Tsar told us he loved our wine but could find the same bottles in the market that he served in his court, so he asked Roederer to think about putting our wine in a different bottle. We approached a glass maker to make the Cristal bottle, and Louis Roederer II, the son of Louis Roederer, had the idea of making the best wine possible to put in it. So we took the best Grand Cru we had and created a blend, which is nearly the same today. It was released in 1876 and produced only for the Tsar until the Russian Revolution in 1917, and then was released to the rest of the world in 1924. Of course, the stories say the bottom of the Cristal bottle was flat because the Tsar was nervous that he would be killed, so he asked for it to be flattened out to avoid [hiding] poison or bombs. On future acquisitions Our heart is clearly in Champagne, that goes without saying, so if we can buy vineyards – or why not another house, as we did when we bought Champagne Deutz in 1993 – we will do it. But, of course, we have properties in Bordeaux now, and one in Provence, too, so if there is a good opportunity we will consider it.
On working in property before joining the family business When you are 22 or 23 years old you don’t generally want to work with your father immediately, you might want to do something on your own. The philosophy of the family shareholders has also been that if you want to work for the company one day you must have worked for other companies before, which I think is a good policy. So I worked for a real estate company for five years, the first two in the wine industry providing expertise on vineyards in Bordeaux. That’s how I suggested to my father to buy Champagne Deutz in 1993 because I was advising the owner at this time. I joined Roederer in 1996, and worked for three years as a commercial sales manager in France, and then I became human
●● Cristal was released in 1876, made only for the Tsar until the Russian Revolution in 1917, then for the world in 1924…
resources manager for four years. I was vice-president for two years before my father decided to retire.
On the challenges of biodynamic production in the Champagne region Today, Louis Roederer has 25 biodynamic hectares. I really believe that the terroir in Champagne is unique – champagne is a unique wine, very magical – and that Roederer has to be at the very top of that expression. Running these 25 hectares as biodynamic was a revolution for our company and I think in the long-term we’re right to do this. You have to go very slowly because you are in Champagne, not in the Mediterranean where it is easy to do – Domaines Ott is nearly 100% biodynamic, for example. In Champagne you have to be careful with the weather, and to go biodynamic you have to manage the team very slowly. We bottled some biodynamic wine just to see how it affects the results – the idea is not to one day put a marketing label on the wine and say “we are 100% biodynamic”, that’s not our intention. The purpose is to take the best experiences and information obtained from these 25 hectares and apply some new rules to the rest of the vineyards. ■ For more info visit: champagne-roederer.com
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Charity Begins at Work
As big business ignores UN pleas for world aid funds, MARK HEDLEY meets one man whose firm prides itself on a social conscience...
ALASTAIR CONSTANCE IS a man who knows his beer. He also knows his foreign exchange dealing. But right now, I’m more interested in the beer. Meeting outside Borough’s Market Porter pub on a fine and warm evening, he welcomes me with a round of Big John ales. Big John, as the name suggests, might as well have been invented for the City. It’s fresh, intense, and ballsy: all the traits, in fact, that helped Constance to success on the FX trading floor. Constance began his City career on the currency desk at Voltrex – a specialist in exchange-traded derivatives. The young South African served his time, but soon decided to set up his own company. And so, in early 2008, Mercury Foreign was launched: a currency exchange offering better-than-bank rates and low-cost international payments. So far, so City, you might think. But Constance was also becoming heavily involved in voluntary work as a treasurer for an international AIDS charity. It was in an effort to marry his involvement in the markets with this more virtuous pursuit that led Constance to launch his latest offering, Ethical Currency. This operation is the first foreign exchange broker in the world to voluntarily pay a Tobin tax of 0.01%
on all its transactions towards global development goals. All resultant money is combined in a single pot, which funds charities dealing directly with the Millennium Development Goals, a set of international objectives that all UN member states agreed to achieve by 2015, such as eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates and fighting disease epidemics such as Aids. Now, 0.01% may not sound like a lot, but in a market that’s trading around $4.7tr per day, we’re not exactly talking pocket change either. “About 70% trades through London,” Constance explains. “So, if you could tax some of those flows by a miniscule amount, you could raise $30–$40bn each year, which is almost exactly the global shortfall for the Millennium Development Goals. This is an innovative and stable source of financing, it’s considerable, and it actually can work.” Funding for international development has been hit by the economic crisis, so there’s a need for creative solutions now more than ever. Ethical Currency bases its model on the currency transaction levy (CTL), a tax on wholesale or inter-bank foreign exchange transactions. “We became tired of waiting for huge financial institutions and governments to commit to implementing a CTL, so we figured we’d just do it – to prove it is both viable and that companies, NGOs and consumers would choose to transact their business through a socially conscious company,” says Constance. The clients bear no additional cost as the levy is imposed on Ethical Currency’s own profits. As well as bank-beating rates, Constance is offering reassurance
●● Ethical Currency is the first foreign exchange broker in the world to voluntarily pay a Tobin tax of 0.01%…
that trading with the company will help a good cause: “If we can prove that a single business can flourish on this basis then there is far less reason to object to wider implementation.” Of course, he’s still realistic about the reaction from the City: “A lot of financial institutions probably won’t implement this, even though it would be easy. The only way such a tax could become widespread would be through government intervention, or by consumers showing there exists the will among them to make their money do good things. This is a progressive tax, so it’s the high-frequency, high-volume trading that is most affected. The average guy on the street isn’t going to notice it.” As we finish off one more for the road, Constance has become somewhat more philosophical: “I know it’s sentimental – and it isn’t Big John talking – but if you want your kids to inherit a planet like the one you live on, then you have to take broad action. The financial services sector could take the initiative to be a force that has a positive social impact.” It’s always a pleasure to meet someone in the City genuinely working towards the greater good – not just greater profits. It’s an added bonus when they know a thing or two about decent beer too. ■ SQUAREMILE 61
IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION IN EUROPE Dithering over a eurofix will harm Britain’s cross-border business in the long run, writes ANGELA KNIGHT
IN SOME RESPECTS, the British Bankers’ Association is a bit of a misnomer. It hardly describes our organisation. The BBA has some 230 member banks and any bank that operates in the UK and is regulated by the FSA can be a member. More than 50 nationalities are represented around the BBA table and our multinational membership demonstrates the internationality of the UK market. Despite all the gloom and doom in the news, the UK’s banking sector is still responsible for more cross-border bank lending than any other country – 18% of the world’s total. And foreign exchange sees a daily turnover in excess of $2tr – around 40% of global business and more than New York and Tokyo combined. And that’s why – no matter what your views are on Europe and the euro – we cannot look the other way and pretend it’s nothing to do with us. There hardly seems to be a day without a bank rescue or bail-out hitting the headlines. So it’s not surprising that all eyes are on the eurozone. But there’s not been a lot to see. If default is necessary it needs to be done, carefully managed and a believable 62 SQUAREMILE
plan put in place. Should recapitalisation be needed, then it should be done and in a manner that quells lingering concerns in the marketplace that valuations may not have been sufficiently stringent. It is clear though that there are some huge challenges being faced right across the financial services industry. Without doubt, before the banking crisis hit, some of the banks here were not holding sufficient capital whether they had implemented the international rules of the time or not. Now it looks like it wasn’t enough even to come through the recent stress tests. Everywhere you turn the rules are being rewritten. On capital, the new proposals from Basel are due to commence in 2013, but in this country they have been brought forward, more than doubling the amount of capital a bank has to hold. On liquidity, the new rules there are set for implementation by 2015, but in the UK we have introduced many of those liquidity rules already. So we are well ahead of the pack by three to five years. From a practical perspective this means that the UK banks are much more stable than they were. Stability is a good thing but we don’t want stasis. There has to be balance between stability and the ability to lend. In this critical area, a clear and open debate needs to be had. Substantial regulatory change may bring benefits, but there are downsides to be aware of. Businesses are concerned about the amount of security they have to put up against their loans, while others say it is difficult to obtain a loan, or it is more expensive, or both. The transition from here to that new future will need to be carefully and
●● No matter what your views on the euro, we cannot look the other way and pretend it’s nothing to do with us…
sensibly crafted in a way that brings certainty and not uncertainty. Away from the heat of the debate about the rightful future of financial services in this country, the real and immediate need is for confidence to be restored to the economy. Without being complacent – and it’s just because I’m old enough to have been there before – recessions pass. Good relationships between banks and businesses are key domestically, while on the world stage we need brave and determined leadership. We have never needed confidence more than now. The financial services sector is still one of the country’s key wealth generators and absolutely essential to our economic recovery. And, no matter what, Europe needs strong, reliable, well-capitalised banks. As a former politician, I understand how difficult it can be to take action. But the longer it takes, then the longer turbulence will continue, the further markets will plunge and economies will risk slipping into another recession. Everyone suffers by inaction. The time for discussion and promises is over. ■ ANGELA KNIGHT is CEO of the BBA
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THE MORAL OF THIS TORY... The City’s relationship with No.10 has never been so close, says JON HAWKINS. But who has the most to gain?
THE PUBLIC HARDLY needs convincing that City bigwigs and the government are in cahoots; conspiring together to rip the beating heart out of an already dying country. So the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s recent findings that more than half (51.4%) of all donations to the Conservative party for the year ending 30 June came from the City won’t do much to ease their concerns. The BIJ is quick to stress “there is no suggestion that any donor has made personal appeals to introduce policies that would benefit them, or gained from their donation in any way,” but it seems unlikely those generous City folk are clubbing together to guarantee the quality of David Cameron’s suits doesn’t slip to an unacceptable level. The bulk of the donations (a total of £1.38m, or 11.4%, of the £12.18m total) came from the hedge fund industry, with almost half (£636,300) coming from just three donors – Lord Stanley Fink, Michael Farmer and Andrew Law. Financier David Rowland alone, who has connections to private bank Banque Havilland and hedge fund Blackfish Capital Management, donated £1.16m. squaremile.com
But what does your £1m, or indeed your £50, get you? The ‘Donor Clubs’ page on the Conservative website makes for an illuminating read. With a £50 donation you’re a Party Patron, while for a mere £2,000 you can join ‘Team 2000’ (yes, really), which gets you access to a “lively programme of drinks receptions, dinner and discussion groups”. Pay an extra £500 and you can become a member of the City & Entrepreneurs Forum, chaired by Somerset Capital CEO Dominic Johnson. But the fun really starts once you chip in with over £50,000 (as 50 City donors did, according to the study) and become part of the Leader’s Group, for which you’ll get to meet the Prime Minister and other senior Tories, and gain access to election result events, key campaign launches and assorted opportunities for schmoozing and boozing. Given the loud calls for reform in the banking industry, the party’s reliance on City backers raises some interesting points – do the Tories, for instance, have the cojones (or, more pertinently, the inclination) to risk alienating the source of more than half their funding? Cameron has certainly not been shy
of courting the bankers. When he took over as leader of the Conservatives, donations from the financial sector accounted for under 25% of all donations; in just over five years that figure has doubled. “My father was a stockbroker, my grandfather was a stockbroker and my great-grandfather was a stockbroker,” Cameron told a gathering of top bankers, including Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, in 2009. The City’s in his blood, as he stated. This year’s figure of 51.4% is up 0.6% from the last, though the total sum has tumbled by £21.94m – as would be expected given the previous 12-month period contained an election, and all the campaigning that preceded it. Perhaps the City’s big swinging dicks simply want the pleasure of sharing a bottle of sparkling mineral water with the country’s most important man in the hope that some of his power and charisma might rub-off on them. Or maybe it’s a particularly clever wheeze by a smooth operating politician, who is in the rather cushy position of having some the City’s movers and shakers – the men with the real power, perhaps – pay for the privilege of sharing table space with him. ■ SQUAREMILE 65
£63k The amount of benefits motherof-nine Chavelle Price claimed by pretending she was single despite living with her husband in their caravan.
$63bn The amount that insomnia costs the US workforce (the average US worker loses 11.3 days in productivity).
63m The number of console and PC games bought by the UK public from January 2010–2011
The amount Sir Elton John earned this year, making him the world’s highestpaid male pop star, according to Forbes
City in Numbers
Formerly a vice-president of corporate finance at Bryan Garnier & Co, Xavier De Lecaros left the City to co-found the rental e-tailer Girl Meets Dress...
I gradUaTEd from Warwick with a degree in maths and economics and logically went straight into the City, first interning at ABM Amro, HSBC and Citigroup. The City was a natural choice but my interest in digital media and photography prompted me to eventually look outside the Square Mile. I wanted to utilise my full skillset, but as UK head of media deals at Bryan Garnier – working with companies with a seven-figure turnover – I began to feel I wasn’t achieving this. I had experience of starting my own company while studying at university. In 2004, I founded Crepex Ltd, a small corporate catering company I sold two years later for a profit – and I started to want a piece of the metaphorical pie again.
Nick Leeson Live Want to know what it’s like to bring down a bank? On 18 November, square mile is hosting An Evening with Nick Leeson at which you’ll be able to hear a firsthand account from the original
Seeing a niche in the marketplace for an e-commerce business specialising in the rental of high-cost designer dresses, I co-founded Girl Meets Dress with my partner, combining her fashion industry experience and my business acumen. We hire out over 4,000 dresses and accessories from more than 150 designers. It is as simple as picking a dress, choosing the nights you want it for, and it is shipped directly to your door. It really could not be easier. Our clients range from celebrities to heads of banks and law firms. With no outside investment to date, Girl Meets Dress has made its mark in online retail, winning prestigious awards such as the Drapers Best E-tail Innovation and being tipped in Real magazine’s Future 50. The business is going from strength to strength and I have no regrets about leaving the City. In fact, I’m still involved, albeit more from a social point of view. There are some obvious differences between e-commerce and the City. Banking is known for its excruciatingly long hours but now I’m working 24 hours a day if needs be. It is a lot more intense. You cannot afford not to be switched on for one second; it’s your business on the line, not someone else’s. Everything becomes crucial. But I thrive on that passion. You can’t rely on someone else like you might in banking. My values are the same now as when I worked in the City but I cannot see myself going back. Although, perhaps you might find me there from a client side, rather than the advisory in the future. It would be impossible to completely switch off. ■ – Loren Penney Girl Meets Dress is offering square mile readers an exclusive offer of £10 off hires. Just add SQUARE10 at the checkout
rogue trader – responsible for incurring an £827m loss which brought down Barings Bank. Held at The May Fair Hotel, there will also be the opportunity to meet the man himself. For more details, visit squaremile.com/events or call Loren Penney on 020 7819 9999.
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Finger on the City’s Pulse… Maryam Nemazee’s news show is watched all around the world; JON HAWKINS meets the Bloomberg TV anchor who means business
WALK UP A couple of flights of stairs at Bloomberg’s Finsbury Square London base and you would barely know a fastpaced live show was being filmed, so quiet and serene does it all appear. Until, that is, you register the lighting-clusters and cameras swinging overhead, and see the small groups of people in headsets consulting reams of paper and peering at banks of screens. In the middle of it all is Maryam Nemazee, the anchorwoman of midmorning Bloomberg TV show The Pulse, who is talking calmly to her producer while the next guest (cued up on a live video link from Germany) waits on the big screen behind her. Then instructions are shouted out, the cameras roll and reporters appear from out of nowhere to deliver their spot. After an hour of hectic activity, it’s over. Nemazee joined Bloomberg in 2010 from Al Jazeera English, where she’d been since the channel’s launch following a spell in Moscow at Russia Today. She has hosted The Pulse since January.
have that time away from the action of the newsroom – once you sit down you never stop. I get into work at 5:30am and receive a full briefing from my producer. Of course, much of the programme is planned and organised – you can’t emphasise that enough when it comes to live television, particularly when you’re dealing with complex stories – but we have to be prepared to think on our feet when breaking news happens. DO YOU HAVE A TOUGH AUDIENCE TO SERVE?
It can be tough, yes. Being global, you have to think about the guys in Asia at the end of their day, the European trading day is well under way, but then you can’t discount your audience on the other side of the Atlantic, the traders just waking up in the US who want to catch up on overnight developments and find out how it impacts on them. With Europe taking front and centre, the European debt crisis is pervading market sentiment and it’s on everyone’s minds. In some ways, I wonder, does that make our job just a little bit easier? But it’s not as though we’re being too provincial and Europe-focused. By staying with this story, we are serving our audience in Asia and the US well.
– fascinating news. I don’t think anyone can really predict where we’re going next, and that’s really exciting. The events of 2008 were absolutely unprecedented; to have an institutional name like Lehman Brothers collapse was remarkable. It would be a very bold forecaster or analyst that could have predicted an event like that, and since then we’ve been in uncharted territory, and we don’t know which way it’s going to turn next.
WHAT IN PARTICULAR INTERESTS YOU ABOUT
DO YOU FEEL A GREAT DEAL OF RESPONSIBILITY
THE STORIES YOU COVER ON THE PULSE?
BEING IN THIS PARTICULAR POSITION AT THIS
I suppose I’d always been interested in business and economics and things have certainly changed in business journalism over the past few years. I think it went from being something that is niche – and yes, we are niche and specialist in many ways – but nevertheless the global financial crisis has changed the news agenda for many channels. It generates headlines that are the fabric of many news and current affairs programmes rather than just being an isolated bulletin. It’s a pleasure to work for a company like Bloomberg, which goes way beyond just scratching the surface of the story.
POINT IN TIME?
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR ANCHORING THE PULSE?
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING STORY THAT YOU
Typically, I get up at four in the morning, and I like to have an hour or so at home just to flick through the papers and watch the news channels. It’s nice to
HAVE COVERED RECENTLY?
Yes, absolutely, and I think it’s always important as a journalist, no matter what you’re covering, to always maintain a sense of perspective, especially given what is happening in the markets on any given day. We’re all trying to make sense of things as they happen, and even when you speak to experts and high-profile economists, a lot of people I speak to are reluctant to come out with a view one way or another. We’ve been having debates on the show and the interesting thing is that often their views are quite nuanced – we’re living in a world now that people are trying to make sense of, and that makes it an exciting time to be a business journalist. ■
The debt crisis is a remarkable story that’s been, for the last year-and-a-half – certainly since I joined Bloomberg in 2010
Watch The Pulse, presented by Maryam Nemazee, at 10am weekdays on Bloomberg TV
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ZAS SET SZZ
THE MIDDLE MAN Positioned bang in the centre of the Aston Martin line-up, the new Virage CoupĂŠ is anything but average. In fact, it does such a good job, says Paul Milican, that the other models may have become obsolete
WATCH TAG HEUER
PRIME TIME WORDS
James Gurney, QP
W AP TI C KH CT AO GR RHE ECUTE RT A B F R O M P A S T E B O A R D
Back in 1975, Heuer was the sponsor of the Scuderia Ferrari, a team without a world champion since John Surtees in 1964. But at the Italian Grand Prix that year, the wait was finally over as Clay Regazzoni came in first and Niki Lauda’s third place secured him the championship. This so pleased Jack Heuer that he created a new model line, which at first was available only as a limited edition, each watch being presented in a miniature racing helmet. The idea of the Monza was to offer a younger, more race-oriented watch than the Autavia and Carrera models that were Heuer’s mainstays at the time. As well as a tachymeter, the original Monza had a pulsometer scale (a possibly unfortunate medical note in an era when Formula One was desperately trying to make the sport safer). Inside was the high-quality Heuer Calibre 15 automatic chrono movement, essentially the same as the original Calibre 11, but with a faster rate and sweep seconds in place of a 12-hour counter. Most notably, the Monza had a bulky cushion-shaped case derived from the Carrera and was available either in a chrome or black anodised case. TAG re-issued the Monza in the early 2000s in a more restrained form that reminded several collectors more of the original Camaro than the Monza but nevertheless proved popular. The 2011 Monza takes this tendency further, with a more discreet case and a dial taken almost directly from a 1933 mono-pusher chronograph, complete with blocky numerals and cathedral hands - altogether a much more mature watch than the original and very definitely not aimed at a younger market. ■
The annual Salon QP watch showcase takes place from 11-12 November at the Saatchi Gallery. For more info visit salonqp.com
Writing time: (main) the montblanc nicolas rieussec Chronograph Anniversary edition; (right) rieussecâ€™s 1821 chronograph was first used to time the horses at a Paris race course. it proved an immediate success with race directors.
Stop the clock Montblanc pauses to honour a horological genius with exquisite 2011 reissues, says JON HAWKINS… At A HOrSe race on the Champ de Mars in 1822, Parisian watchmaker Nicolas Rieussec unveiled his timewriting machine, an instrument capable of recording and measuring short intervals of time. Housed in a wooden box, the machine he called a chronograph – from the Greek chrono (time) and grapho (to write) – comprised two rotating enamel dials on top of a watch movement. Above the dials, one for minutes and another for seconds, was a hand with ink-filled nibs attached. At the press of a button, the nibs would gently touch the dials and leave a mark, enabling the race’s timekeeper to record the exact finishing time of each horse without having to divert his attention from the action on the track. So successful was Rieussec’s timewriting machine that the race track’s directors made it their official timemeasuring device and the French patent office granted him a patent on the first genuinely practical chronograph. This year marks the 190th anniversary of the invention (Rieussec built his first chronograph in 1821, the year before the race on the Champ de Mars), and Montblanc, understandably for a brand best known for its writing instruments but with a growing presence in the world of horology, has given the date special focus. This year has seen the release of
●● On Montblanc’s timepiece, it’s the dials that rotate around fixed needles, echoing the 1821 original… squaremile.com
an Anniversary edition of Montblanc’s Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, a Rieussec-inspired Horological TimeWriter table clock and an exhibition held in partnership with the Musée International d’Horlogerie in La Chauxde-Fonds, Switzerland, on the history of the chronograph. The Rieussec Chronograph, originally launched in 2008, takes obvious inspiration from its namesake’s invention. Where most contemporary chronographs use static dials with moving hands, on Montblanc’s innovative timepiece it’s the dials that rotate around fixed needles, echoing the 1821 original. The watch has been subtly altered for 2011, with the centre section of the dial removed to expose the date wheel and part of the movement, and the outer dial decorated with a grain de seigle guilloché pattern. It also houses Montblanc’s hand-wound MB R110 calibre, designed and made in-house at the company’s manufacture in Le Locle, the birthplace of Swiss watchmaking. The table clock, designated the Nicolas Rieussec Horological TimeWriter, is encased in a glass dome. It has a large face indicating the time, along with two smaller rotating chronograph subdials (essentially an enlarged version of those found in the wristwatch) and two power-reserve indicators, one for the traditional time mechanism and one for the chronograph. A watch-winding mechanism sits above the clock, which comes with a matching automatic version of the wristwatch in 18-carat rose gold. A limited edition of only 19 will be made. Rieussec’s 1821 machine looks distinctly modest by comparison, yet it remains a crucial, ground-breaking part of horological history. ■ Montblanc’s exhibition ‘Writing Time – Two Centuries Of Chronograph History’ will be at Sotheby's London from 10-14 December; sothebys.com; montblanc.com
ROARING SUCCESS This year’s king of the motorshow jungle is Jaguar’s killer V6 hybrid the C-X16, purrs MARK HEDLEY
BUY! BUY! BUY! 76 SQUAREMILE
BUY! BUY! BUY!
JAGUAR C-X16 £50,000+ (TBC) It is always exciting to watch the fight unfold for the ‘finest of Frankfurt’. Every year, car marques battle it out to see which new model earns the most column inches in the wake of the show. This year, the definitive winner was Jaguar with the C-X16. And not just because it was the best looking car on the carpet. Its hybrid drivetrain – a combination of a 375bhp, 332lb ft supercharged 3.0-litre V6 plus a 92bhp electric motor – represents a significant leap forward for Jaguar. And should allow the C-X16 to accelerate from 0–62mph in 4.4 seconds and claim a top speed of 186mph. jaguar.com
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ANGELO GALASSO BELT £950
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KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!…
You can lose your shirt in the City – make sure it’s not your trousers, too…
Big belts require a big personality. Fortunately, the City has many of the latter and Angelo Galasso has a fine selection of the former. This tan calf leather number from the new AW11 range is a great accessory to lift even the tattiest pair of jeans. Alongside its Knightsbridge “house” (what the label calls its stores), Galasso has now opened in Milan and Moscow. Of course, for us it’s probably easier just to go to: angelogalasso.com
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COFFEE IS NOW SERVED
Tennis ace Roger Federer backing a coffee machine? We can’t fault his taste…
JURA ENA 9 ROGER FEDERER
BUY! BUY! BUY!
When you think of Roger Federer, coffee is probably not the first thing to bounce into your head. But precision, expertise, and, er, ‘hot stuff’ may well do. So, coffee machine masters Jura deciding to make a limited edition with the tennis star is not as random as it sounds. Even better is that €100 from each machine goes to Roger’s charity, the Roger Federer Foundation. ■ For info: jura.com
Alps | Italian Lakes | Monte Carlo | Tuscany
Breathtaking drives, luxury destinations and all in the latest performance and supercars Call one of our travel advisers or visit our website
www.ultimatedrives.net + 41 43 542 0867 Ultimate Drives, Zurich, Switzerland
CURVE APPEAL Sleeker than a DB9 and more nimble than a DBS, the Aston Martin Virage is certainly a head-turner, enthuses Paul milican
motors AstoN mArtIN
her porridge neither too hot nor too cold. The Goldilocks theory of the universe has it that Earth found itself in an ideal position from the sun – neither so close to it that the possibility of life burnt to a cinder, nor so far from it that it couldn’t benefit from its life-enhancing warmth. Surely, the theory goes, this ideal positioning is evidence of God? The Aston Martin Virage is the Goldilocks car. It sits exactly between the DB9 with all its grand tourer comfort and glamour and the DBS, with its high-performance hardcore edginess. It may not quite be evidence of God but it comes pretty close. The Virage – the name means ‘curve’ in French – looks like pretty much like any other car from the Aston Martin range: you might recognise bits from the Rapide, the DB9, the Vantage and the
DBS. All the classic styling cues are there, along with enough modifications to the coachwork to make it worth playing ‘spot the difference’: a wider grille to make the most of the 20-inch wheels, new intake meshes, a pair of recessed bonnet vents, new side strakes in the front wings with integrated LED lighting, more angular
●● When you are designing one of the most achingly beautiful cars in the world, why not just keep doing that?
sill sections... You get the picture; sure, it looks a bit more aggressive than the DB9 but the wheel hasn’t been re-invented. The interior changes are even less dramatic. Seriously luxurious, of course, with Bridge of Weir leather, there’s little to tell you you’re not sitting in a DB9. The Garmin-based satnav system is perhaps the most radical change, and is a huge improvement on the previous Volvo device. There are some who claim to be disappointed by this – why, they ask, can’t Aston Martin design something utterly new? There are two answers to this. First, when Aston Martin do design something outside their comfort zone, they normally create something you wouldn’t be found dead in – the Cygnet, anyone? Second, when you are designing one of the most achingly beautiful cars in the world, why not just keep doing that?
Personality rights of steVe MCQUeen are used with permission of Chadwick McQueen and the terry McQueen testamentary trust. represented exclusively by Greenlight. (c) 1971 Cinema Center Films and solar Productions. all rights reserved. tM, (r) & Copyright (c) 2011 by Paramount Pictures. all rights reserved.
Goldilocks famously liked
MOTORS ASTON MARTIN
MAKE MODEL ENGINE POWER TORQUE 0-60MPH TOP SPEED PRICE
Aston Martin Virage Coupe 6.0-litre V12 490bhp @ 6,500rpm 420 lb/ft @ 5,750rpm 4.6 seconds 186mph £150,000
That said, there are one or two eccentricities Aston does like to repeat. Why, I always ask, have seats in the back if no one can actually sit in them? Given the boot is so small, would it not be better to get rid of the rear seats and extend the boot? At least then you can pick up more wine on the way back from France. (You can, in fact, specify a shelf instead of seats so unless you have friends with detachable legs, I’d go for that option). And then there’s the staggeringly hard-to-use infotainment system with backlit buttons – these are supposed to show you which option has been selected but cannot be read in bright daylight. I gave up on it altogether and stuck to Radio 3. And the Bang & Olufsen audio system with its 13 separate speakers (a £4,500-optional extra) more than makes up for the fiddly controls.
In any case, these are mere quibbles and ones you forget the moment you push in the sapphire start button and the 490bhp, 6.0-litre V12 engine roars into life. I never got close to the 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds Aston claim the car will do, but what does that matter? This is a car that will give you a thrilling driving experience every time you get into it. Like the DB9, it has a six-speed automatic gearbox and paddleshifters for those who prefer the direct involvement of manual shifts. And, like the DBS, it has adaptive suspension dampers (though more sophisticated than that car’s) which allow, in Normal or Sport mode, an extraordinary range of damping. On even the twistiest B roads, you always feel in control; select the harder setting in Sport and it’s as if you are magnetically stuck to the tarmac. This sensation of stability and connection is augmented by the 50:50 front/rear weight distribution. Nor is there that feeling, as sometimes with the DBS, that on an imperfect road you are likely to get duffed over, or have the tail swing behind you. The Virage feels better calibrated than the DBS and the steering too feels readier to respond to the inevitable hazards of the road, not to mention the odd, unexpected jerk (and there are plenty of those in Britain). Like all Astons, the Virage comes into its own on challenging stretches of tarmac but just as impressive was how effortless it was to drive in town, more alert, more supple than either the DB9 or the DBS. The standard brakes are ventilated carbon ceramic, reassuringly efficient but sensitive, too, and further enhance the confidence the car gives you.
●● Will the new Virage render both the dB9 and dBs redundant; after all, it actually drives better than either older model…
It’s hardly surprising a car aimed midway between the DB9 and the DBS is priced – at £150k – to sit neatly between the two. The question is whether the Virage will render both the DB9 and the DBS redundant; after all, it actually drives better than either older model. The choice must now be between the four-door Rapide, with its child-friendly, wine casecapable rear, or the more agile Virage. Unless, of course, you like your porridge very hot – in which case a DBS Volante is still almost irresistible. ■ For more information, go to: astonmartin.com
TOP GEAR LIVE LONDON GALA 24 NOVEMBER 2011
Join Derek Bell, David Piper and Chad McQueen at the all new Top Gear Live at London ExCel which runs from 24-27 November. To mark the launch of this exciting event we will be celebrating 40 years of the legendary racing film Le Mans at the exclusive Top Gear Live London Gala. Together with restored film footage and behind-the-scenes material we will walk you through what it was really like to make one of the most realistic racing films in history and of course working with Hollywood legend and style icon Steve McQueen. To make a booking, call the Top Gear Live VIP team on 0207 370 8341 or for more info go to topgearlive.co.uk
Find out more about the movie at www.topgearlive.co.uk/lemans
HELP US MARK THE LAUNCH OF THE ALL-NEW TOP GEAR LIVE EVENT AT LONDON EXCEL WITH AN ALL-STAR GALA DINNER ON THURSDAY 24 NOVEMBER
JOIN US TO CELEBRATE THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LEGENDARY RACING FILM, LE MANS, AT THE TOP GEAR LIVE GALA EVENING, THURSDAY 24TH NOVEMBER. ENJOY A SUPERB THREE-COURSE DINNER IN THE COMPANY OF SOME OF THE STARS AND CARS FROM THE MOVIE, TOGETHER WITH STEVE MCQUEEN’S SON, CHAD MCQUEEN. SPACES ARE STRICTLY LIMITED, CONTACT US TO BOOK YOUR TABLE
Find out more
Stephanie Fox | call 020 7370 8341 | email firstname.lastname@example.org
Personality Rights of STEVE MCQUEEN are used with permission of Chadwick McQueen and The Terry McQueen Testamentary Trust. Represented exclusively by GreenLight.
HEART OF THE PLATTER
MARTIN DEESON discovers that, despite the new look, an old London institution is as
good as ever. And, if you don’t have the will to say no, it can be a heart-stopper...
R PE VI CI EK WCSO R RE ES CT TA UTRAABN FT RS O M P A S T E B O A R D
The Savoy Grill a Strand, London, WC2r 0EU t 020 7592 1600 W gordonramSay.Com
It’s always exciting to eat in an institution (unless it’s a mental one, that is), and the Savoy Grill has to be one of the most famous culinary institutions in London, which means in the world. After reopening in late 2010 in a symphony of art deco newness, under the umbrella management of Ramsay Holdings (for a review of his newest venture, see the following page), the Savoy Grill has reestablished itself as the place to take your parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, for your agent to take you to sign off your latest book deal or for celebs to meet up before a West End show. It is an ‘event’ restaurant, for when you want the world to know you’ve made it (again).
With banquette tables that make any dinner feel like a date (not quite so appropriate if you are being wined and dined by your agent or broker) and a menu which, like those other venerable institutions the Ivy and the Wolseley, is long on comfort and short on modern inventions like ‘fusion eating’ and ‘low fat’, this is a room which swallows you up and invites you to spend a long afternoon or an even longer evening wallowing in gloriously saturated fats. Talking of saturated fats, the single most famous dish on this menu is the omelette ‘Arnold Bennett’, so we had two of those to start, naturally. An artery-insulting confection of smoked haddock, parmesan and cream, this is the comfort food you would eat before mounting the gallows. Named after the now almost forgotten author of numerous novels set in his native Staffordshire (and the fantastically entitled early self-help book How to Live on 24 Hours a Day), Bennett is also the man who
once said: “My mother is far too clever to understand anything she doesn’t like,“ and for that alone is a legend in my opinion. He also inspired a mean omelette. From the huge range of classic British and French dishes on the menu I opted for a lobster thermidor and creamed spinach, while my partner elected to go for the steamed steak and onion pudding with onion sauce. Yup, we were united in our desire for a light dinner. The steak and onion pudding could have kept a chubby hedge fund manager going all afternoon and the creamy mixture of cooked lobster meat, egg yolks, and cognac plugged the final holes that were left in a previously healthy cardiac system. Rounding off this light snack with rice pudding with poached morello cherries and some welsh rarebit, we then checked ourselves into Papworth Hospital and awaited the arrival of a suitable heart donor. Nah, we didn’t, we stayed upstairs – but you can hear about that next time. ■
High Timber a 8 high timbEr St, EC4V 3Pa t 020 7248 1777 W hightimbEr.Com
Bread St Kitchen a onE nEW ChangE, EC4m 9aF t 020 7592 1616 W brEadStrEEtkitChEn.Com
When Bread St Kitchen opened late last month, the critics were not especially kind. There were a few reasons for this. Firstly, the restaurant is run by one Mr G Ramsay. There’s no doubt that – in some circles, at least – it’s become fashionable to bad mouth the foul mouth. Secondly, it’s because the restaurant, in the City’s One New Change shopping centre, cost £5m to build and opened a year later than scheduled – for, if you read the papers, rather obvious reasons. And finally, because said critics all reviewed it on the opening night. This is like judging a thoroughbred racehorse on its first steps. Just because it’s shaky initially, doesn’t mean it won’t go on to win the Grand National one day. I decided to give Bread St a few more days to get up and running, and was pleasantly surprised by the result. First impressions – it’s big. And I mean BIG. Like, American big. But that’s kind of the point. If you’re looking for fine dining à la Royal Hospital Rd, or a gastro grub like The Narrow, then you’re in the wrong
place. Ramsay’s newest creation is a clear reflection of his current life out in Los Angeles rather than his past influences. The decor certainly has the glamour of a TV set – and there’s an army of runners to go with it: 101 members of staff in total, we’re told. The service was extremely efficient – absolutely crucial, of course, if Bread St Kitchen is to nail the demanding lunchtime trade. Starters were promising, my (admittedly slightly diminutive) roasted lobster, boasted a beautifully balanced seasoning of ginger, chilli and garlic. A main of suckling pig went down a treat – as tender as you like, with a waferthin layer of crispy crackling on top. The apple sauce was too spiced for my liking – but easily pushed aside in favour of the frankly drinkable gravy and thick-cut chips. Desserts were the real winners for me, though. A luscious chocolate tart was pipped to the post by mini dumplings with sauce Anglaise on the side. Apparently, on the restaurant’s second lunch sitting, a merry band of bankers rolled in. Before the first drink was even ordered, they set their stall: “You better be good,” said the head of the table. “We’re Goldman Sachs, you know.” The same crew has been coming back on a weekly basis ever since. Well, if it’s good enough for Goldmans... ■ – MH
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“The best fertiliser in the world is a winemaker’s footprint.” Gary Jordan should know: the Stellenbosch wine estate he’s tended for the last 18 years has just been voted the best in South Africa. One taste of his wine and you can taste his size nines (in a good way). Meeting at his City restaurant High Timber, it’s clear that Jordan lives, breathes and – most importantly – drinks for his wine. A geologist by trade, he knows a thing or two about terroir too. Adorning one of the restaurant walls is a magnificent panorama of his huge estate that Jordan photographed himself. He’s right to be proud – his latest riesling won the ‘aromatic’ category in this year’s Five Nation Trophy Challenge, which only takes entrees from the Southern Hemisphere’s best. If wine is Jordan’s first love, then food runs a close second. From his eponymous restaurant in the centre of his home estate, to High Timber on the north bank of the Thames, wine and food are fused harmoniously. Literally, in the case of the charcuterie, which uses old wine barrels for its unique smoked flavour. Head chef Justin Saunders, formerly of Duke’s, produces food to match Jordan’s heady standards. A starter of home-cured bacon, black pudding, cocoa beans, and fried quails egg was like a mini full English with extra flair on the side. And the steak and chips was as good as you’ll find in London or, indeed, South Africa. ■ – MH
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WINE JANCIS ROBINSON
THE JOY OF JANCIS
In her new column, JANCIS ROBINSON tracks down a great value Australian pinot noir through online e-tailer Naked Wines…
W I PN IEC KJ A CN OC RI SR ERCOT B TI NA SB O FNR O M P A S T E B O A R D
BARGAIN PINOT NOIR is almost an oxymoron. Chile has long been able to offer a range of relatively inexpensive pinots and exceptionally good (and underpriced) examples occasionally pop up elsewhere, usually just one vintage in a series of less successful ones. The other day, I tasted Chacra Barda Pinot Noir 2009 Patagonia made by the southern Argentine outfit in which Incisa della Rochetta of Sassicaia fame has an interest and which has some seriously old pinot vines in its vineyards. This toothsome example is made from younger vines and has a certain earthiness but I really liked it. At £18.95 from Lea & Sandeman, for example, it
●● It has none of the ersatz sweetness, jamminess nor beetroot aromas of some inexpensive pinot noirs... squaremile.com
hardly qualifies as a bargain, though. But my wine of the month is a seriously under-priced pinot noir from Australia’s pinot state, Victoria. Plunkett Fowles’ Blackwood Ridge Pinot Noir 2008 is currently being sold by unusual UK online retailer Naked Wines at just £7.99. According to Naked’s records on orders and reactions to them, 90% of the 1,834 people they say bought this wine would buy it again – and I’m not surprised. It has none of the ersatz sweetness, jamminess nor beetroot0.365 aromas of some inexpensive pinots but really quite strongly suggests the integrity and appealing dryness (as opposed to sweetness) of the great pinot noirs grown north of Melbourne such as Bindi and the glorious Curly Flat. What I like about this wine is its real freshness and structure. It’s not concentrated and clearly not going to improve, but would make a lovely wine without food or with something fairly delicate any time. It should not be served too warm – cellar temperature is fine. Plunkett Fowles is the label for wines made by Sam Plunkett and Matt Fowles, producers whom Naked Wines’ ‘angels’ came across when Naked went to the
Every day I seem to receive a voucher for some jack-of-all-trades wine club. In an increasingly saturated market it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd. But recently an Italian master has washed up on our shores. DesignWine imports Italian wine only. Already a success on home soil – an achievement in itself, as Italy is not big on wine e-tailers – DesignWine has now launched in the UK. When it comes to Italian wine, the UK market is polarised: you’re either faced with mass-produced dross from the supermarkets and ‘introductory’ mixed cases – or, you’re lumped with the bill for top-end mark-ups in restaurants. DesignWine, however, is aiming for somewhere slap bang in the middle. As a result, 65% of its wines are unavailable elsewhere – and 100% are worth a taste. We tried a fresh and vibrant Baglio del Cristo di Campobello from Sicily; a blend of grillo and chardonnay, it’s a lively, acidic white with great finish for something so fresh. At £8 a bottle (minimum orders are for three), it’s perfect week-night drinking. For something a little more special, a 2006 Chianti Classico Riserva from Felsina knocked our socks off – at around £35 a bottle, it’s more than you’d normally consider spending on a Chianti. But that’s the point: like all DesignWine’s choices, this is Italian wine, but not as you know it. ■ +39 0541 810 231; designwine.co.uk
fair… this means that unlike most of the wines offered by Naked, the Plunkett Fowles wines were not financed by Naked and they do not qualify for the usual 33% cashback applicable to ‘angel’ investors who agree to pay £20 a month towards Naked’s investment programme. Both Plunkett and Fowles families own vineyards in the exciting Strathbogie Ranges region and the two got together for this wine venture in 2005. What you have to remember is there is so much more to Australia than mass market offerings and critter brands… ■ For more insight and access to Jancis Robinson’s comprehensive tasting notes, sign up to the Purple Pages at: jancisrobinson.com
waiter, another bottle of me… It costs £125 a bottle and you’ll wait two years for it, but this Grand Cru champers has your name on it – literally
With the festive season around the corner, now is about the time to start stocking up with champagne. But imagine if, rather than yet another bottle of miscellaneous French fizz, you could serve up a bottle of ‘Grand You’. Champagne Warehouse is offering a unique opportunity to create 600 bottles of your own signature Grand Cru champagne, working with top quality boutique vineyards in Champagne. This offer is so unique it will only be available to 12 clients per year, beginning in May 2012. Given the life-cycle of the champagne-making process, the entire
• 25% (£18,750) on signing up to be a ‘Cru’ member. • 25% at harvest stage (£18,750). • 25% at the end of 2013 (£18,750), at the time of the blender tasting. • Final 25% when shipment is confirmed and your Grand Cru is delivered to the UK. • Alternatively, the full amount can be paid up-front and held in an escrow account and drawn down as per the above timetable. • You can organise a syndicate with any number of persons in the group. However, you will need to agree on various aspects of your journey, as the total price quoted only allows for one member of a group syndicate to travel to the Champagne region. There would be a small expenses supplement if more members want to travel and attend stages.
For info: 0800 313 4470; champagnewarehouse.com
●● With payments spread across the whole process, the per bottle price is equivalent to any of the top labels… squaremile.com
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how ANd wheN to PAY the bill
drinking. At this point you’ll create your unique signature label for the bottles. Finally, you will be invited back to Champagne to watch the disgorgement, labelling and packaging for shipping to your chosen address. Over the two years, you’ll need to set aside around ten days to spend in France and three in the UK. The most intensive time will be August–September 2012 where you can be involved in the all-important harvesting stage. As an extra bonus, visits can be made to other vineyards to taste their blends and styles. All that remains for you to do now is come up with a name that sparkles as much as the champagne… ■
the PAYMeNt StRUCtURe
experience will take around two years from sign-up to completion. The full package is priced at £75,000 but, with payments spread across the process, the per-bottle cost is equivalent to any of the top labels. The difference with this, though, is it will be your name not theirs on the label, and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the whole process, from grape to glass. The experience begins in April/May next year, when you will be invited to attend a day course in London. Here, you’ll meet your fellow ‘Cru’ members and be taught the many nuances of the champagne-making process. In July, you’ll travel to the Champagne region for the first time to discuss your specific requirements, from the amount of oak you want to the types of yeasts depending on the style of champagne most suited to your palate. To determine this there will naturally be a considerable amount of tasting along the way. Then, in August/September 2012, you will return to Champagne for the harvest, allowing you the chance to pick grapes and select the method of fermentation with which you want to progress. The next stage happens in March 2013, when you can help bottle your wine for its second fermentation and see it put to ‘rest’ in the cellar for 15 months. In December 2013, a sample of each wine will be imported by Champagne Warehouse and made available to you for a group tasting in London. This will be an opportunity to see how the wines are developing in the bottle. Around May 2014, you will be invited back to Champagne to taste your wine and to decide on your disgorgement date – when the bottle is moved from its fermentation stage and made ready for
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Down Mexico way…
For years, Cancun has been a hip hideaway for the North American party scene. It’s about time we got in on the action – especially when the tequila’s so good… Where to eat Ritz-CaRlton • ritzcarlton.com
Cancun boasts three restaurants with AAA Five Diamonds, one of the highest accolades awarded in the business. Two of these are to be found in the same hotel – the Ritz-Carlton Cancun. The Ritz-Carlton has in fact received this prestigious rating for both the resort as a whole, as well as its two fine dining restaurants Fantino and The Club Grill. The hotel is the only oceanfront resort in USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean that’s achieved this triple whammy. Of course, if you’re after something a little more rustic, then head downtown. Along the Avenida Tulum and on the Calle Yaxchilan, you’ll find a great range of restaurants frequented by tourists
and locals alike. These tend to be much cheaper than the ‘hotel zone’, and here you can soak up more of the local Mexican atmosphere with mariachis serenading you while you eat.
neighbouring Le Basilic. Our favourite, though, is the Bikini bar: as the name suggests, it has some of the best views in Cancun. The scenery’s not bad either.
Where to Party Where to Drink
CoCo Bongo • cocobongo.com.mx
FIestA AmerICANA GrANd CorAl BeACh • fiestamericana.com
Coco Bongo, with its 1,800-person capacity, is located in the heart of the bustling hotel zone. The multi-level seating and nightly rock’n’roll and salsa bands make it one of Cancun’s most lively and unique clubs. Beyond the live music, internationally-renowned DJs will fill the dance floor with an eclectic mix of 1970s, 1980s, dance, trance, hip hop and even rave. If you ask really nicely they may even play Terrorvision’s ‘Tequila, it makes me happy’. Although, probably not. ▶
Fiesta Americana, sprawled across the shore of Grand Coral Beach, boasts a resident tequila sommelier and a cigarmaker. With five award-winning bars and restaurants to choose from, it’s worth spending a few evenings here to decide which is your favourite. The Lobby bar’s huge windows paint a picture-perfect vista of the resort and Caribbean – and ‘atelier style’ bar snacks are provided by
PARTY TOWN: (top) all-night raves at Coco Bongo; (top right) Fiesta Americana; (centre right) Francisco Alcaraz; (bottom left) poolside at the Ritz-Carlton Cancun
▶ Where to Stay JW MaRRiott • marriott.com
The JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa is the first JW resort in the hotel group’s portfolio. This new resort is focused on satisfying the seasoned traveller who is looking for comfortable surroundings, with an emphasis on personalised service. Located on a beautiful stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, every room has a balcony and sea view. The resort is just two miles south of the Cancun centre, and all major shopping plazas, and 11 miles from the airport. Its 35,000 sq ft world-class spa, with Mayan theme, is unequalled in Cancun.
What to Drink tequila • patronspirits.com
How do you distinguish a good shot of tequila from a poor one? The first thing to look for are the words ‘100% agave’ (the fruit from which tequila is made) on the label – some tequilas use sugar cane or other ingredients to produce the alcohol, which reduces quality. But there are many factors in the production process that affect the outcome. Antonio Rodriguez, production manager at the hacienda of one of the world’s leading tequila brands, explains: “We only use the agave from Mexico’s highlands. The highlands provide
weather and soil that is better for agave.” Just like Champagne classification, the spirit is place-specific: only liquor produced in certain regions of Mexico can officially be called tequila. But there’s a world of difference between the cheap firewater slammers commonly drunk at parties with salt and lemon and the good stuff such as Patrón. “Salt and lemon was just used in the past to cover bad flavours and taste,” says Patrón’s master distiller and blender Francisco Alcaraz. “With quality tequila you have no need for that because it’s a pleasant drink. I like the taste of drinking it straight; I like the flavour of Agave. Tequila is an excellent drink: very noble. It’s part of our national identity – like mariachi (folk music)”. The standard ‘silver’ Patrón tequila is a 50/50 blend of two varieties – one using the ‘runner mill’ mechanical process to squeeze the juices from the cooked agave, the other a more traditional tahona (a volcanic stone). The effects are surprisingly different. The experts in Jalisco think it’s impure tequilas that give us the headaches, although they can’t account for people who really overdo it. “Ah, we can’t stop that,” laughs Rodriguez. “We can fix many things, but not that.” ■ Patrón is available from all good spirit stockists.
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●● Salt and lemon was just used in the past to cover bad flavours and taste: with quality tequila you have no need…
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the great hills of china
Panoramic mountain views, cloud-filled valleys and tranquil river cruises â€“ Amber mArks drifts back in time to the sub-tropical Guangxi province
Despite the increAsingly energetic efforts of Jonathan, my travel companion, to imitate cockroaches and butterflies, we are dramatically failing to communicate our desire to visit Shanghai’s Natural Wild Insect Kingdom. Neither of the women in the Tourist Information office speak English and both look increasingly distressed. On the assumption that “sex” would be more readily understood, I ask for directions to the sex museum, which I’d heard was located in the same vicinity. One of the women frowns at us and places her hands on her hips. She turns to her colleague and proceeds to flail her arms around erratically, before clawing at the air
with her hands and hissing quizzically, “Sex?” We exit the complex and crane our necks despairingly at the layers of architecture stretching across the skyline above us in an endless expanse of shimmering mirrors. The shocking contrast between the hightech sophistication of our present surroundings and yesterday’s Huang Shan mountain range had tricked us into believing that we’d be more readily understood here. It is our first day in Shanghai. Although we’d flown into the city from London seven days earlier, we had been met straight off the plane and speedily ushered into a bedroom within the airport complex where all clues of the futuristic metropolis were hidden. Three hours sleep and a short flight later we were among the mellowing mists of the subtropical and sparsely populated Guangxi province. We
sped through busy traffic and charred relics of abandoned crashes and round street corners where old ladies swapped tethered toads and terrapins for crumpled banknotes. I watched fish jump out of motorbike luggage boxes directly into street vendors’ ice-trays and neither of us blinked at the supernatural ease with which our driver dodged head-on collisions. In the midst of all this madness sits China’s latest five-star Shangri-La hotel, an enormous and opulent marble complex on the banks of the Li River at Guilin [pictured overleaf]. Dazed but bathed in luxury, I fell asleep to mountain-framed cormorant fishermen floating across my windowsill. The sun rising over mile upon mile of small and perfectly formed karst hills filled me with enthusiasm. A card on my breakfast table explained the box of complimentary luo han guo would ease my stools and phlegm enabling me to live a longer and more fulfilling life. ▶
weir, as a smiling stranger (a local farmer moonlighting as boatman) with a wooden pole laughs down at our scared white faces. The throngs in front of us scream in excitement before disappearing from view below us with a thud. This is the landscape all Chinese aspire to visit. Depicted on the 20 yuan bill, there is even a popular song about their universal yearning: “I want to go to Guilin, but when I have the time I have no money. I want to go to Guilin, I want to go to Guilin, but when I have the money I have no time.” Now, it seems, several million Chinese have both. Despite its popularity, the landscape is so immense that a peaceful silence pervades the hillsides. The threat of weirs behind us, we float in harmony with nature, the occasional makeshift off-license or photo
●● bathed in luxury, i fell asleep to mountain-framed cormorant fishermen floating across my windowsill…
An 11-day/nine-night private tour of China, with three nights at the Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai, two nights at the Shangri-La Guilin, two nights at the Shangri-La Hangzhou, a night on Huang Shan Mountain and a night in Tunxi is from £3,195 per person. Price includes all flights from Heathrow with British Airways, internal flights, transfers, excursions with private guide and rooms with breakfast. Contact: 0207 873 5000; coxandkings.co.uk
▶ Good to know. We take a cruise down the Li, gulping snake wine defiantly as our guide, Ruby, seeks to persuade us the snake in the bottle is unlikely to be real and the stunning, endless mountain peaks are the heads of English cats. Several hundred dauntingly shaped heads later the boat comes to a standstill at an apparently random, tree-lined rock. In fact, we had arrived at Yangshou where the streets are lined with funky cafes and shops selling everything from personalised dough sculptures to barbecued duck-dispensing vending machines. Ruby marches us past them (“not real silk here”) and asks us to choose a bicycle from a pile of rusting metal inside a ramshackle courtyard. Terrified, we clamber onto them and race her through the town’s traffic and out into the paddy fields where smiling peasants lounge in the emerging sun. “They’re actors,” Jonathan whispers to me. “The Chinese don’t do leisure.” But half an hour later, we come to the mouth of the Yulong River. Hundreds of Chinese couples armed with cameras float past us on bamboo rafts. What surprises most is not the number of tourists emerging from the tributaries, but that they are all Chinese. Before we know what hit us we’re among them, heading dangerously quickly towards a
booth our only distraction from the bamboo-lined crystal clear waters. Eventually, it transpires we are in fact on our way to the theatre; to a light spectacular by Zhang Yimou, of Beijing Olympics fame. The river is the stage, the moonlit mountains the backdrop, and an apparently inexhaustible population of hillside dwellers its dancing lights. Gorgeous though Guilin is, as the Chinese say, “Once you have seen Huang Shan, no other mountain will do.” The clouds and pine-studded cliff tops morph in dream sequences all around you – dragons, successions of wise men, monkeys, all shrouding the neverending staircases built 1,500 years ago – in disorientating mists through which yellow emperors ride carriages of smoke. I’m so visibly moved by the view from the summit our Confucian guide makes a point of telling the story of the poet Li Bai who allegedly died when he attempted, in a drunken stupor, to embrace the reflection of the moon in a pond. Exhausted by the steps and mentally paralysed by the beauty of the peaks surrounding us, we stare vacantly at our dinner that night. A huge white butterfly – about the size of a large man’s hand flies into the restaurant. It flutters above the table in front of us. The Chinese dinner guests flap excitedly in response. Even the waitress gasps at the sight of it. A symbol of the soul in China, the waitress carefully lifts it from its resting place on a man’s elbow and folds it within a napkin before taking it away and releasing it into the moonlight outside. “Did you see that butterfly, Jonathan?” “If it was a butterfly, the whole thing was staged. Or it’s a moth. Butterflies don’t fly at night.” But in China, I can confirm (once we manage to locate Shanghai’s Wild Insect Kingdom), they do. ■
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WHERE TO EAT
WHERE TO DRINK
MR & MRS BUND
ALCHEMIST COCKTAIL KITCHEN
This contemporary French restaurant from Paul Pairet, of Jade on 36 fame, serves up progressive cuisine in a relaxed setting. If overwhelmed by the extensive menu, then the maître d, Fabien Verdier, will happily assist; the duck foie gras mousse with raisin hazelnut crumble comes highly recommended. There is also a selection of 32 wines by the glass. The art deco-inspired space features an open kitchen, cocktail bar and two outdoor terraces. If entertaining, request the VIP room, otherwise opt for a table overlooking the Bund. For something totally new, though, Pairet’s new Ultraviolet promises a unique multi-sensory dining experience. A: Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu T: +86 21 6323 9898
Head to Kelley Lee and Eduardo Vargas’ latest venture – located inside a renovated 1920s colonial mansion – for a taste of intoxicating theatre. Brisbane-born bartender Ryan Noreiks expertly mixes together a range of fogs, foams and infusions to create some of Shanghai’s most inventive molecular potations. Try the La Flore Fixe – Corralejo Silver tequila, elderflower, absinthe, citrus and a sauvignon blanc fog. The interior gives a subtle nod to the Victorian era, with heavy use of oak and brick and vintage curios dotted around the space. Be sure to check out the bar snacks, which include Popcorn Pig Brain. A: Sinan Mansions, Block 32, 45 Sinan Lu T: +86 21 6426 0660
SHANGHAI NIGHTS When it comes to going large in the world’s largest City, there isn’t much TEN LIFESTYLE CONCIERGE doesn’t know...
WHERE TO SLEEP PUDONG SHANGRI-LA
It’s immediately obvious why heads of state choose to stay at the Pudong Shangri-La; the suites are the largest in town and the views of the Bund and Huangpu River – especially from the pool [pictured] – are sparkling. It also boasts the largest and most luxurious private spa suites in Shanghai. If you have the misfortune to only spend one night here, that’s no excuse for not trying all the restaurants; every one of them deserves your attention. Worldrenowned sushi chef Masami Honda will be happy to provide you with a starter before sitting down to a steak at ultra-chic French fancy Jade on 36 and then head to Gui Hua Lou for Willy Wonka-style dessert action. A: 33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong T: +86 21 6882 8888
WHERE TO PARTY M1NT
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There are a number of members’ clubs in Shanghai, at which nonmembers are generally admitted if they fit the bill. Only one, however, has a 17-metre shark tank alongside a translucent marble dancefloor. M1NT is a multi-faceted nightspot consisting of an Asian-fusion restaurant, cocktail lounge, roof terrace and nightclub. While some of the details – namely the bronze urinals, nude murals and crystal disco ball – may be viewed as overly lavish, the 21ft floor-to-ceiling windows, with views of the waterfront and the Lujiazui financial district, make up for it. Each night, international DJs spin a mix of old-school house, electro, pop and R&B. A: Floor 24, 318 Fuzhou Lu T: +86 21 6391 2811
For more lifestyle insight and ideas go to tenlifestyle.com or follow @tenlifestyle
A world away, in just over an hour
THE LADY OF THE LAKE
Katerina VarnaVides hit Zurich for some refinement
and pampering in a spa. So what’s all this about whisky, jazz and naked German women, then?… LooKing bacK now, I can’t remember what took my breath away first: the hotel perched on a hilltop like a fairytale castle; the crystal lake glistening in the sunshine; or the 360-degree views of the endless hills and snow-capped mountains in the distance. But I knew immediately I was somewhere special. Just like I knew when I was offered the chance to check in to one of the most exclusive spa hotels in the world that something was up. Try as my editor did to pass it off as “thanks for all your hard work”, he just wasn’t selling it. Plus, one of the sales boys hadn’t nabbed it. “So, what’s the catch?” I asked. “You can’t take a friend,” and, “It’s in Zurich,” came two matter-of-fact replies. Right. So, as far as the boys were concerned it wouldn’t impress their latest squeeze. And, as a recent Yahoo! poll ranked it Europe’s most boring city, they didn’t think they’d be able to score either. But to me? To me it presented the chance to have a weekend all to myself (trust me, I’m great company), enjoy treatments at the Dolder Grand’s luxury health spa, and to eat in its restaurant, which has two Michelin stars and 17 Gault Millau points under its belt. As that was the only belt I was concerned with getting under, I hesitated only for effect. “OK, I’ll go.” And that’s how I came to be lying naked in the arms of a German lady. Zurich not sounding so boring now, eh, boys? More of that later. Arriving in my room, dark wooden floors and curved white walls framed the panoramic lake view perfectly. Sliding open a mirrored door, I found a whirlpool bath sitting in front of the window. A tub and a chance for a little exhibitionism 104 squAreMile
– had the Dolder designed this room especially for me? Though it was early afternoon the candles and rose petals lured me in. (The bottle of Veuve Clicquot beside the bath had nothing to do with it.) Given it’s only an hour’s flight from London plus a 20-minute drive to the hotel, I didn’t really deserve or need such pampering – it can take me longer to get across some parts of the capital, after all. But it didn’t stop me from looking forward to my first meal at the Dolder’s two-Michelin starred restaurant. Every dish was like a work of art, positioned with care on a spotlight in the middle of the table. Asparagus with raspberry and mustard, tuna with tobiko wasabi, fried octopus with lemon buttermilk ice-cream, dish after exotic dish arrived; and that was just the starters. The main course of beef with onions, cinnamon and sesame was so tender it practically cut itself. After sleeping like a princess, I found myself dragged from the hotel’s comfort to explore the city which, despite its ‘most boring’ poll win, also won ‘best quality of life’ in another. My grumbles about the wet weather were ignored as we left. ▶
●● Zurich, despite its ‘most boring city in the world’ poll award, also won ‘best quality of life’ in another… squaremile.com
Travel ZUrICH squaremile.com
in the library – of spirits. Widder Bar, in the Augustiner Quarter, is near the Bahnhofstrasse, but the hotel’s limousine service saves your feet. With 500 spirits (including 250 malt whiskies), it is ideal for someone who knows what they want or, indeed, likes to experiment. But for someone like me, who finds choosing a toothpaste difficult, it was a nightmare. Two hours, and three different whiskies later (that’s not technically mixing your drinks, is it?) important decisions had been made about how to spend the rest of my stay. Straight to the spa was my considered conclusion – and into the arms of a German woman who asked me to get naked. Completely? Yes. I can’t honestly tell you what she did to me but her hands made me feel so good I forgave her for highlighting the whiteness of my bum. I whiled away the afternoon with soothing music spinning in a little pod hung from the relaxation room’s ceiling. Small windows gave me a glimpse outside but not enough to infringe on the special moment the Dolder and I were sharing. Each spa room offered a new
●● straight to the spa was my conclusion – and into the arms of a german woman who asked me to get naked… delight from a bath with hot pebbles to making snowballs in the snow room. My last night I consoled myself with delicious apple-ginger martinis in the live jazz bar, gazing at candles I’d swear were floating in mid-air, Hogwarts-style. Within hours, my love affair felt too easily ripped away from me and I was back to reality at City Airport with a bump. Zurich – and the Dolder especially – is about enjoying the finer things in life. If you find that boring then, frankly, you’re just not doing it right. ■ Dolder Grand rooms from £416 per night; +41 44 456 60 00; thedoldergrand.com
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▶ Luckily, the rain wasn’t enough to distract from the charm of the city’s old town, which lies either side of the Limmat river. We wandered narrow walkways packed with colourful buildings, medieval houses and grand municipal buildings from the Renaissance period. Fed up with the rain, we took refuge
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GLENEAGLES HAS LANDED
Falconry, clay pigeon shooting, 4x4 off-roading, horse-riding… and you thought the grand Scottish hotel only targeted golfers. martin deeson lords it up for a weekend
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if there are two words in the English language designed to make any right-thinking man recoil in horror and run for the nearest deep-buttoned leather arm chair, it is the doom-laden phrase, ‘activity holiday’. Visions of men with massive thighs and mirrored wraparound shades cramming into tiny, stupid sailing dinghies, compete with the living horror of any group activity involving heavy sweating, other than having a sauna or enjoying a beer in a very hot country. ‘Country sports’, on the other hand, squaremile.com
conjures up an entirely different set of images. It’s all about the après sport: getting cold and wet and a bit out of breath seems worthwhile if it’s conducted in scenery that would take God’s breath away and is book-ended with a full Scottish breakfast at one end and a large glass of malt by a roaring fire at the other. Now, that, my friends, is what sport should be: fun, productive (that is, you might actually bring something home you can eat) and involving plenty of boys’ toys (guns, Land Rovers, eagles, that ▶
●● the highland hotel was founded in 1924 as a retreat for english and scottish ruling classes and frequently visited by royalty… squAreMile 109
●● my wife decided to try something new and declared this sport beloved of the duke of edinburgh to be “quite easy”…
GREAT SCOT: From top: falconry training – more fun than it looks; trout fishing in the neighbouring loch
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▶ kind of stuff). Talking of which, who would ever have thought falconry could be fun? Surely it’s little more than making yourself a living perch, and hoping the enormous budgie on your arm doesn’t go for your face – but, oh how wrong it’s possible to be. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, let’s cover the basics. Gleneagles was founded in 1924 as a Highland retreat for the English and Scottish ruling classes. Frequently visited by royalty and once as much a part of the Season as Cowes Week, the hotel is now owned by drinks brand Diageo, and in the 1980s the whole place was restored to its original art-deco splendour. The scene of 2005’s (in)famous G8 Summit when the hippies and swampies camped out around its illustrious gates in a doomed attempt to get their voices heard by the world’s leaders as they hovered over the hippies’ unwashed, dreadlocked heads in gas-guzzling helicopters, the hotel is now popular with businesses wishing to decamp to discreet surroundings for conferences. Or with corporate brain-stormers, with golfers anxious to stretch their skills on its three award-winning links (the King’s Course, Queen’s Course and PGA Centenary Course, as well as a nine-hole course called the Wee Course). Or, as in our case, with couples and families keen to breathe crystal-clear air, or try Highland sports
and reward themselves afterwards with Scotland’s finest seasonal produce. Our third-floor suite was probably the most practical I have seen in any hotel. An interlocking chain of three rooms, separated by long corridors, it would be ideal for parents who wish to put a living room between themselves and the kids, or businessmen who need their PA within shouting distance, or oligarchs or politicians who travel with close personal protection teams. For me, it was ideal as it meant my wife and I had separate bathrooms (Oh, thank you God, at last), our own dressing rooms, Nespresso machines, and even separate beds – (luckily the latter did not prove necessary, though the second bar came in handy). First up on the country sports stakes was clay pigeon shooting for the Lord and horse-and-carriage driving for the Lady. An accomplished rider, my wife decided to try her hand at something new and declared this sport beloved of the Duke of Edinburgh to be “quite easy”. Meanwhile, I lorded it round what used to be racing driver Jackie Stewart’s shooting school (now Gleneagles’ own). Despite a disappointing 38 out of 70, the tuition was first-class. Sadly, they can’t do much about you being blind and rubbish. Next, I had a bash at archery while Lady ▶
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A LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN IN THE HEART OF THE AMALFI COAST www.casangelina.com
ESTATE WE’RE IN: (above) The perfectly-manicured hotel garden is part of an 850-acre estate; (below) the shooting school used to be owned by driver Jackie Stewart
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▶ Deeson continued to torture some poor horse. Archery, I have to report, is best left to children and the incurably lazy. That night we ate in the Strathearn where the bounty of Scotland’s heaths and lochs was teased into mouth-watering dishes. Breakfast the next morning was in the same place, the hotel’s most formal restaurant resembling the ballroom in The
Shining. Suitably fortified with kippers, we were more than ready for a crammed day of off-road driving, gun dog training and falconry. The latter – definitely the activity I had been least looking forward to – was a revelation and turned out to be about the most fun you can have with a bird while standing up. Off-road driving through frozen streams and up impossible gradients in a Land Rover Defender made the wife scream, always a bonus, and gun dog training was an hour in the company of the best-trained dogs it has ever been my privilege to meet. All domestic pets will seem like delinquents in comparison. Few things give a man a sense of achievement as much as guiding a falcon to your arm from a distant branch, whacking a 4x4 up a hill you’d struggle to climb in sturdy boots and seeing a dog retrieve a hidden decoy as it responds to your hand movements; and all in the course of one crisply freezing winter’s day under skies the colour of lapis lazuli.
●● few things give a man a sense of achievement as much as guiding a falcon to your arm from a branch The last night’s dinner was in the less formal Deseo, where a Mediterranean take on local produce had langoustines leaping from plate to palate and oysters hurling themselves to a digestive demise. All that was left was one of the world’s great drives back through amazing scenery to make the flight home. I almost wished I’d had time to try some golf. ■ The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire; 01764 662 231; gleneagles.com
Pro oPE rty
DECKS APPEAL The Thames-front terrace of the show penthouse at Crest Nicholsonâ€™s The Pier, Ingress Park. Based in Greenhithe, this development is positioned among 72 acres of landscaped grounds. crestnicholson.com
LIVING IT UP IN THE CLUB The Baltimore Wharf development provides apartment owners with chic, modern living in central Docklands plus their own private members’ club and gym on top
ProPerty DoCKLANDS Finding the perFect place to live is always a toss-up between form and functionality. Fortunately, Docklands’ Baltimore Wharf offers both in spades. Owning a home here is not just a case of acquiring a property, it’s also about joining The Club, a unique private members’ gym. Inside the complex, there is one of the most ambitious urban
●● the club mixes state-of-the-art technology with edgy design. if MtV designed a gym, this would be it… squaremile.com
gym and leisure facilities ever created for a private residence. Blurring the line between socialising and exercising, The Club mixes state-of-the-art technology with edgy, cool design. If MTV designed a gym, this would be it (with marginally less bling, perhaps). Alongside the 25-metre pool, cardio suite, boxing area, basketball court and training room, you’ll find a bar, movie screening room plus games area including interactive computer games, a competitive pool table, table football and table tennis. And, if you just want to chill, there’s always Zen, the Club’s spa, featuring a relaxation lounge area, steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy suite and solarium. Best of all, the extensive leisure facilities are only made available to residents. Located a short walk from the DLR platform at Crossharbour, Baltimore Wharf is just three quick stops away from
Canary Wharf, or a leisurely ten minute stroll. Riverboat services give you quick access to the City, while City Airport is located 15 minutes from your doorstep. The apartments themselves are characterised by bright, open spaces and offer state-of-the-art, fitted open-plan kitchens and large en-suite bathrooms. Alongside the range of two- and three-room properties, limited duplex apartments are also available. These fantastic spaces all have waterfront views and designer Poggenpohl kitchens. The only downside to living here, as far as we can tell, is you’ll probably never want to leave. Although, you certainly shouldn’t have too much difficulty getting your friends to come over to visit you. ■ Two-bedroom, one bathroom apartments from £370,000; duplex premier apartments from £885,000; for more information or to visit the marketing suite: 020 7517 8800; baltimorewharf.com
BUILDING ON A LEGACY
Finding an estate agent with integrity is like discovering an honest stockbroker: it doesn’t happen very often. Fortunately, Anderson Rose is bucking the trend...
ProPerty ANDerSoN roSe Much like their counterparts in the banking industry, estate agents aren’t exactly universally loved by the general public. (Especially the ones that drive around in those annoying Minis.) But Jon Byers, founder of Anderson Rose, is approaching the business differently. Far from the faceless conglomerates, Anderson Rose was in fact founded in memory of one of the business’s great men – Hampton’s late managing director Mark Anderson, who led the international agency for many years until he passed away in July 2010. In launching Anderson Rose, Byers was keen to create an agency that stood out for its passion and integrity. With more than a decade of experience in the Tower Bridge and City of London market, considerable local expertise comes as part of the package too. Byers and his wife lived in Shad Thames until the pitter-patter of tiny feat dictated a move to the countryside. “We were so lucky,” explains Byers, “We first rented a beautiful apartment in squaremile.com
China Wharf that overlooked the river. We shouldn’t have been able to afford it but it was in its original 1984 specification and nobody wanted to rent it. We were quite happy to trade a melamine kitchen and a couple of tatty bathrooms for such a stunning view of the river. “We then bought our first home in Butler’s Wharf. My budget wouldn’t extend to one on the waterfront but we spotted a large studio apartment on the market and converted it into a one bedroom. It opened onto one of the Shad Thames bridges, which we used as a terrace. My wife was a nurse at Guy’s Hospital and I was running Hamptons’ City office so the area made a perfect home for us. We still miss it, in fact.” Coincidentally, Anderson Rose has just taken on an apartment in Butler’s Wharf, which is very similar to the one Byers used to own (pictured above). It has come to the market with a price tag of £649,950 and features exposed brick walls, a Philippe Starck bathroom, walnut floors and a stunning stainless steel
kitchen. Butler’s Wharf is now one of the most prestigious addresses on the South Bank and provides 24-hour security and underground parking. When you move to an area, the first thing you do is find the hidden gems – that cute coffee shop; a brilliant organic butcher; the best pub for whiling away an afternoon. Now, with Anderson Rose, there’s an estate agency that falls into the same bracket. Like Mark Anderson himself, that is a rare thing. ■ For more info: 020 3324 0188; andersonrose.co.uk
●● in Anderson rose, Byers was keen to create an agency that stood out for both its passion and integrity... SquareMile 119
020 3324 0188 www.andersonrose.co.uk
The Circle, Queen Elizabeth Street, SE1 ÂŁ599,950 Leasehold This second floor apartment has a balcony and is located in the Piers Gough designed Circle development which provides 24 hour porterage and secure car parking.
Scotts Sufferance Wharf, Mill Street, SE1 ÂŁ850,00 Leasehold This top floor apartment offers a great view across the roof tops towards the City of London and Tower Bridge, whilst the river Thames is at the end of the street.
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020 3324 0188 www.andersonrose.co.uk
Springalls Wharf Apartments, SE16 Offers over ÂŁ900,000 Leasehold An immaculately presented 1,238 sq ft ground floor apartment complete with river view, 2 double bedrooms, a private decked terrace area and two parking spaces.
Cromwell Tower, Barbican, EC2 ÂŁ895,000 Leasehold A spacious 3 bedroom apartment with practical layout located on the 15th floor in the grade II listed Barbican. Stunning views towards The Gherkin and The Shard.
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The Docklands. Arguably Londonâ€™s best property investment.
The Docklands are booming. Rental rates are up 12% and capital appreciation is forecast at over 30% in the next five years.* There is huge demand, but new-build waterside stock is severely limited. Baltimore Wharf is located adjacent to Canary Wharf with City Airport close at hand, and itâ€™s soon to be home to the largest gym of any private residence in East London.
Find out more, visit www.baltimorewharf.com *Source: Savills Spotlight on Prime Residential East of City Markets
Two bedroom apartments from ÂŁ375,000 Contact
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A computer generated image of Braddick House
Claygateâ€™s best kept secret Foley House & Braddick House Ruxley Heights, Claygate, Surrey KT10 OTZ Two substantial 5 bedroom detached residences set within an enviable location, close to the village. Show Home Open from Saturday 5th November 2011 Price on application The entrance to Ruxley Heights Private Estate
For further information please call 01732 770991
A computer generated image of Liskeard Villas
Launching early 2012 liskeard villas Liskeard Gardens, Blackheath SE3 0PE A select development of just three, 5 bedroom highly specified homes with garages. Situated in a sought-after location, close to the heath, all amenities and transport links. Prices from £2million Blackheath
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1 & 2 BEDRooM APARTMENTS FRoM juST £157,500 WITH THE PoTENTIAL To EARN g R o S S R E N T A L y I E L D S o F 6 % .* Contemporary apartments perfectly located close to excellent DLR and overground travel links; just six miles from central London, Lewisham is a commuter’s location of choice with a journey time of 10 minutes to London Bridge.
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*6% rental return is based on plot 22 priced at £175,500 with a rental of £900pcm, subject to availability and Crest Nicholson’s terms and conditions. Figures provided by Acorn Estate Agents. Travel times are approximate. Digital illustration is indicative only. Image of Canary Wharf. Prices correct at time of going to press.
A wATErsIDE PENThousE IN ThE PErfEcT locATIoN Enjoy river views and a new 2 bedroom penthouse at The Pier at Ingress Park boasting a fantastic location close to Ebbsfleet International.
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Your new apartment will also enjoy: n Fully fitted flooring and light fittings n A luxury interior specification n Fully fitted kitchens with integrated appliances n Bold contemporary architecture n Secure underground parking
The Pier, Ingress Park Near Bluewater | Kent | DA9 9EQ
www.crestnicholson.com/ingresspark Prices correct at time of going to press. Photography taken at The Pier.
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HOW TO: FIT IN WITH THE YACHTING SET SAILING IS THE 21st century way to do business. A place where connections are made, deals done, and friendships forged. It’s essential to be able to mix comfortably in sailing circles but it’s easier than you think, thanks to these helpful tips from Richard Mackney, 2009 title-holder of ‘Hampshire’s Wettest Man’.
PREPARATION You are no longer simply a guest who’s been invited onto your boss’s boat. You are also a member of the crew and will be expected to help out if asked. Before the trip it’s wise to visit a nearby harbour or yachting marina. Take a notebook with you and jot down a list, familiarising yourself with the basics of sailing. When you get home re-read your list. It is shorter than you expected: ‘water, boats, twats in polo shirts with more money than me’. GOING SOLO To become really comfortable with the movements of a craft on water it is best to start by controlling a vessel on your own. That way you can learn the basics of manoeuvrability, launching, and the effects of movement and tide. Very
soon you find yourself master of your own vessel. Your wife will eventually bang on the door, tell you to get out of the bath and to give your son back his toy boat. You have been in there for two days. You are cold and everything about you is wrinkled.
WHAT TO WEAR Remember this is still a day spent with your boss and it is important to impress. If conditions are warm, shorts are fine but you need to harness the tricky combination of efficiency, waterproofing and style. Scratchresistant materials such as plastic and leather are ideal and footwear should be able to grip on wet surfaces. Skin should be coated with a fish-based oil to avoid unnecessary chafing. The admiring stares of the harbour crew tell you you’ve nailed the look when you arrive in knee-high baseball boots, leather shorts and zip-up rubber vest, reeking of crab meat. ALL HANDS ON DECK In choppy conditions always remember the essential sailing phrase: ‘keep one hand for yourself and one hand for the boat’. In really choppy conditions you might need to adapt it to: ‘keep both hands in the air and run around screaming for help’. COPING WITH SEASICKNESS Seasickness is a treacherous but common malady, most likely to strike at the least opportune moment such as dinnertime with your boss and his wife. Do not try to cover it up. If you do think you are suffering, keep an eye on solid land or on the horizon. In rough conditions simply adhere to the age-old technique: head between legs, focus on floor. Breathe deeply. If you do feel hot and dizzy and have to ‘unload’ then do not fight it. A few minutes later you ‘come round’ to find yourself staring at a pair of stilettos sprayed with the gastric detritus of your scallop dinner. A lesson here: always make sure you put your head between your own legs.
●● Your wife will bang on the door, tell you to get out of the bath and to give your son back his toy boat… LEARN THE LANGUAGE Sailing is well-known for its specialised and distinct terminology. Crew members may try to chuff your whisker pole and french your tell-tales. They may even attempt to sheave you up the spreader while hanking your gaff-alley. However, none of those words has anything to do with sailing and you may be able to press charges. SIGHTS AND SOUNDS No one respects the inexperienced novice. Virgin sailors are conspicuous by their fearfulness and smooth skin. Indulge in banter with fictional tales of that perilous beam wind off Maputo and a torn mailsail in a force 12 off Durban. And parade your scars: that barracuda off the Florida Keys, the playful young thresher that took a chunk of your leg off Nassau. You can prepare these at least a week before by getting a drunk friend to attack you with a cheese grater. ONE OF THE GANG Sailing is commonly used as a bonding tool. Lasting friendships are often formed in extreme physical conditions. You may find you slip into the community with remarkable ease and find sailing folk a close-knit and tactile bunch. At the end of a long voyage, relish that moment as you all sit round the fire singing sea shanties such as ‘In The Navy’, ‘It’s Raining Men’, and ‘I Will Survive’ with your thick-set, shaven-headed new friends and enjoy your first taste of seamen. ■
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Square Mile magazine - Issue 63 - 'Making Cash from the Crash' - How Hollywood has made a killing from the banking crisis
Published on Oct 23, 2011
Square Mile magazine - Issue 63 - 'Making Cash from the Crash' - How Hollywood has made a killing from the banking crisis