squaremile T H E VO I C E O F T H E C I T Y
CAN ANY JOKER BE A BANKER?
It’s bonus season, so we sent rank amateur Richard Mackney to trading school, just to remind everyone why you earn the big bucks...
£3.25 ISSUE 46
Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S: urban MODEL FEATURED IS A MERCEDES-BENZ SLR MCLAREN ROADSTER 772 S AT £XXX,XXX.XX ON THE ROAD (ON THE ROAD PRICE INCLUDES VAT, DELIVERY, 12 MONTHS’ ROAD FUND LICENCE, NUMBER PLATES, FIRST REGISTRATION FEE AND FUEL). PRICES CORRECT
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Only 150 of this legendary SLR Roadster have been made, 7 of which live in the UK. You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one.
Today’s SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S is the most powerful, and the last of its model line up. The passing of this icon marks the end of an era. Enthusiasts take note. A unique, groundbreaking, sports car with a maximum speed of 335 km/h, the 722 S snarls into life with the technology of a Formula 1 racer. It eagerly sprints from zero to 100 km/h in a breathtaking 3.7 seconds.
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www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com ÂŠ Copyright Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited 2010. The Rolls-Royce name and logo are registered trademarks.
squaremile T h e vo i c e o f T h e c i T y
EDITOR Martin Deeson DEPUTY EDITOR Mark Hedley ART EDITOR Matthew Hasteley CITY EDITOR Jon Hawkins ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eugene Costello FASHION EDITOR Amelia Pruen CONTRIBUTORS Jamel Akib, Mike Baghdady, Judith Baker, Bernadette Costello, Neil Davey, James Gurney, Angela Knight, Richard Mackney, Antonia Methuen, Steve McDowell, Gavin Newsham, Chris Peck, Rhymer Rigby, Christian Sylt, Russ Tudor, Ian Valentine, Saul Wordsworth JUNIOR DESIGNER Katerina Varnavides EDITORIAL INTERNS Oliver Galvin-Jones, Amelia Kinlochan DESIGN INTERN Lucy Grafton-Green PRINTING Colourfast Europe
MANAGING DIRECTOR Tim Slee MARKETING Clare Brind PRINT ADVERTISING Michael Berrett, Mark Edwards, Christian Morrow, Kevin Rudge, Tom Rutherford EVENT ADVERTISING Vicky Miller, Alex Watson ACCOUNTS Steve Cole, Natalie Jackson
CONTACT 020 7819 9999
CERTIFIED DISTRIBUTION: 26,867 (Jan-June 2009) square mile uses paper from sustainable sources
FRONT COVER THERE HAS TO be some compensation for being the nation’s punchbag. Trouble is, it’s the compensation that’s encouraging the punching of the bag in the first place. Hmm... tricky. After the collapse BONUS ROUND of western free-market capitalism last year with the government’s bailout of the banking system, even hoi polloi aren’t so dumb as to not see a fatal problem with the old “we have to pay massive bonuses because of the free market” argument. You can’t have a free market in remuneration, when you don’t have one for the mug taxpayers who end up picking up the bill, can you? Well, at least, you can’t with a straight face... Sometimes we wish a few more bankers would have the balls to stick up their hands – as we know they do in private – and say, “You know what, my bonus and pay are indefensible. But I’d be a right muppet if I freely gave up a medium-sized lottery win every year without a bit of a struggle.” You’d be amazed how much the public likes a bit of honesty. They don’t mind Jordan getting a mill for getting married or John Terry pulling down £135k a week (ah, if only that was all he’d been pulling down...). For such big-balled honesty we may have to look to the next generation who have lived through this fiasco and seen the rotten job the industry has done of PR’ing itself. To catch these up-and-comers in action you could do worse than get yourself along to the square mile 30 Under 30 Awards on Friday 26 March at the Hilton Park Lane. There, the under-30s – in eight categories from entrepreneurship to law and finance – will be awarded and entertained by guest speakers and a slap-up lunch. To nominate, or to buy tables contact clareb@squareupmedia. com. You might even hear someone being honest...
Martin Deeson, Editor email@example.com
To receive your complimentary subscription to square mile visit squaremileclub.com/subs
The joker in the pack: we sent broadcaster, journalist and general jester Richard Mackney to see how hard it was to be a trader for a day. His career in the City looks to be about as successful as in media…
◀ IAN VALENTINE
...is a freelance journalist who currently writes a column on field sports for GQ. His book Travelling Jack – Fifty-Two Weeks in the Country is a must read for any country sportsman.
▶ CHRISTIAN SYLT
...covers the leisure and sports industries for the Financial Times, the Telegraph and the Independent and authors Formula Money, the annual trade guide to Formula One.
◀ MIKE BAGHDADY
...won 2009’s live trading competition at Frankfurt’s World of Trading expo, beating the biggest traders in the business. He currently runs trading school spyglasstrading.co.uk.
▶ NEIL DAVEY
...is a former banker. His CV also features a stint working alongside a famous socialite and as a cheesemonger. No, really. He now writes about anything you can do sitting down. © Square Up Media Limited 2010. 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.
SQUARE MILE ISSUE 46
CITY 50 . CRUISE CONTROL The business behind the Queen Mary 2.
53 . ANGELA KNIGHT
We need to keep our bankers in the country, even if it means big bonuses, says the BBA chief.
55 . POST-ITS
Lunching in a members-only club the cheat’s way, investing in film and a pen made from horse hair.
UPFRONT 12 . UP & COMING
17 . NOTICE BOARD 18 . CITY TALK
23 . ACCESSORIES 24 . THE INSIDER
26 . FASHION PREVIEW
57 . TIME LORD
Rhymer Rigby meets TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.
30 . THE BONUS-O-METER
60 . BUCK UP YOUR IDEAS
Is it the end of the bumper bonus? Peanuts or pay dirt, here’s how to spend it...
The greenback’s fighting back, says master trader Mike Baghdady.
36 . SHOOTING UP
64 . CITY FOCUS
English guns: an asset class on the rise.
The inaugural square mile 30 Under 30 London Talent Awards and the arduous task of tasting champagne.
40 . DIAMOND DOLLS
Beautiful women, jewels and lingerie. Never say we don’t spoil you...
CHEQUELIST 68 . MOTORS BENTLEY GT SPEED 75 . REVIEW GALVIN
75 . REVIEW THE RITZ CLUB 76 . REVIEW THE CAPITAL
79 . WINE MILE HIGH CLUB
82 . TRAVEL THE CARIBBEAN
90 . PROPERTY BARBADOS
92 . PROPERTY DESIGNER PADS
ENDNOTES 96 . LOWER LIFE
CITY DICKS & CITY DONS P12 FROM BARINGS TO BOOKS P14 ONWARD VIRGIN TRADER P18 FASHION: SPRING CITY P26
STILL THE DADDY
P23 SEXY BEAST: Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore has dominated the market in macho time monsters for years. Now the new Grand Prix is taking up the torch and scaring off wimpier rivals
#20 become a poLice officer
I know the police aren’t always popular – especially when they shoot people to death for no reason or blow up crowds of protesters. But think about it: without this merry band of do-gooders, who regularly give up their Tuesdays to uphold the laws of government, all manner of unfortunate things would transpire unchecked, including looting, shooting, hooting and the stealing of identities. People often refer to the thin blue line. This denotes the tiny difference between being a police officer and beating up a police officer. Maybe it’s a roundabout way of saying that if you are close to and understand the criminal mind (ie, you are a bit naughty yourself), you are better equipped to catch such criminals, as they fall out of trees (criminals often live in trees). Another concept synonymous with our boys in blue is the nice and nasty treatment. This is when one officer is kind and tender, while the other behaves as if they’ve just lost their entire family in a hurricane. An example: “What’s with all these questions, eh? You must be tired. Would you like a back rub?” (nice) “That would be lovely. Thank you.” “I wouldn’t give you a back rub. I think you’re a rotter.” (nasty) There are fewer bobbies on the beat than there once were. This is mainly owing to a reduction in the number of beats. Of the police officers left, half are in fact computer generated (take a swing: you will find that most of the time your hand passes straight through). This is a cost-cutting exercise. Exercise has also been cut as part of the exercise. As a result policemen are growing heavier and are now known as blobbies, not bobbies. ■
SWINGING DICK? OR JUST A DICK HEAD?
“FreeZe! You Are all under a vest!”
100 Things to do After the City
▲ BoRIS JoHnSon: While the rest of the country is ready to storm the City wielding pitchforks and calling for bankers, heads on spikes, at least someone’s got our backs. our glorious Mayor has leapt to the defence of the City, first accusing Alistair Darling of “fasttracking the departure of this talent pool out of Britain”, before claiming that anyone attacking the City “must be stark staring bonkers”. We’ll conveniently ignore the fact that Boris accusing people of being bonkers is well into the realms of black pots and kettles. Still, if you’re up shit creek, you don’t care who’s selling paddles... ▲ JEFFERIES & Co: Employees found an average of almost $3,000 each for victims of the Haitian earthquake. Proof, were it needed (and evidently it is), that we’re not all a bunch of heartless bastards. ▲ noURIEL RoUBInI: Dr Doom’s transition to hardliving playboy shows no sign of abating, as photos of a new Year’s Eve packed with celebs attest. there’s nothing so smug as a man proved right... ▲ LEHMAn BRoS: thought they were gone? Wrong. the 230 derivatives traders still unwinding the bank’s portfolio are set for a bumper bonus haul this year. ▲ PoRn BAnKER: Macquarie broker and supermodel fan David Kiely kept his job after being caught on tV ogling pics of Miranda Kerr at his desk. Justice at last! ▲ SALt: Stressed City crackpots have been trying out an alternative to the more traditional white powders on offer in the Square Mile: a rejuvenating salt cave. ▲ RICHARD BRAnSon: the latest step in beardy's quest for world domination has seen him hoover up a bank. What next? Virgin Subprime? ▲ HEInZ: Set up a City caff serving baked beans and had bankers queueing out the door for breakfast. Chicago’s claim to be the windy city looks endangered. ▲ tonY VERRIER: took some tullett Preboners away for a lads’ weekend in Majorca and then poached them for BGC. And lost his phone. Careless and hospitable. ▲ tonY BLAIR: Making cash in the face of adversity...
WANT TO NOMINATE SOMEONE?: Work with a legend? Or a turkey?
Up & Coming
▼ BILLY BRAGG: the tory-baiting leftie strummer may literally be going down this month, having pledged to stop paying income tax until bonuses at RBS are limited to £25k. Sorry, he has an income? ▼ tAStE: this month’s most tasteful investment opportunity: the solid gold 46664 bangle, engraved with nelson Mandela’s historic prisoner number. Billy Bragg ‘prisoner of conscience’ edition available soon. ▼ CRISPIn oDEY: Revealed to have generously given £25k to the Christian Party: conservatives with an antiimmigration and anti-gay stance. Hedging his bets? ▼ MAn UnItED: Spiralling debts and a tranche of mediocre performances on the pitch at the theatre of (broken) Dreams. nope – still don’t feel sorry for them. ▼ BILL GRoSS: Says the UK economy is lying “on a bed of nitroglycerine”. the PIMCo founder suggests incontinence sheets. And no more smoking in bed... ▼ ARt: Damien Hirst and tracey Emin throw their ‘work’ into a giant bin in the name of conceptual art. And to wind up Charles Saachi. I could have done that. ▼ DIVoRCE: Down five per cent in the recession, onS study shows. Incidentally, suicide rates up six per cent over the same period. Pure coincidence, of course. ▼ SIR FRED GooDWIn: With a £340k-a-year pension square mile would be happy to lounge around in its pants all day drinking champagne. So why the new job?
Contact us with your City Winners & Losers: firstname.lastname@example.org
▼ tHE RECESSIon: over. So what was the fuss about?
I’m starting to call him Barack o-backwards, because every one of his viewpoints on every issue is 180 degrees opposite from where it should be
S E L L
▼ tonY BLAIR: Having steered the country towards economic ruin with his party’s ‘light touch’ approach to regulation, our former dear leader is wasting no time in offering his services as a geopolitical sage. In the same week in which the Iraq inquiry hauled him over the coals, Blair was announced as a paid speaker for hedge fund Lansdowne Partners, whose co-founder, Paul Ruddock, is also a major tory party donor. It’s quite some achievement to anger practically everybody on the planet simultaneously, but then tony always did promise to unite the country…
CHIP HAnLon, PreSIdent, deLtA GLoBAL AdVISorS
THE CITY’S WINNERS AND LOSERS
Crunch Bunch #11 in our reguLar series for peopLe who’ve missed the news... John Lobb tapisserie sLippers from £2,500
WHen It CoMeS to making brogues for the modern-day dandy, they don’t come better heeled than John Lobb. But when it comes to slippers, ask the master bootmakers to create a pair, and it seems to go, well, pear-shaped. Don’t get us wrong: we’re sure the quality of these bespoke slippers is top notch – and undoubtedly the hand embroidering by London’s only remaining dedicated needlepoint specialist Tapisserie is very special indeed. But when it came to the pattern what the hell were they thinking? We’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve – but on your feet?... Fortunately, you can choose your own pattern – although it will take six months to design and sew. Perhaps you should go for a bone motif? At least that way your dog can give them a good chew. ■ tapisserie.co.uk; johnlobb.com
Up & Coming
#1 in the first of our new series on peopLe who have escaped the city, we meet banker-turned-author John mcLaren
Lamborghini reventòn roadster, €1.1m
Most of us have dreamed of piloting a fighter jet at some point but found our chances severely hampered by a lack of ability, poor eyesight or a natural fear of the homoerotic scenes in Top Gun. Fortunately, the boys at Lamborghini can get you pretty close to the experience with their new Reventòn Roadster. Its designers have gone above and beyond the call of duty (and, frankly, sanity) when creating this magnificent
driving machine. Besides its looks – heavily inspired by stealth bombers and fighter jets – it has a top speed of 205mph and costs about the same amount as second-hand MiG. A 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds is pretty snappy too. And little compares to the howl of the 6.5-litre V12 – if you’re one of the lucky 20 owners, you’ll be able to sing Take My Breath Away safe in the knowledge that no one will be able to hear you over the engine noise. ■
Best-selling thriller writer John McLaren began his career in the Foreign Office before moving into banking as a director of Barings. Subsequently, he had roles at Hambrecht and Quist Venture Partners. Morgan Grenfell and Deutsche Bank. He is also the chairman of the Barchester Group, which provides impartial strategic and corporate finance advice.
CARtoon: Modern toss, moderntoss.com
“I turned to writing because, if I’m honest, I grew tired of being in the City. It wasn’t the people – they were all perfectly decent – but it just wasn’t me. To use that American phrase, I wasn’t ‘comfortable in my own skin’. That’s why I decided to tunnel my way out. It had always struck me, for instance, that nobody who works in financial services could explain to people who don’t work in financial services what they actually do. I remember asking one guy what he actually did in the bank once and he said “I underwrite convertibles” which sounded a bit like car insurance to me. I suppose it was like finding yourself in a jungle where you know you’ve got to get out but you’ve got no compass and you don’t know which route to take. The tricky part is having a plan and executing it. That’s what I did. I never thought that I was just going to go cold turkey and switch from one career to another. In fact, by the time I told Deutsche Bank that I was leaving I’d already got the book deal and sold the film rights to my first book, Press Send, to Universal. When I’d made my decision to go, there were plenty of colleagues who quizzed me about how they too could do it but none of them had the confidence to leave the only thing they knew. It was different for me. Moving from the Foreign Office to the City had already given me that self-belief to make a tangential switch. After learning the technicalities of banking, tackling something new like writing didn’t seem so terrifying.” ■ – Gavin Newsham
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a B NUS? FOR DOiNG tHiS?!... BONUS ROUND
So thought RICHARD MACKNEY when we sent him to roadtest a trading simulator. How hard could it be? Er… mind-dazzlingly, soul-crushingly terrifying 18 February
LET’S JUST GET one thing straight. I am an idiot. A total fool. Not in every department perhaps; I can, after all, put on my own trousers and make an excellent sandwich. But in all matters financial I am a premium platinum-plated, gleaming toss cake. However bad your day, however wretched your life, I guarantee I could cheer you up just by telling you about my finances. I have had truly desperate, clinically depressed friends, clutching at the fraying strings of despair, whose only chance of buying more time and getting a glint of hope is to phone me and ask me about my savings. And I’m very tempted to help my community by offering a service where, in exchange for biscuits, I will give hope and succour to the patients of my local hospice by bodypopping round the ward in a funny hat, reading out my bank statements. I know nothing of stocks or shares or equities or derivatives. Nothing. My life is one of bread and trousers. I earn money, I spend it all and then I try, often hopelessly, to get some more. I am the only person I know who went to see a financial adviser about three years ago on the advice of a friend and – this is true – replying to his enquiry about my savings and investments, he actually laughed. Out loud. I have never really recovered from that. And I don’t think I will. The only consolation is that I know where that financial adviser lives and sometimes I get my revenge by hanging around his garden late at night and keep his young family awake making the noises of an injured horse. So it is with well-founded concern that I sit opposite Dr Lawrence Galitz while he tells me about his work. Dr Galitz is not like other doctors I know. But given that the ones I’ve seen recently are all experts in rectal malfunctions this is no bad thing. Instead, Dr Galitz has spent 20 years with his company, ACF Consultants, working on simulation programmes that replicate financial markets. His new simulation, Global Trader Ultra, which he describes as the most accurate and effective trading simulator yet, is due for launch at the end of February and I am sitting a few inches away from it, with squaremileclub.com
IllustratIon by russ tudor
the growing threat that I could soon be a bank trader for the day. His aim is to convince the financial world that trader simulation training is the way forward. Post-Lehman, Bear Stearns, Northern Rock, Madoff [insert name of favourite failed financial institution here] he can now ride the wave. If simulations work for airline pilots, why not for City traders? As proved by the bail-out, we are all ultimately their passengers. ACF Consultants’ usual clients are investment banks, commercial banks, hedge fund managers, even the Financial Reserve and worldwide central banks, helping them understand the complexity of new financial products. And as I sit here I reflect on the cruel sense of humour of the editors of square mile. Yup, get monkey boy to do the Global Trader simulation, did you know he thinks that quantitative easing is a type of diet? Dr Galitz is a nice man and, with a full head of straight dark hair, reminds me of someone off the telly but I can’t remember exactly who. Sensing my fear of matters financial, he attempts to mop up my babyish ignorance using years of illustrative tuition. He explains that the beauty of the simulation is that you can learn things that would have previously taken years, that it is used by banks and traders to show them both viewpoints, and that you can set up progressively more complex scenarios and different environments with different objectives. All of which is fine and very useful if we were programmable beings working to specific models. But people are silly and smelly and lazy and unpredictable, it’s the ceteris paribus rule of global economics and he can see the surprise on my face as I say this as it’s one of only three things I can remember from my grade C in A-level Economics. The others being the faint whiff of alcohol on our teacher’s breath, and the startling dimensions of Caroline Blake and her anti-gravitational chest. “This is true,” he agrees, “but in times of crisis there does tend to be a herd instinct. The simulator is proven to help people see the danger signs and take preemptive action. Do you want a try?” Absolutely no way. I honestly don’t. Not at all. The whole thing terrifies me.
“Yes, that would be great,” I say, as ever pathetically, desperately eager to please. On the screen are tables and graphs and boxes and words. There’s a moan under my rib cage. First signs of tummy trouble. Perhaps we could just chat about it and you can explain it a bit more? “Anyone who uses financial markets – not just traders – has to experience trading at first hand. It’s much like driving a car or a London cab. You can’t pick up The Knowledge from looking at Google Maps.” But at least with driving there are signs with pictures. The words on my screen look like English but I’ve never seen them before. Dr Galitz explains them. The ‘Average’, a value per share, ‘Mark to Mark Profits’ and ‘Trading Profit’. There are offers and bids, a ‘Price Taker’ and ‘Market Maker’. He explains that people will phone for prices and the screen will show the best bids and offers from thousands of sources at once. Electronic trading that will, he says, signal the demise of the stock exchange trading floor. He also says something about liquidity and dark pools – something I will be leaving on his office chair if I don’t calm down. The simulation can be set to specific moments in history, taking the trader direct to financial hot spots, including booms and crashes. I am taken back to the start of 2008 and I will be trading shares in Nokia. A bell is sounded and the line on my graph starts moving. Horizontally. Then downwards. Quite quickly. In fact, very quickly. Why is it moving so bloody fast? “You can adjust the time frame from real time onwards. Just for purposes of illustration, I’ve condensed a full trading day to 20 minutes.” Great. I am a moron in real-time, but now I’ve now been made 14 times more stupid than normal. A phone rings. I pretend to not hear it. Dr Galitz explains that it’s a company wanting a quote on share prices. No one has ever in my life phoned me wanting that information. Usually the people who phone me are debt-collection agencies or companies telling me I can sue for minor injuries. I explain to Dr Galitz how
●● A bell sounds and the line on my graph starts moving. Downwards… I generally ignore any phone calls as they’re usually people wanting to hurt me. He looks at me with a mixture of pity and confusion. Perhaps he’s not so different from other doctors. The phone stops ringing. Good. A few seconds later it rings again. I really have to answer it, Dr Galitz tells me. This time I do. A message flashes on the screen. Someone is offering to sell some shares. “Do you want to buy some?” “Um, yes.” “How many?” “Er, I don’t know.” I don’t even know what a normal figure for an amount of shares is. “How about nine?” “Um, you might want to buy a few more than that.” “OK, then. Um – ten thousand?” “All right.” The line on the graph starts moving down. And every few seconds there’s a bleep. Words flash up in a box. Dr Galitz tells me that it’s a news ticker and these are the latest financial news stories that actually happened on the day on which I am trading, 8 January 2008. Another bleep. And the line on the graph changes direction. Suddenly it’s going down again. It’s going quick again. Why? Stop it. Stop moving you bitch. Go up. For cock’s sake, go back up. Apparently there’s a rumour of a merger between two other mobile companies. If it can be set at different points in time, how far can it go back – 20 years? Or 50? Suddenly I realise I’m Marty McFly sitting with the financial equivalent of the flux capacitor. Perhaps Galitz will go for a wee in a minute and I can adjust it to 3,000 years back and just trade in soil ▶ February 19
▶ and worms or bread and cloth, things I’m comfortable with. Shit. I’ve missed two more calls. According to the Trading Profit box I’ve lost £30,000. Before we started, Dr Galitz tells me that until three months ago, the two floors below his office here on Berkeley Street were occupied by a man called Bernard Madoff. So, really, thirty grand isn’t too bad. At least I haven’t ripped off Spielberg and Kevin Bacon and sent dozens of innocent investors rushing into their garages to attach hoses to their exhaust pipes. Phone rings again. American Airlines want a quote. Remember, Dr Galitz tells me, if you want to sell set your price smaller, if you want to buy, set it bigger. This sounds very simple but at this point it’s official. I have absolutely no idea at all what I’m doing. The phone goes dead. Another call. This time it’s an offer. “Do you want to buy this time?” “Erm.” Total nothing. Not a single synaptic
●● Thirty grand isn’t too bad. At least I haven’t ripped off Spielberg and Kevin Bacon 20 February
journey is being made in my head. I can’t even remember what a woman looks like. “You have to decide quickly.” “OK then, yes.” This is global finance affecting the lives and fortunes of millions of people and yet the only terms on which I can comprehend it are to imagine I’m on the panel of Bruce’s Play Your Cards Right. If only I had the option just to freeze and pretend to laugh at the crap jokes of a long-chinned man in a wig. More news stories bleep in. It’s all too fast to absorb. Something about a Japanese conglomerate and investor confidence and… Richard Whitmore. That’s who Dr Galitz reminds me of. The 1970s BBC newsreader. Piss. Just lost another fifty grand. I emit a small smell. A woman comes into the office and puts down a plate of biscuits. At last. Someone dealing in a currency I can understand. Yummy. The line on the graph starts moving upwards. Perhaps it’s biscuit-related. I peruse the selection. A couple of bourbons, a piece of shortbread, two digestives, don’t know what the others are. “Help yourself,” says Dr Galitz. But I can’t. It could be the graph or the news ticker or Richard Whitmore but I don’t even know what biscuit to have. I want to ask Dr Galitz what he thinks but this could be a question too far. I reach out. Shortbread, no, digestive, no, shortbread, oh fuck, someone help me. I make a hostile bid for the digestive. It’s not as moist as it should be. Shit. Down another £30k. The phone goes. I look at Dr Galitz with the unmistakable expression of a man about to excrete in someone’s office. He offers some encouragement. “Right, this is important. The right decision could save you here.” He is trying to help, in fact he couldn’t be more patient or helpful, but I have absolutely no idea what is happening or what he is talking about. But I know I’m at the finale of the game show. I’m playing for the car. I can see the glint of the new paintwork as Brucie asks if I think it’s “higher” or “lower”. I want the world to freeze. Bleep. “Oh dear, you were a bit too late.” Finally, another bell sounds and at last
my trading day is over. I am sweating and exhausted and I am not sure I will ever use a computer again. Or buy a Nokia phone. Or eat biscuits. Ordinarily, ACF seminars range from a day to three weeks, from a few people to a couple of hundred competing against each other. And it is at this point that you really feel the impact of the ground, having hurtled towards it at gathering speed. Dr Galitz shows me a staggering range of analytical tools. This, he explains, is the gold of Global Trader Ultra. Tools that show everything. My exposure to risk, how long I was exposing myself to risk, the character of the person trading, even how well I was answering the phones, the percentage of quotes taken and the time it took to respond. They show how much investment has been made in the trader and a balance of profit against risk. Ultimately, there is a score from 1-100 and a circle on a graph shows the overall quality of the person taking part. Mine is a dark smear and the word “Tit” flashes on the screen. This isn’t true but it may as well be. Dr Galitz looks at what he calls the Trader Metrics. “Unfortunately, you couldn’t have timed your decisions more badly.” But who cares about timing? This is all about the dough, the wad, the wonga, how much did I make? Dr Galitz looks at me with the sad smile of a parent about to break the news to his child that his dog has been run over by a lawnmower. “You lost quarter of a million.” Quarter of a million? Well that’s nothing. We’re in an era of owing hundreds of billions and squillions of zillions. Even an arse like me could still probably buy Iceland. Er, no. Dr Galitz politely explains that a significant amount of investment goes into each trader, from equipment and infrastructure to salary, and no loss of any kind could be considered acceptable. “This is about managing risk,” he says, “and not casino banking.” I have been nothing more than a gambler, and a poor one. The good gambler knows when to walk away. I leave Dr Galitz’s office genuinely alarmed at my own stupidity. What a fool. Always take a shortbread over a digestive. ■
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BAGS OF STYLE
They say ‘never brown in town’, so best to use these for escaping the City, says JACK DONNE
PICKETT LAPTOP CASE £340 This classy briefcase is ideal for tucking away a dapper lapper. It’s inconspicuous enough to put off muggers, too. pickett.co.uk
WILLIAM & SON SUITCASE £1,100 Refined but still rugged, this should cope regardless of what Heathrow’s baggage handlers throw at it (or it at). williamandson.com
BILL AMBERG TRIUMPH BRIEFCASE £134 Bill Amberg’s best-selling leather bag – for very good reason. billamberg.com
CHUNKY & FUNKY QP SELECTS
AUDEMARS PIGUET’S ROYAL Oak Offshore has had the field to itself for far too long. If you want a sports watch that’s heavy on both macho and horological credibility and has the cachet of one of the better established watch houses then finding alternatives to AP’s offering was a tall order. With a few notable exceptions – Blancpain’s 50 Fathoms, Girard-Perregaux pour Ferrari, Rolex’s 44mm Yachtmaster II and a smattering of others – the other Grands Maisons have, for the most part, seemed uninterested in taking on the Offshore. But then came Hublot, powered up by the human tornado that is Jean-Claude Biver. Its success has been phenomenal, and the watches have been good enough to be worth the noise. AP, however has aces to play with. Heavily modified ETA or La Joux-Perret movements are
simply not as desirable as an in-house calibre from one of the best-established and most respected makers. The 3120 automatic base for the new Offshore Grand Prix is of the highest quality both in terms of finish and engineering. Add to that a redesign that finally makes the most of the ‘forged carbon’ process that AP has invested so heavily in and nicely judged emphasis on the popularity AP has in the F1 paddock and the result is a watch that it is easy to see doing well. The detail is incredible, from the Elox red dials to the chrono buttons; the new Offshore is also incredibly light for its size as most of the parts that are not carbon are ceramic or titanium. ■ James Gurney is editor of QP magazine. qpmagazine.com. Stockist: Marcus, 170 New Bond Street, W1; 020 7290 6500; marcuswatches.co.uk
DE SEDE AG DS 2100 £4,250 Emulating the spine – with ribs forming the supporting elements – this office chair has something of a human touch. chaplins.co.uk
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CAPPELLINI Y’S DE LUXE SWIVEL £2,430 As one-hit wonders 2 In A Room would’ve sung if they were chair salesmen: “Swivel it, just a little bit”. chaplins.co.uk
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THE TRAVEL MARKET and the luggage industry have been at the heart of ‘luxury’ retailing and design for many years. Images of Concorde, Joan Collins and bottles of Cinzano have been, at least to my mind, the ultimate in jet-set cool. Though both markets have been rocked by the recession, a new breed of inconspicuous consumer is emerging – still able to afford top-drawer prices but they don’t want to shout about it. Gone is the era of the over-branded bag and in its place, the under-the-radar labels. Artisanal craftsmanship is now the name of the game. Who would have thought Louis Vuitton would ditch Sean Connery for needle and thread? Moncrief London is one of the new names now emerging from the Swarovski-crystal dust. Created by Caroline Evans, former co-founder of Jigsaw,
Moncrief has a capsule range of super luxurious luggage in drop-dead finishes and detailing of calf skin, horn and silver. The leather comes from the same factories as Ferrari’s seats and Hermès’s bags. With prices starting at £2,650 for a weekender, it is aimed at the ‘elegant nomad’ – but quality costs (and a cashmere blanket is thrown in). Another newcomer is Michael d’ Souza’s label, Mufti. Having honed his craft making stunning furniture and interior accessories, de Souza has now turned his sights to gorgeous leather luggage – weekenders and Gladstone bags come in the same tactile and durable leathers and stitching as tables and sofas. With that level of durability, one can well expect Mufti’s luggage to withstand whatever those baggage boys at Heathrow can throw at them. ■ moncrieﬂondon.com; mufti.co.uk
ANTONIA METHUEN ON THE NEW ERA OF INCONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION
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THE INFLUENTIAL MILANESE label’s opulent modern fabrics and distinctive tailoring set a benchmark that other brands strive to follow. A clipped lapel and collar add a shot of contemporary flair to this classic grey suit, and while you wait for summer to come, layer with monochrome knitwear for effortless spring style.
NOW WE’RE OFFICIALLY out of recession, powerful statement suits like this pinstriped three-piece from Canali can finally return to the fore. The suit’s classically angular structure is tempered by the fabulously fine fabrics – no less, of course, than you would expect from the consistently innovative Italian tailors.
FEW BRANDS ENCAPSULATE the spirit, vibrancy and character of our city like Paul Smith, and the designer’s 2010 collections are elegant, offbeat and Londoninspired. Team this jacket and trousers with a shirt and tie to look sharp in the office, then dress it down for the evening when you head out to play.
UNDER THE STEWARDSHIP of creative director, Kim Jones, the reinvigorated London brand deals in effortlessly British flair and subtle eccentricity, thrown together with a strong eye for balance and accent detail. A hefty nod to the classic English gent tradition underpins this distinctly modern ensemble.
RAZOR SHARP UNDERSTATEMENT has long defined Calvin Klein’s sophisticated suits, and the brand has continued that theme with its 2010 offering. We were particularly grabbed by this sleek monotone outfit – clean, simple lines that will be equally at home on the trading floor or in the club after work.
GIORGIO ARMANI BEING BETTER DRESSED than everyone else in the office is all well and good, but it’s not much fun if you can’t sit down properly. Armani’s decadent soft tailoring is designed to be comfortable while ensuring the wearer maintains an air of refined professionalism and sophistication.
CHANEL THE ICONIC PARISIAN fashion house can call on a century at fashion’s pinnacle, and it shows; pitch up at the office in Chanel and you’ll feel like you’ve won a personal fashion Oscar, minus the floods of tears. This design is bold and geometric, while the cut is timeless Gallic chic, with threequarter length sleeves and a zero length skirt.
WITH ROOTS IN the 1970s London punk scene, Vivienne Westwood’s fearless tailoring may appear an unconventional match for the City, but this contender for the power-dressing throne is deceptively demure. Formal in cut it may be, but it’s unashamedly sexy and brimming with dynamism.
A SLEEK, CONTEMPORARY cut and fabrics moulded to the female form define Jasper Conran’s flawless, minimalist two-piece in glacial white. Get this quintessentially Conran suit, and the full couture experience, at his flagship Sackville Street boutique in the heart of Mayfair.
casts an appraising eye into her fashion crystal ball to come up with some looks and designs for the spring – for work and for play
DKNY DKNY’S BOLD VISION of a power suit reinvented for the Noughties fuses breezy elegance and youthful glamour with clean, sharp lines. To cut a resolutely modern dash both in and out of the boardroom, partner this elegant tailored jacket and threequarter length cropped trousers with a classic shirt and heel.
WITH 190 YEARS of experience to call on, you would expect Brooks Brothers to be able to do immaculate classic elegance effortlessly. And you would be absolutely right, as this staple business dress, in faultless draped black, will attest. A true investment piece for the wardrobe.
STUCTURED TO FLOW around the female figure, this jacket with tactile linen detail is teamed with a sharp pencil skirt. The signature Donna Karan look is classic, timeless and feminine – visit her new townhouse flagship store on Conduit Street for an intimate and luxurious insight into the brand.
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THE END IS NIGH… …SO LET’S PARTY! BIG GUNS, BIG BUCKS GIRLS IN UNDERWEAR
ANY EXCUSE: Ladies of the City, we offer you – as a matter of courtesy – a guide to the finest lingerie and jewels on the market. And gentlemen, feel free to flick through for, ahem, ideas for presents for your better half…
SEXY BOAT £1.7M
SQUIDS IN SQUIDDY BOSS (GOLDMAN SACHS CEO) LLOYD BLANKFEIN IS RUMOURED TO BE IN LINE FOR A BONUS OF $100M FOR 2009 – ROUGHLY EQUIVALENT TO THE GDP OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS
Filled yer boots? Or, paid like Boots the chemist?
Use the handy Square Mile bonus-o-meter to see what you can afford this year. Below, JON HAWKINS on why the party may have to end...
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COME ON – you didn’t think you were going to get away with it, did you? From architects of the world economy’s collapse to richly rewarded beneficiaries of its revival was never going to be a seamless transition, but to flaunt your restored health so openly rubbed salt into the rawest of public wounds. The statement bonus is back for 2010, and nobody but those receiving one is happy about it. “But I’ve earned fabulous amounts of money for the bank in the frostiest financial climate imaginable, and deserve to be rewarded for it,” you might say, and who can blame you? After all, who
in their right mind would turn down a lottery win every year? Unfortunately, you’re part of a system that encourages such risk taking, and is so socially divisive, that it’s becoming a little hard to defend it with a straight face. In the past this has been of little consideration – after all, when times are good the need for justification barely exists – but the financial crisis, and the banks’ role in bringing it about, has hauled City bonuses into the spotlight. It hasn’t helped enormously that the industry has been swift to criticise loudly the aggressive and discriminatory nature
of world governments’ assaults on the banking system, and on bonuses in particular, or that most of the big players will absorb the tax imposed on their richest employees this year themselves. Neither banks nor their employees will expect to be so lucky in the future. The tax on this year’s bonuses was rushed in – a reactionary punishment; a rap across the knuckles – but measures introduced between now and next year will likely strike a bigger and more measured blow to the banks and to the structures that facilitated their rise, fall and (relative) rise again. It’s unimaginable
THE SPEND IS NIGH
BIG CAR £297K There are few cars that give you a lump in your throat just by looking at them. This is one of them. And if you’re lucky enough to drive this stunner, the experience is – like the car itself – epic. The RollsRoyce Phantom Coupé, for when your bonus ain’t no ghost.
●● In 1902 JP Morgan turned the Christmas bonus on its head by giving each employee a full year’s salary FEBRUARY 31
Stephen Hester stood in front of the Treasury Select Committee in January to defend bonus payouts to staff at (84 per cent taxpayer-owned) RBS, he explained the need to pay bonuses at market rate to prevent defection to other firms. “We are a part-prisoner of the market,” he explained. And who wouldn’t want to be a prisoner of the market when it rewards you with a lottery win every year? The market rate defence is relentlessly peddled at this time of year in the City, though with you, the market’s participants, looking like you’ve let the public down so badly in the last two ▶
Need a seaplane with foldable wings and convertible open sides? Of course you don’t, you berk – but at this price you might as well bag yerself two – one for you and another for yer idiot mate. Then you can have races. The Icon A5 Seaplane. Truly awesome.
that bank remuneration will escape unscathed, which begs the question: is this year’s bumper crop the last we’ll see of stratospheric bonuses? The colossal bonus, of course, is nothing new. Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer, writing in The Huffington Post last year, recalls how in 1902 JP Morgan & Co turned the 19th-century tradition of the discretionary Christmas bonus on its head by awarding each employee a full year’s salary as a gift. Wall Street (and the rest of the world’s financial centres) never looked back. And how could it? When RBS chief executive
ULTRA WATCH £49K This white gold model features a perpetual calendar with moon phases, day, date, month and leap year indication. The Patek Philippe Grand Complication is certainly both grand, and complicated. And, it has to be said, rather pretty.
BONUSOMETER ▶ years it no longer washes; not when your entitlement to the market rate has been so ferociously opposed by governments and electorates alike. To see the financial industry fall only to rise again months later, Lazarus-like, armed with bundles of cash, was an almighty kick in the teeth for the public. “If they had any awareness, bankers would have quietly rehabilitated themselves. Instead, it’s as if they went into a posh clinic for a month paid for by us, escaped and then headed to the nearest crack house,” says Daily Mail columnist Suzanne Moore. “The public
...IS A MEDIEVAL LATIN WORD MEANING: GOOD, MORAL; HONEST... HONEST
sees through this now, as we also see through the idea that these guys are under any more pressure or have any more skills than the average nurse.” Nick Anstee, Lord Mayor of the City of London, while sympathetic to the public’s cause, also argues that the value of the banks to the greater good of the country has been left ignored. “I understand why people are angry, and part of the problem is that things haven’t been explained – people simply see the banks being supported, and their employees still being paid large sums of money,” says Anstee.
“But without banks the government would not have been able to pursue the economic policies that it has over the past few years and create the benefits that many have enjoyed.” It appears that the banking community is no less aware that this year’s rewards may be somewhat misaligned with public sentiment, though, according to one trader at a major European investment bank anticipating a considerable bonus, this doesn’t necessarily equate to any feeling of remorse. “Do I feel guilty? No, not personally. But do I think the bonus and pay rise
THE SPEND IS NIGH
“Hell is other people,” said the miserable Frenchman JeanPaul Sartre. If you find yourself in agreement with the existentialist philosopher, then the Ovei Oculas could be for you. After after a hard day on the trading floor lock yourself in and wave the world goodbye.
The Draganflyer X6, (and yes the misspelling is deliberate) is a paranoid spouse, or peeping tom’s dream machine. A carbon fibre remote helicopter that enables you to film your own Big Brother and watch on wireless goggles. Sadly, of little use if they’re in an Ovei (left).
market that needs to change. If banks are incapable of reigning in the amount of capital they allocate for bonuses – with or without the influence of taxation – then the wider reform threatened by Brown and Obama will be unavoidable. Should this happen, says the trader, the days of big bonuses could be numbered. “The feeling on the trading floor is that we could see a double top, with bonuses having risen to a peak in 2007, going off a bit, having another go at the highs this year before they really come off and stay off,” he says. “A lot of people are saying the big years were 2007 and 2009 and ▶
Christmas IN 1902 1902,, JP MORGAN & CO GAVE EACH OF ITS EMPLOYEES A FULL YEAR’S SALARY AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT
£30K I’ve been told to expect are more than I deserve in the circumstances? Yes, absolutely,” he explains, “but what do you want me to do with it? Give it all back?” And herein lies a significant part of the problem. For all the public’s impassioned condemnation of your antics, how many of them would turn away a large sum of money as reward for a decent year’s graft, particularly when that sum is entirely commensurate with what is reasonable, given the revenues they’ve generated for their employers? Not very many of them, one may wager. It is, to borrow from Stephen Hester, the imprisoning
LONELY POD £25K
●● For all the public’s ire, how many of them would turn away a large sum of money for a year’s graft? FEBRUARY 33
THE SPEND IS NIGH
AERO WATCH £4K
Deriving their inspiration from aeronautics, Perrelet’s engineers and watch designers have created a new adaptation of the Perrelet Double Rotor. A turbine fitted with 12 titanium blades covers the whole dial. Available at jurawatches.co.uk 0800 011 2704
Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to thrash the living hell out of your axe and imagine that it’s the head of your boss you’re stuffing through the front of an amp? Then do it with the Gibson 1952 Les Paul Tribute Limited Edition Guitar. Small bonus, big noize.
A LARGE SCOTCH AND SOME TISSUES No bonus? Console yourself with a drink and some man tears. The best things in life are free...
of socialist East Germany or Russia in 1917 is necessary, but a different way of presenting things might be advisable, if we’re to avoid seeing bankers hanging from lampposts on Threadneedle Street. Banks have already started to divert money away from the bonus pool and into larger basic salaries, and there’s increased emphasis on spreading deferred cash payments into more frequent, smaller chunks. After all, what’s the point of having a single bonus ‘season’ anyway, when, like grouse
▶ that’s it – structural reform will come in and it won’t work the same way again.” Devastating though that may be to your future plans for a mini-fleet of supercars or Monégasque gin palace, perhaps it’s a sacrifice the City needs to make. As any student of the revolution knows, the perfect recipe to incite the mob on the streets is a general population with rising expectations dashed (having feasted on easy credit and bloated property prices) contrasted with a super rich elite. Not that a reprisal
MORGAN STANLEY – 2009 COMPENSATION WAS 62% OF NET REVENUE FOR THE YEAR, DESPITE REPORTING A LOSS
hunting, for a short period every year politicians, the media and hoi polloi can don their finest tweed and take pot shots at innocent bankers; far better to spread payments into smaller, more manageable (and less conspicuous) quarterly sums. No one with an ounce of sense, least of all us, wants to see the UK banking system dismantled and the likes of you shipped off to Switzerland to stagnate, but change is both inevitable and necessary. And let’s face it – you’ll find a way of paying yourselves anyway. You always do. ■
If you thought investing in a brace of handcrafted shooters was a labour of love, think again. GQ’s IAN VALENTINE tells us how to trigger some explosive returns
L& StOCK CK BOnuS ROunD
ENGRAVE CONCERNS: The decorative engraving on this Purdey typifies the company’s rose-and-scroll motif, used since the 1850s; (opposite, from top) a Beretta S0-6 EELL; craftsmanship by Holland & Holland
inveStinG in GunS
MAKING MONEY FROM buying and selling guns in London conjures up scenes from a Guy Ritchie gangster movie. Doubtless, you could get your hands on a pair of Purdeys or Berettas, if you ask the right person in the Docklands, but the legitimate route can be lucrative too. Armed with a shotgun certificate, the shrewd investor will buy an asset that should hold its value and generate a handsome profit, while giving hours of enjoyment throughout the game-shooting season. So says Nick Holt, who runs the largest dedicated gun auctioneers in Europe from his base on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Nick has been valuing guns since 1987 and has developed a nose for items that are likely to rise in value. He is preparing to put this nose on the line, so to speak, by setting up a pension fund for investors willing to pay a sizeable amount for pairs of ‘Best English’ guns. “I will advise clients on which guns to acquire at a certain price, confident in the knowledge that those guns will appreciate at six to seven per cent a year,” he explained. “The buyer will receive a tangible asset, which is attractive for those who may have lost confidence in the banks. We will keep the gun in storage and in fine condition, although the owner may choose to shoot the gun two or three times a year. Supply for these exquisite guns is drying up, while demand is increasing, so a solid return on an investment can be confidently predicted. We all took a collective shudder after Lehman Brothers’ collapse, but our last three sales since then have been increasingly successful. The gun market seems to be recession-proof.” As with cars, wines and paintings, the collector or investor needs to rely on his own in-depth knowledge of the sector or build up trusting relationships with experts. Former London banker Simon Isbister, who now manages an advisory firm in the West End, has been buying guns for many years. “Compared with some other asset classes, English guns have proved resilient. They have never lost me money and I’ve tended to gain a reasonable squaremileclub.com
return if I have sold them on,” he says. “But they are certainly a sophisticated asset class. It does help to know a little bit more than the average punter. Just like cars or wine, if you build passion for your chosen field, then you become more knowledgeable and develop a better eye for an investment.” Alastair Phillips is gunroom manager for William Evans gunsmiths, which has been making shotguns and rifles in the
●● As with cars and wine, it helps to know a little bit more than the average punter
West End of London since 1883. In recent years, he has noticed the supply of good quality second-hand English guns drying up, while demand has intensified. “The number of sidelock ejectors made by the big names in their original cases just aren’t around at the moment, so when they do appear, they attract good sums of money. A gun that may have sold for, say, £8,000 two years ago, is now selling for £12,000.” One of Phillips’s clients recently explained his decision to spend £80,000 on a new pair of William Evans shotguns. “He loved all the finer aspects of life – cars, shooting, fishing, wine – but he went for the guns, because he decided it was the only pastime that would allow him to enjoy what he bought repeatedly, without it losing value. He can pass them on to his son to use and retain the capital within his family. Can you truly enjoy looking at a case of wine in your cellar?” Karl Waktare is managing director for GMK Ltd, owners of the London Beretta Gallery on St James’s Street in Mayfair. He compared the top-end second-hand Beretta market to that of high-quality watches. “The price is always buoyant, because there is limited availability,” he said. “Production capacity is low and many hunters consider a premium Beretta as the ultimate in desirability and therefore a ‘gun for life’. There is usually no inclination to sell. “The best guns tend to grow in value. For example, in 1990 a new SO-6 EELL was available to buy for under £12,000; today the same gun is worth almost £30,000. We have found that premium guns are holding their value and attracting a high price, especially at auction.” But company spokesman Richard Purdey, six generations down the line from the original James Purdey who launched the famous London gunsmiths in 1814, urged against getting carried away. He was cautious about predicting a profit from even the finest guns. “The key message here is that you are unlikely to lose money, but I could not put my hand on my heart and promise that you will make money. You may have to accept that your annual dividend will be the pleasure you derive from using the gun.” ▶ February 37
inveStinG in GunS
Shooting: Golf for Real Men
BArrel of gIrAffes?: This William evans Cal. .375 sidelock double rifle, engraved by Marcus Hunt with African game scenes, would cost you £75,000
CheCk list when buying a seCondhand gun 1 Check the thickness of the barrels with a micrometer – anything thinner than 20 thousandths of an inch could result in an expensive barrel replacement; 23-25 thou is very good. 2 The neck of the stock is the weakest area and most likely to crack. Check if it has been ‘re-chequered’ owing to over-wearing. 3 Never be afraid to ask for a second opinion. 4 Insist on at least a one-year warranty from a dealer. 5 Always make a point of servicing a gun bought from an auction.
▶ Purdey makes in the region of 75 new guns a year in its Hammersmith workshops, with a new pair of handmade bespoke 20-bore over-and-unders, for example, costing £166,000. “You will lose your VAT, of course,” said Richard, “But the chances are that you will get 25 years of enjoyment from them; pass them on to your son for another 25 years of enjoyment; and the pair should be worth at least the same
amount with inflation as when you first bought them.” Daryl Greatrex, managing director of the London gun-making giants Holland & Holland (established 1835), echoed the concerns of his old adversary. He was unwilling to recommend targeting a gun solely for investment purposes. “Buy it, enjoy it and if you sell it on, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much it is worth. They probably hold their value better than other boys’ toys, but as a means of making revenue, as with so many things, there is no guarantee.” One method of adding value to a gun, however, is to commission an engraver to decorate the metalwork. “The top names naturally attract a bigger price,” said Greatrex. “So if you can identify an artist who is up-and-coming, then it could pay out when he or she becomes well known. The key is to identify the next big name.” The message seems to be that fine shotguns will at least hold their value for the investor. Yet the sector is not without its risks. After all, who can truly predict the political future for field sports in this country? But for the moment, at least, guns could be worth a shot. ■ For more info, visit berettagallery.com; hollandandholland.com; holtsauctioneers.com; purdey.com; williamevans.com
If, as Mark Twain famously wrote, “Golf is a good walk spoiled,” then shooting is a good walk enhanced – by the chance of coming home with a dead takeaway in your pocket. Shooting is golf for real men. And investing in a shotgun is putting your money where you never want to put your mouth. Investing in wine has always seemed a little like marrying a beautiful woman and then placing her in your cellar with a sign above saying, ‘You Can Look But Do Not Touch’. Far too Austrian for our taste… But buying a classic shotgun means that you get to partake in the king of sports, and in that spirit we bring you square mile’s ‘Five Reasons Why It’s Good to Own a Shotgun’: • You get to keep a shotgun, legally, in your house. Which is very, very sensible in light of the impending social Armageddon familiar to viewers of The Road, The Book of Eli, The Day of the Triffids, Survivors or fans of SocGen’s analysis. It will also come in very handy if and when they start hanging bankers from lampposts… • You get to shoot your own dinner that is organic, wild and locally produced (although admittedly full of lead shot). Also see point one (above) – note to self, after the apocalypse there will be no Ocado. • Shooting is a sport that often involves having a little nip along the way. You have to play 18 holes of golf before you get a drink… • Shooting will take you to some of the most beautiful estates in the country. Golf is like spending all day playing snooker in a garden centre. • If your boss doesn’t come through with your bonus, instead giving you some guff about “social responsibility”, you can really follow through on your threat to give it to him, “both barrels”. Finally, be warned. Shouting “Fore!” will not have the desired effect if your aim is off. Instead, follow the advice of cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant, “To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.” – Martin Deeson
Centre Pompidou, Paris. Architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.
WAIT. GIRARD-PERREGAUX 1966 Full calendar Indicators of the date, the day of the week, the month and the moon phases. Girard-Perregaux automatic mechanical movement. Pink gold case. Sapphire back.
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THE BOATS THAT ROCK: While others in the luxury sector have seen carnage in the downturn, Cunard has held up well with near 100 per cent occupancy on its cruises. CEO Peter Shanks explains why
When Carnival, the world’s largest luxury cruise ship operator, announced its results for the year on 30 November 2009 it was expected they would be far from buoyant. The luxury segment of most sectors has been under huge pressure over the past 12 months owing to the economic downturn, and travel in particular has been badly hit as ‘staycations’ have become common. But Carnival is taking it in its stride. Admittedly, net income was down by 21.7 per cent – but the real story is that it achieved an impressive $1.8bn profit on revenues of $13.2bn. Ironically, although Carnival is renowned for its youthful image, it was one of its oldest brands, Cunard, that helped to keep results afloat. This year, Cunard celebrates its 170th anniversary. It traces its origins back to 1839 when Canadian-born Samuel Cunard was awarded the first British transatlantic steamship mail contract. It has come a long way since then. Cunard now has two ships in its fleet, the Queen Victoria and its flagship, the renowned Queen Mary 2, which has such luxury trappings aboard as a planetarium, a theatre, ten restaurants, a two-floored spa and five swimming pools. Maintaining its facilities alone gives Cunard huge overheads. It’s not like running coach trips to the seaside, though as Cunard managing director Peter Shanks points out, “fuel is quite a big part of the cost.” And not just the black stuff (oil, not Guinness) – the costs for the other kind of fuel are staggering. Says Shanks, “the food cost is in two elements. The first is hotel store elements, such as napkins. They’re fairly fixed. What goes up and down is the cost of fresh meat, vegetables and fresh produce as you go around the world.” And with what QM2 passengers munch, crunch, slurp and burp their way through annually, trying to predict costs must be a white-knuckle ride. They polish off 38,000lb of smoked salmon and 1.5 million litres of fruit juice annually, and the ship’s beef consumption is around that of a city the size of Southampton. Despite these massive costs, however, Shanks says that Cunard made a “strong profit” in 2009 and there is good reason for this. 50 February
A Sail For Two Cities Christian sylt on
how Cunard is riding the storm, with cruise/fly deals that connect the Square Mile and Wall St
“In the UK, we have the Cunard line but we also have P&O Cruises, so we looked at synergies in what we are buying – say, paper towels or non-brandspecific items,” says Shanks. This is simply economic prudence, rather than penny pinching – he points out, “what we haven’t done is change our specifications or change our customer delivery. As a result, even though it has been a tough year because of the recession, we’ve had one of our strongest ever years of customer delivery as measured by our customer satisfaction survey.” So what attracts people to Cunard? Shanks sees three key factors. “First, it’s a very strong brand and people like to go towards a brand when the times are tough,” he says, adding that 55 per cent of guests are repeat travellers.
●● the QM2’s annual beef consumption is around that of southampton
“Second, the QM2 does quite short six or seven night transatlantic crossings, and these have proved more resilient than some of the longer voyages that other cruise lines operate. And the third element is the international sourcing.” By this he means where their passengers come from – the diversity of guest origin mitigates risk as 40 per cent are from the UK, 40 per cent from North America and 20 per cent from other markets. “Within the other markets, the two biggest are Germany and Australia,” says Shanks, adding that “we noticed that the US and UK markets went into, and are coming out of, recession at different speeds and therefore we can flex our activity in the two markets.” These three factors give Cunard’s ships an occupancy level that would make a hotelier’s eyes water. “We’re full all the time,” says Shanks. “If not 100 per cent, then very close to it.” The rate paid by each of the 3,056 guests on the QM2 “averages at between £1,500 and £1,700 for a transatlantic crossing,” which gives the ship revenues of £5m per crossing and around £95m over its 19 crossings annually. It attracts some big spenders. To describe the QM 2 roll call of previous guests as A-list is like describing the Savoy as a good bed-and-breakfast – technically accurate but missing the scale. We’re talking Star Wars creator George Lucas, Rod Stewart, Donald Trump, John Cleese and newswire king and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. One reason the QM2 is so popular with high net-worth travellers might be the subtle separation aboard. As in the real world, class – or wealth – divisions rule. There are restaurants exclusively for guests of the suites and, given 24 hours’ notice the kitchens will cook anything they choose. Guests of the suites also get access to private decks, private whirlpools and exclusive lounges. The top penthouses even come complete with private lift access and personal butlers. Former Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart says that “the accommodation on board the Queen Mary 2 is probably the finest of any ship in the world,” and he describes it as “one of the most enjoyable – and I would
suggest sensible – ways to cross the Atlantic.” It is no exaggeration. Every day on board, all clocks are set back one hour to compensate for New York being five hours behind the UK. It means you get an extra hour in bed every day which is easy to get used to and you arrive without a hint of jet lag. There are no luggage limits and with wifi and mobile phone reception throughout the ship travellers are always in touch. So business travellers are not always on the red-eye – according to Shanks, a surprising number of them choose to roll the Cunard way. And another good source of revenue has been floating company conferences – with more meeting rooms than you can shake a lifeboat’s oar at, and as few (or as many) disturbances as you choose, for many companies choosing conference venues, it seems ship happens. So – can you afford a trip on the QM 2? Well, if you can afford to fly business-class to New York, the answer is, emphatically, yes. Packages start at £999 per person, including return air fare, making it a serious alternative to return flights for those with a little time on their hands and who want to make a trip of it. When you think of it as more than simply a way of getting to and from the Big Apple and consider it as six nights of topdollar accommodation as well, it starts to look like a seriously good deal. Especially since the price includes unlimited food and soft drinks 24 hours a day, even through room service. There aren’t many five-star hotels which offer that. Dining on the QM2 is an event in itself. Every night guests get a table in the flagship Britannia restaurant where black tie is required and a classical band plays in the background. The Britannia is a cavernous twostorey art-deco affair that apes the restaurants aboard the QM2’s historic predecessors. The quality of the food is up there with top restaurants in capital cities and the pomp and circumstance is spread thick, with the 150 chefs on the ship parading through the Britannia on the final night of the crossing. If you prefer relaxing in bed, even the mid-range cabins will impress. They don’t look any different to rooms in a deluxe
hotel aside from a slightly cramped bathroom that lacks a bath. The cabins are kitted out with 21st-century touches such as US sockets and a TV with live news channels from Fox and the BBC throughout the crossing. But this is nothing compared with the view from the ship that awaits you every day. Through a glass-walled balcony you get an uninterrupted vista of the ocean from your cabin. Unlike the view from a plane, where there are few reference points, there’s a real feeling of travelling to a destination as the waves race by. If you fancy something supremely calming, you should try possibly the most soothing experience at sea – sitting in the hot tub watching the clouds and sea pass by through the glass canopy. It couldn’t be more different to being squeezed into an airline seat. If you’ve ever felt like you needed a holiday to recover from tiredness owing to a transatlantic flight then the QM2 could get quite addictive.
Indeed, so strong is Cunard’s grip on the transatlantic route that the competition is not coming from planes but from within as the company will launch the Queen Elizabeth, a new $700m liner, in 2011. At the end of 2007 Cunard received a $100m windfall from selling the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner to debt-ridden UAE property company Nakheel. Shanks says it was a “very shrewd, if not lucky, move” since it scaled the company down to two ships just as the recession began to lower demand. The new Queen Elizabeth will give Cunard increased capacity just as the economy is projected to pick up and it shouldn’t have much trouble filling the new ship: its maiden voyage sold out in just over 21 minutes. It looks like Cunard is set to stay riding the crest of a wave for some time to come. ■ Christian sylt writes for the Financial
Times, the Telegraph and the Independent February 51
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have you ever wondered if you’re worth what you get paid? Most of us would like a bit more, especially at this time of year. And, generally speaking, it’s the case that it never takes long for outgoings to match – and sometimes exceed – your income. So, it’s not surprising that the sums the media trot out about bankers’ pay are, to put it mildly, a bit difficult to explain. The banking industry understands the concern the headlines create. I know that that concern goes far beyond simple green-eyed envy – although it’s hard not to do the sums to find out how long it would take you to earn the same amount. As a result there are some who say we would be better off without the bankers. I know you’d expect me to refute that. And it’s true I believe that losing the banks would harm the economy and the standing of the UK generally. But I also appreciate that, in the current climate, it’s not likely people are going to feel the same emotional attachment to British banks that they do for a major confectionery company – despite the fact that more people work in bank branches up and down the country than ever put a pint and a half of milk into chocolate at Cadburys’ Bournville factory . In fact banking creates – both directly and indirectly – nearly one million jobs across the UK. And I believe that, if we lose the businesses then at least some of those jobs will surely follow. And certainly the top people – the ones who create the wealth for the businesses and consequently for the UK economy – are the people who are most likely to be able to pack up and leave for Switzerland, or Dubai, or Singapore. And they are the most mobile because – quite simply – they have the most sought-after skills. It’s not just about a group of rich bankers getting on a jumbo jet at Heathrow and flying off to Zurich or Hong Kong or wherever. What I am talking about is the mobility of individuals and the business that vests in them. It is about all the financial business that can be either undertaken in this country – or can move to some other world centre. squaremileclub.com
Forget hoodies – hug a Banker angela Knight says
it’s all too easy to scapegoat bankers – the fact is, we need our high-fliers not to fly off WhiTe KnighT
And there’s the nub of the issue. There may be a sharp intake of breath when we see the bonuses in print. But do we really want to see the banks and the jobs go somewhere else? At the moment we do banking in the UK – just as once we ‘did’ manufacturing. And it is done here because we have the right combination of people and skills. If the individuals start to go, then many other jobs that currently rely on them go too. And when the business goes – the tax
●● We do banking – as we once ‘did’ manufacturing – because we have the right people and skills
revenue disappears as well. If we accept we want the UK to remain a premier centre for financial excellence we need to consider what we have to pay to recruit, reward and retain talent. For the jobs to remain in the UK – when banking is an international market completing for talent in a global pool – we have got to pay wages at least comparable with the pay that is standard in other major financial centres. That means looking at City salaries on an international scale. Not concentrating on pay in other sectors. And, although I know this may raise some hackles in certain quarters, I think there is a strong argument – if we want to see our banks return to good health and private ownership – for this to apply even to those banks where the public, as taxpayers, has a major stake. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating bonuses for their own sake or because we lack the imagination to come up with an alternative. We need to have proper remuneration structures which reward long-term success and discourage foolhardy risk taking. The UK has already put pay structures in place that are regulated by the FSA. And in fact we have acted ahead of most other countries. But, I say again, while the industry recognises the problem, the solution is an international one. Our banks, and their investment banking arms, are not just in competition here in the UK but with major investment banks around the world. And much of what happens here is ultimately driven by what happens in the United States. And that is why the pay issue cannot be solved unilaterally or easily. Which is why, at the BBA, our members are still working out the best way forward because only through a continued dialogue with leaders and regulators at home and across international boundaries will the City develop a framework that keeps talent at home and fosters its long-term growth. And that would surely be a pay cheque worth earning. ■ angela Knight is CEO of the BBA
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Finding somewhere decent to lunch in the heart of the City often proves harder than it should, unless you’re lucky enough to belong to a membersonly club. Fortunately, the doors of one such establishment – Abchurch Lane’s London Capital Club – are now open to non-members who wish to graze at new downstairs eatery, @15. With airy decor, friendly service and convenient City location all aimed at businesspeople wot lunch, @15’s pull was sufficiently strong to lure square mile from the comfort of its oakpanelled office. Simple food beautifully executed is the order of the day, and pollack fillet with chips and minted pea purée, and a plump 8oz char-grilled rump, were devastatingly effective lunchtime fare. Unlike us, ensure you return to your desk intact by sticking to the excellent glass-by-glass wine menu. Three courses, £35 ph inc wine; londoncapitalclub.com
a Pen that’s hOt tO trOt
Mammoth ivory, stingray leather and petriﬁed wood: not the ingredients for an African aphrodisiac, but materials that have graced past examples of Graf von Faber-Castell’s annual limited-edition scribbler. The construction of this year’s model employs a skill (rather than an animal) on the brink of extinction, with around 70 strands of top-quality horsehair individually woven together for each centimetre of fabric adorning the pen’s barrel. To add an individual edge, you can supply hair from your own noble steed; a far more digniﬁed use for the old nag than having it turned into glue once it’s gone lame. 020 7493 8385; williamandson.com
CARTOON by Alex Steuart Williams (101 Uses for a Useless Banker, JR Books)
nOW FOr a diFFerent Kind OF Credit
The British cinema scene might seem as attractive as a night bus home from Bethnal Green, but for those of you daring enough it could represent a great investment opportunity. The company behind rare commercial success The Crew – a ﬁlm largely ﬁnanced by bankers and hedge fund managers – is offering an investment opportunity in its new crime thriller that takes place against the backdrop of the early 1990s’ rave club scene. Sources say it promises “happy, happy, hardcore returns.” From an investor’s perspective the key feature is that it has been structured with various tax reliefs and ﬁlm industry coﬁnance to limit the downside to 18 per cent of the cash invested. The main tax beneﬁts come from the Enterprise Investment Scheme so investors receive a 20 per cent rebate, as well as tax-free proﬁts. And even if the ﬁlm ﬂops, at least you’ll get your own ﬁlm credit as an Executive Producer – plus, presumably, a lifetime supply of glow-sticks. That’s what we call old skool. benchmarkﬁlms.co.uk
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WelCome To my World
Jean-ChristoPhe BaBin is president and CEO of the Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, which is part of the luxury goods conglomerate LMVH. Babin, 50, joined the company in 2000, having previously worked for Proctor & Gamble, Boston Consulting and the German group, Henkel KGaA. At 39, when he was promoted in 1998 to senior vice-president of Henkel KGaA, he became the youngest executive ever appointed by the company to that position. At TAG, he has been responsible for a major image overhaul which has included the signing up of brand ambassadors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and, famously, the hapless Tiger Woods; the company has also moved into luxury eyewear and, recently, mobile phones. You’ve had a pretty good recession haven’t you? Worldwide, yes. Like any luxury brand, our two biggest markets are Japan and the US and those have been impacted. Our third biggest market though is the UK, and curiously that has been growing. This is because the brand is strong here, but also because the pound is weak – its erosion means that lot of people who used to buy abroad now buy in the UK. Europe has also been a rock of stability – growth used to be double digits, but now it’s two to four per cent. Taken as a whole, Europe is the biggest watch market in the world and it has fared well. At the start of the recession, we reacted quickly, strongly and tactically, so we got out earlier than many other brands and this quarter we’re growing again How do you jump from FMCGs to luxury watches? Well, of course, you need to be lucky and receive the right call. TAG is one of those brands I connected with personally: luxury but casual enough not be snobby and old-fashioned. It’s luxury but it’s my luxury and I knew the brand well because I’m a Formula One fan. As for coming from consumer goods, this is volumetric luxury, not niche. We care about costs and value for money. I changed universe but in some ways it is very similar. It’s really a natural evolution.
Turning a TAg into a label meets TAG Heuer CEO JeanChristophe Babin, who wants his brand on every kind of product rhyMer rigBy
WelCome To my World
Tell us about TAG’s move into eyewear: People I’d never met before used to compliment me on my [TAG] jacket on ski slopes so I started thinking that they might want other TAG products and we did some brainstorming. One of the obvious areas was glasses – our core areas of expertise are micromechanics and fusing design and technology – and eyewear was born in the Jura Mountains, where TAG is based. We started in 2002/03 and it has been a success beyond my wildest expectations. It contributes about ten per cent of our total revenues of €1bn and we are now the world leader in men’s premium eyewear. It’s also in 7,000 retail locations globally – watches are in 5,000, so it has more than doubled our brand’s visibility. What are your views on the economy? No one could have predicted how brutal and global the recession would be, so initially I think all companies were taken by surprise. Although we’re growing again, I think we’re an early bird and I am cautious about recovery. The world economy is still under huge stress – US consumers are more indebted than ever and Japanese consumers have lost purchasing power over the past six years. You have huge locomotives for growth like India and China, but they’re not big enough to offset everywhere else – we need the Old World too. What are your plans after glasses and mobile phones? It took us 140 years to move from watches to eyewear and eight years to move from eyewear to mobile phones. It will take at least two or three years before we move to something else major. That said, we have started selling accessories in Asia. And we’re testing a line-up of accessories to gradually turn TAG Heuer from a purely watchmaking brand into a global brand built on watchmaking – a bit like Louis Vuitton is a global brand built on luggage. It will take a long time, but the base is there. ■ rhyMer rigby has written for titles ranging from GQ and Conde Nast Traveller to the Financial Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail
it is Fair to say that the spread-betting industry has changed dramatically in the past 15 years – this way of speculating on financial markets has shifted firmly into the mainstream and is no longer the sole preserve of those who work in the City. For many, the area they start off with is equities – this is perfectly understandable as taking positions on the FTSE 100 (Vodafone, Barclays and so on) has a degree of familiarity about it. But in recent years we have seen a consistent increase in appetite for trading the currency markets – for some obvious reasons. Currencies (or foreign exchange) are particularly suited to spread betting as movement in forex is commonly described in terms of points or pips and of course spread betting is all about trading in terms of pounds per point. The primary reason that forex as a market appeals to traders can be summed up in a single word: volatility. Even on a quiet day, it would not be unusual to see a currency pair like the pound/dollar (GBP/USD) move in excess of 50 points – and on extreme days moves of several hundred points will be seen. Compared to something like the FTSE 100, which can sometimes feel like watching paint dry on quiet days, forex can seem to offer an endless stream of opportunities to profit. But it is important to understand that volatility is a double-edged sword – if the market can move 100 points in your favour in short order, by the same token you can very quickly end up on the wrong end of a significant move. Not to mention that forex is a 24-hour market – trading starts on a Sunday night around 10pm GMT and carries on, around the clock till about the same time on Friday. There is always the potential for sizeable adverse moves against you in the early hours of the morning or late at night, which could mean waking up to an unpleasant surprise. It is the potential for events like this that can initially make some clients a little nervous about dipping their toe into forex – but it doesn’t need to be a barrier. Risk can never be totally eliminated, and is one of the reasons why spread betting may not be suitable for everybody, but it can be kept to manageable proportions – and with companies such as
And So to Spread of IG Index explains how pre-set orders can minimise the risk involved in spread betting – letting you sleep soundly at night
●● orders such as a stop loss can make entering volatile markets less intimidating
IG Index enabling clients to start trading forex from as low as 50p per point the risk can be kept to a sensible proportion of your overall account size. The easiest way of managing risk is via the simple stop loss order. If, for example, a trader has bought GBP/USD at 1.5000 in the expectations of a rise but wants to get out if the market goes 100 points against the trade – exiting at 1.4900 – the sensible thing to do, surely, is to leave an order with a spread betting company to do exactly that. This achieves a couple of things – it enforces the discipline to get out of the trade at a predetermined level if things don’t work out as planned, and also enables the stop loss to be left as ‘good till cancelled’. This means that when you are tucked up safely in bed and there is an extreme move during the Asian trading session in the opposite direction to the one you were expecting, you will be automatically closed out for a small manageable loss. Therefore there is less need to sit and watch the screen around the clock (seldom the most exciting way to spend your day). Orders such as the stop loss can make entering volatile markets such as forex much less intimidating – and they can be used across a wide range of other markets available via spread betting. But it doesn’t have to be about just managing risk – automatic orders such as this can be used to automatically close a trade at a profit if a certain level is hit, and these orders are typically available at no cost. For many of us when we first start spread betting, we are far too busy figuring out what we are going to spend our hard-won profits on to worry about the risk-management side. But a few minutes giving thought to this and putting some sort of control in place using the various tools available, should be an essential part of the process and minimise the risk of any nasty surprises when a trade doesn’t work out quite as expected. ■ daVid JOnes is chief market strategist at the leading spread betting company IG Index. He runs regular online seminars on topics such as spread betting, forex, and risk management. See igindex.co.uk for more information.
*Tax law can be changed or may differ depending on your personal circumstances.
in My 33 years of trading, I’ve never seen such carnage around the US dollar. The downturn that saw the collapse and near-collapse of some of the world’s largest financial institutions changed the game for all of us. But just months later, the US Treasury’s £430bn bail-out is being repaid and those same institutions are reporting massive profits and paying out bumper bonuses. That said, foreclosures on homes, the core of the US economy, have reached two million since 2006, and unemployment is at ten per cent. In the face of this apparently contradictory information, it’s worth reminding ourselves that, despite the bashing it still gets on the markets, it’s never a good idea to kick the dollar when it’s down. Here’s why... The turbulence has hit exchange rates for the dollar hard, with bigger than normal movements on the back of every significant report that comes out; the value of the dollar has been beaten down because of the slumping economy and a zero interest rate policy by the Fed. But top analysts are suggesting that 2010 should be a good year for the dollar as it looks to reverse direction against many of its major competitors. Exchange rate charts are already showing a change in trend towards a stronger dollar in the medium- and long-term. The dollar had, up until the end of 2009, been on a downward trend against its major rivals for weeks, fuelled by negative sentiment towards the US economy and the looming shadow of a much larger deficit to fund the health care bill, with no apparent bottom to the housing crisis. The view that the economy is improving and that the US government will raise interest rates and begin removing the monetary stimulus seems to me to be quite premature. While the economy may have levelled off, we are far from reaching the bottom, in my view. In order to have a sustained recovery and growth, we first must know that we have a solid foundation to build that recovery on and see all the economic indicators such as housing and unemployment level off and start to show continued and real improvement.
Cents and Sensibility on why investors would do well to hold off on sterling for the time being and look instead to the mighty greenback – down but not out, it’s hit the floor and now, as Yazoo put it, the only way is up
You can’t hurry love – or economic recovery. Trends take time to change and much effort to turn, and while the process has begun, it is far from complete. My view may seem bearish, but the good news is the bottoming process and the recovery have begun in earnest. From a technical perspective, we now need to see a large basing pattern in order to spark a new and strong bull market. Negative sentiment pushed the dollar towards its lowest historical levels, but in Q4 2009, the dollar began to form a bottom and technically broke its downtrend, beginning the first leg to an upside, so the dollar’s near-term losses could be limited.
●● For the mediumterm, then, dollar weaknesses are a buying opportunity
Meanwhile, the dollar’s two biggest rivals face their own obstacles. The yen is contending with a new finance minister seemingly intent on a more activist stance on the currency as well as a weak fundamental outlook in Japan. And the euro is still overshadowed by credit concerns swirling around Greece and other fiscally troubled countries in the euro zone. For the medium-term, then, dollar weaknesses are a buying opportunity, and should be taken advantage of. Those who took on currency risk last year were rewarded: foreign currencies rallied along with their underlying equity markets. And this dollar rally looks different from the last run-up, which began in the summer of 2008 when investors rushed into US dollars in a panic. While currencies of emerging markets are expected to hold their own or even appreciate against the dollar, emergingmarkets’ holdings could be especially vulnerable to a decline, after having surged last year, little helped by new banking regulations being introduced by China that would lead to the liquidation of large commodity positions and the accumulation of dollar-based assets and treasuries. In short, you’re better off lightening up on your dollar shorts and beginning to add new longs. Some wealth-management advisers said in January they expect the pound to rebound once the UK election is out of the way and the new government has clarified its plans, but until then advised clients with heavy sterling exposure to diversify into stronger currencies, like the USD. The UK could well lose its triple-A status unless current deficit-reduction plans change. On top of that, investors are raising serious concerns over the outlook for the UK government bond market. So there’s more reason to avoid buying the pound long-term than the dollar. The pound is top-heavy and technically very weak and until we see evidence on the charts of a technical rebound, it should get weaker still. The mighty dollar is not to be written off anytime soon. ■ MiKe baghdady won 2009’s live trading competition at Frankfurt’s World of Trading, beating the biggest traders in the business.
BaCK in January, a new decade was ushered in with the opening of the world’s tallest building; the 828m Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Launched just weeks after Dubai’s crippled economy was bailed out by the Abu Dhabi ruler, whose name the tower – previously called the Burj Dubai – has now taken, the Burj is less a glorious iconic landmark and more a vast monument to excess and vanity. It’s a somewhat confusing note with which to start the year, though in its own way appropriate. After all, nobody can quite make their minds up as to whether we’re set for a year worse even than the last or on the verge of a return to prosperity. If the year is going to be terrible then we may as well welcome it in with an 800m celebration of the world’s stupidity hewn from concrete and steel. But with such conflicting messages, how are we to know whether to invest those dormant piles of cash in bundles of shares or keep them stashed under the mattress until the gods of finance are smiling on us again? Traditional economic indicators have proven to be chocolate-teapot useful and frequently contradictory, to the extent that forecasters have been desperately grasping at any and every available straw. Take the much talked-about ‘crane index’ for example – the more cranes visible on the skyline, the more prosperous the economy. Though the relationship makes sense and (theoretically, at least) is observable, the colossal lag between commission and delivery renders it little more than an interesting footnote. The Australians are even less fortunate; they get the ‘muffin effect’. (Not to be confused with the ‘muffin top effect’ – flabby stomach, tight-waisted jeans, you get the idea.) This Aussie curiosity hangs on the observation that when money’s tight, punters at coffee shops eschew the muffin that usually accompanies their morning hit of caffeine. Very quaint, but you wouldn’t start piling into (or out of) the markets on the back of it. What we really need are some reliable indicators that get right at the heart of this most contemporary of recessions, and luckily for you we at square mile have constructed a series of bespoke indexes squaremileclub.com
The only Charts you’ll need says, forget complex market analysis. Just use our cut-out-and-keep guide to recovery… Jon haWKins
that even the most empty-headed equity brokers could get their heads around. Use them wisely, masters of the universe…
the unrePaired PorsChe vandalisM indeX Neatly combines both acts of vandalism perpetrated against the wealthy and the ability of the victim to pay for the necessary repairs, backed up by the sheer number of Porkers parked up within sharp
implement-waving distance of a hooded yoof. Let’s face it, the only thing worse than getting the side of your car decorated with a Stanley knife is not getting a big enough bonus to get it fixed and pay for that two-week holiday sunning yourself on a yacht in St Barts. When it starts happening to everyone else too, sell hard; things are only going to get worse.
the PinstriPe indeX Time was you could waltz around the City wearing a suit with stripes wider than the M4 and a lining so scarlet it would make a bull more confused than angry. Not anymore; sobriety, in sartorial terms at least, is the name of the game these days, so when the pinstripe pioneers start re-appearing on the City’s streets you’ll know the good times are back. Leave them to it though; no one likes a showoff. the aBandoned Pet indeX Early last year the RSPCA reported a 57 per cent rise in abandoned pets, awakening us to the terrifying prospect of the country’s towns and cities teeming with packs of domestic animals, like some kind of post-apocalyptic urban safari park. Yet these unwanted pets – or rather the statistical relevance of these pets – can be harnessed for the greater good. Like unemployment figures, this indicator drills deep into the tangible, real -world impact of the banking industry’s misadventures, only the victims are genuine innocents rather than equally useless human beings. the Jailed BanKer indeX Bernie Madoff, everyone’s favourite cap-wearing financial supervillain, got the 2009 ball (and chain) rolling before regulators the world over set their phasers to incarcerate and started charging bankers left, right and centre. It’s not something we ever saw much of during the good times, so a running count of bankers in chokey could provide a vital insight into the health of the economy. As for the jailbirds themselves, before long we’ll have entire prison wings that read like a who’s who of the murkier side of the hedge fund industry; Cell Block Alpha, perhaps? ■ February 61
make Tracks For Surrey For a business meeting or conference to remember, check out the art deco palace that is the Brooklands Hotel just beside MercedesBenz World in Surrey thinK aBout the last meeting or conference that you attended… we’re guessing that bespoke artwork, supercar experiences, outdoor hot tubs, ex-head chefs from Cecconis and sumptuous suites are unlikely to be the first things that spring to mind. So you’ll be pleased to know that the March 2010 launch of the highly anticipated Brooklands Hotel near Weybrige, Surrey is set to change the conference scene forever. Home to a new and exclusive meeting, private dining and event space, with the original Brooklands motor-racing track running through its reception, this iconic new development is a million miles away from the other cookie-cutter corporate hotels and conference centres out there. Priding itself on personality, individuality and an unparalleled level of uniqueness – after all, where else will you find a spa on a race track or be able to watch performers of the calibre of Elton John appear at the adjacent outdoor venue from your roll-top bath? – it will also take a great deal to beat it in terms of 62 February
its location: five minutes from the M25, 30 minutes from central London, just 17 miles from Heathrow and 33 miles from Gatwick – to be exact.
●● the design gives a knowing nod to the rich legacy of the glory days of the 1920s racetrack
Combining contemporary design with classical history, this super stylestatement of a property has been interior designed with a clever knowing nod to the rich legacy of the glory days of the original 1920s racetrack. But when it comes to its conference and meeting facilities, this is certainly not a case of style superseding substance. Featuring one event suite with a theatre-style capacity of 175 and seven other meeting suites (with motoring related names) suitable for a variety of combinations, the Brooklands Hotel is home to one of the UK’s most impressive and contemporary meeting and event facilities. All-inclusive rates come as standard – so you don’t end up paying for any of the usual hidden costs
and supplements, such as flip charts, plasma screens and projectors. Wifi is also complimentary throughout the whole property. Business travellers and conference delegates alike will also have the added bonus of the team-building potential and the specially negotiated rates that being a mere five-second walk away from the Mercedes-Benz World will allow guests to experience. And if that wasn’t enough, those looking for a little more privacy – who wouldn’t rather do their meet-and-greets in the luxury of their own private space? – a number of the super-sized suites also come with the option of having their very own meeting and boardroom space. Treat yourself to one, and you can even
finish off your day with a champagne and canapé reception on your own private decked terrace area. Overlooking the race circuit and 4x4 track, the private
●● Finish off your day with a champagne reception on your own private decked terrace
terraces hold up to 50 people at a time, giving you no excuse not to combine business with some well-deserved pleasure; whether you’ve had a hard day speeding round in an SLR, or churning through numbers in one of the chic meeting rooms. Perfectly situated for firms with an international as well as national and, of course, London-based, clientele, with its unparalleled and unique location, an exclusive offering at accessible prices is the order of the day at the new Brooklands Hotel. Day delegate rates start at £50pp, 24-hour rates at £185 and bed & breakfast at £125 per person. ■ For more information, call 01932 335 700, or visit brooklandshotelsurrey.com
Square mile 30 under 30 london Talent Awards
the sQuare Mile 30 Under 30 London Talent Awards celebrate London’s top young achievers. The Awards embrace the ambition and achievement, the potential and the success of London’s new elite. The culmination of the Square Mile 30 Under 30 is the Gala Awards evening, which will be held on 26 March 2010 at the London Hilton on Park Lane. The awards ceremony will recognise talents across a wide range of disciplines, including law, finance and entrepreneurship. For information or tickets to the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The world’s only international champagne publication Fine Champagne Magazine went through the rigorous process of naming and ranking the 100 best champagnes currently available on the market. (And they say journalism is tough.) After a blind tasting of more than 1,000 samples of the current champagne market (including vintages), the winner surprised the wine fraternity. The number one position went to a rank outsider – Armand de Brignac. The prestige champagne house’s Brut Gold, with its distinctive golden bottle, has certainly caught the media’s attention – and its smooth and creamy wine clearly impressed Fine Champagne’s judges. Armand de Brignac beat the likes of 2000 Dom Pérignon, 2002 Roederer Cristal and 1998 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill to reach the tasting’s top score of 96/100. If you need any more convincing, then just ask US rapper Jay-Z – apparently, it’s Mr Z’s ﬂava of the month. armanddebrignac.com
sQUare Mile rUgby lUnCh eVent
The Square Mile Rugby Lunch supported by Land Rover is an exclusive event where you can meet leading luminaries from rugby to get the inside track on this year’s RBS 6 Nations. The lunch is held on Wednesday 24 February at Victoria Embankment’s Buddha Bar, where you will be joined by a host of Land Rover ambassadors including England internationals and Rugby World Cup winners Will Greenwood and Josh Lewsey; Scotland international and Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan; and our host – Sky Sports rugby presenter Simon Lazenby. Tickets are £60 each, or £500 for a table of ten. For more info email: email@example.com
W for Banker Following their critically acclaimed success with in the Balance, comedy writing duo steinberg & Kilby promise to strike again with their new play W For Banker. showing at the new end theatre in hampstead from 23 March to 18 april, the
play is a gentle jab at a society that is driven by cash and status. For the protagonist, life is good, or rather was until the crisis sent him and his company’s assets nose-diving faster than a kamikaze pilot. Know the feeling? then head to newendtheatre.co.uk for tickets.
decadence for a new decade
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p82 topical tropical: We sent two writers to the caribbean for some good, old-fashioned story getting (dirty job and all that). they canâ€™t wait to gloat about itâ€Ś sorry, we mean, tell you all about it
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I’LL TAKE THE HIGH R AD...
MAKE MODEL ENGINE POWER TORQUE 0-60MPH TOP SPEED PRICE
Bentley GT Speed 6ltr W12 600bhp 750Nm 4.3secs 202mph £141,300
slips behind the wheel of Bentley’s flawless GT Speed and heads for the Highlands NEIL DAVEY
THE GRIP OF the British winter is probably the best advert your Spains, Greeces, Cypruses, and the like will ever receive, which makes what I’m going to suggest sound frankly insane. How about a trip to... Speyside? No, really, I haven’t lost the plot. It’s lovely up there. Besides, the whole RBS debacle means we now technically own it or something... In a country boasting so much beautiful scenery, or great party cities, you could be forgiven for overlooking Speyside. But somehow, when you’re driving Bentley’s frankly staggering GT Speed through its heathered valleys, my suggestion starts to make perfect sense. Especially, once you’ve parked up and tasted your first whisky. Speyside is the region with the highest concentration of whisky producers and, to many, it’s the best. I will do my utmost to prove that the area isn’t just a destination for whisky groupies but, given that the inspiration for my visit was partly The Macallan, that might look a tad ungrateful. Sadly, while I could rave about the hospitality on offer at The Macallan, it really wouldn’t be fair. Unless you’re a major importer of their single malts,
or a spawny-git journalist like me, you won’t ever get the chance to stay there. You can, though, visit the distillery and that’s highly recommended even if, like me, you’re not a stranger to the magical processes behind this nectar/acquired taste/throat-stripping liquid from hell (delete as applicable). It’s a smart balance between educational and fun, and the antique and the modern, and one of the most thorough tours of its ilk. The region is also excellent for fishing. I realise how blokeish this is all sounding, with the single malt and waders talk but – next to thrashing a 600bhp Bentley round twisting country roads – fly fishing is one of life’s utter joys. There’s a Zenlike beauty to its simplicity. When all that matters for an hour or two is the rod, the line, and the endless process of casting and reeling, the mind has no option but to relax. It’s bliss – and it’s probably even better if you actually catch a fish. So, you can’t stay at The Macallan Estate. Where can you go? Well, you’re spoilt for choice with b&bs and so on but, if you’re keen to make an impression – or just thank someone for doing most of the driving while you sample assorted 30 year old bottles – Boath House is the place. ▶
MOTORS BENTLEY 68 FEBRUARY
▶ Don and Wendy Matheson are the gently determined force behind this charming retreat. The house itself, apparently once described as “the most beautiful Regency house in Scotland” was in disarray when they found it, and on Historic Scotland’s ‘Endangered List’. They’ve spent nearly 20 years restoring it to its glory (for the results, see the photo, right), and the outcome is less hotel, and more a home you can also go and stay in. This is why planning is necessary for a Speyside jaunt. Boath House boasts – and that’s not easy to say even before a dram – a mere eight bedrooms. All are gorgeous. The Mathesons are charming hosts. It’s peaceful, relaxed, friendly... Oh, and did I mention there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant there? From the amuse – olive choux buns that still have me salivating every time I think of them – to the cheese, head chef Charlie Lockley doesn’t put a foot wrong. This is very clever cooking, where the (mostly) local ingredients (some homegrown, some foraged) are allowed to shine but in combinations that show Lockley’s talent and imagination. Michelin should also be congratulated for their thoroughness: it’s not the most obvious of locations to find cooking of this calibre. Mind you, their inspectors no doubt had fun getting there because the region – like most of Scotland to be fair – is brilliant for driving. I’m sure there are many cars in Scotland but clearly they’re all concentrated on Princes Street. It was, as you can imagine, a grin-inducing experience throwing a Bentley around
●● The GT Speed handles like it’s made of air – crisp, unpolluted Highland air 70 FEBRUARY
GLENS AND BENDS: (from top) The magnificently restored, Michelin-starred Boath House in Nairn; the freedom of the open road; the Continental GT Speed looks pretty, pretty good from behind as well
such beautiful, clear and windy roads, particularly the Continental GT Speed, which leapt to the top of my ‘When I Win The Lottery I’m Having...’ list. That’s not to detract from the Flying Spur or the GTC, of course, just that everything feels so right putting your foot down (within the clearly defined and legal speed limits of course, officer) in several tons of shinyblue curvy metal. It’s a rare occurrence when I will turn down a drink – and it’s an even rarer car that will make me do so. But for the Bentley GT Speed, I really would give up rather a lot – whisky, wine, er... water. Really, it’s that good. I guess 6-litres of unrestrained W12 happiness has that effect on a man. For a car that clearly weighs a considerable amount (especially
with me sitting in it after a weekend at Boath House) it handles like it’s made of air – crisp, unpolluted Highland air. That said, the joys of the roads and the countryside would still appeal if I was driving my own 1.6-litre Not-a-Bentley. The mountains are spectacular – and the cafe at the top of the Cairngorms does a cracking Millionaire’s Shortbread – while the heather-dotted open spaces are beautiful, and the water is astonishingly clear. And Scotland throws it all together in combinations that, much like the Bentley, will leave you nigh breathless. ■ Boath House Hotel is at Auldearn, Nairn, IV12 5TE; 01667 454 896, boath-house.com For more on Bentley, contact either Bentley Essex, on 0844 668 0230 or Bentley Kent on 0844 668 0240
a sporting ChanCe
Land rover and square MiLe have teamed up to offer you a unique rugby experience
rugBY pLaYers Can be a
complex breed. On the ﬁeld, they’re uncompromising machines: their brawn and power is unrivalled. Off the ﬁeld, they’re often not what you would expect – intelligent, urbane and sophisticated. So not unlike Land Rover’s new 2010 Range Rover Sport, then. Rugged and reﬁned in equal measure, the 2010 Range Rover Sport boasts two new power trains delivering exceptional performance and a whole host of state-of-the-art technology. With such a compelling combination of qualities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Land Rover is the oﬃcial vehicle of England Rugby. The RBS 6 Nations is almost upon us and this year’s tournament promises to be one of the closest in recent years. As well as being the oﬃcial vehicle for the Square Mile Charity Golf Cup, we’re thrilled that Land Rover and the 2010 Range Rover Sport are now helping us to celebrate this historic rugby tournament. The Square Mile Rugby Lunch, supported by Land Rover, is an exclusive event where you can meet leading luminaries from rugby to get the inside track on the tournament. The lunch is held on Wednesday 24 February at Victoria Embankment’s Buddha Bar, where you will be joined by a host of Land Rover ambassadors including England internationals and Rugby World Cup winners Will Greenwood MBE and Josh Lewsey MBE; Scotland international and British & Irish Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan OBE; and our host – Sky Sports rugby presenter Simon Lazenby. You’ll be able to put your questions to the experts – whether you
●● This is a rare chance to put your questions to the real experts squaremileclub.com
want their predictions for 2010, their tips for the World Cup or to hear war stories from their days in the fray.
We are offering you the chance to win a table for ten at the Square Mile Rugby Lunch supported by Land Rover. To enter, please go to squaremileclub.com/events.asp
For more information, or to buy tickets to the Square Mile Rugby Lunch supported by Land Rover, email firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
To book a test drive of the 2010 Range Rover
Sport or order a full brochure please call 0800 110 110 or visit: landrover.co.uk/squaremile
Oﬃcial fuel consumption ﬁgures in mpg for the Range Rover Sport range (l/100km): Urban 25.2 (11.2) - 13.0 (21.8), Extra Urban 34.9 (8.1) - 26.3 (10.7), Combined 30.7 (9.2) - 18.9 (14.9); CO2 emissions: 243 - 353 g/km February 73
YOU’VE EARNED YOUR BONUS...
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www.crestnicholson.com *Incentive is available for reservations on selected plots only and is subject to availability and Crest Nicholson's terms and conditions. Prices correct at time of going to press. Main image taken at The Pier penthouses, smaller images show Base and St Pancras Station.
Galvin La Chapelle
the Ritz Club a the ritZ CluB, 150 piCCadilly, w1 t 020 7499 1818; p memBerS only; w theritZCluB.Com
a Galvin la Chapelle, St Botolph’S hall, 35 Spital Square, e1; t 020 7299 0400; p £60pp inCludinG wine; w GalvinreStaurantS.Com
Something rare and surprising happened when I walked into Galvin La Chapelle. As my coat, scarf and umbrella were taken away, my breath was too. Maybe it’s because I’ve had one too many client lunches – or just ‘one too many’ – but the majority of London restaurants have become muddled in a blur of beige chairs, white walls and an excess of truffle oil. But there’s no forgetting the new restaurant from the brothers Galvin. In the centre of Spitalfields, Galvin La Chapelle sits in a unique pocket of history, the Grade II-listed St Botolph’s Hall. The beautiful 19thcentury building almost suffered the same fate as many of the neighbouring buildings, and would have been demolished, if it wasn’t for the protests of local residents. Thank God they went to the trouble. Because what remains is the most ethereal restaurant venue in London. The highbeamed ceilings, halo-like chandeliers and arched church windows echo the building’s spiritual past. Antique mirrors, studded brown leather seats and royal red menus only add to the grandeur of the ceremonial, almost celestial, atmosphere. Fortunately the food and wine are just as heavenly. Lasagne of Dorset crab to start was light, fresh and – thanks to a scattering
of chanterelles and chervil – earthy and seasonal too. A pouilly fuissé from Domaine Thibert was a fitting choice to go alongside, thanks to its metallic finish. For the main course, I didn’t have much difficulty convincing the wife to share the restaurant’s signature roast côte de boeuf with Hermitage jus – washed down with a drop of classic claret, Chateau Lucas 2004. Although the beef was, as you’d hope, silky and succulent, it was the side dish that stole the show: truffle macaroni. Yes, macaroni. Although on presentation it may have looked like a microwave mac & cheese from the Sainsbury’s Basics range, it couldn’t taste further from it. On its own it would make a delicious main, but as a partner to the woodroasted beef it was foodie paradise. The dessert menu is full of temptations, but the wide selection of French farmhouse cheese is a far more fitting finale to this feast. I’ve always been a fan of Park Lane’s Galvin at Windows: the view from the top of the Hilton is one of the most impressive in the capital. So it was always going to be difficult for them to top this. But they did. Congratulations to the whole Galvin tribe – five family members run the establishment – on creating a restaurant that looks good enough to eat, and eats as good as it looks. – Mark Hedley
Deep beneath the streets of Piccadilly lies a secret wonderland where the opulence of Versailles meets the world’s most exclusive privately owned gaming club, an award-winning restaurant and a sumptuous bar fit for a Russian czar. Situated in the former ballroom of the Ritz hotel and recently voted home of the Best Casino VIP Room in the World at the 2010 International Gaming Awards, The Ritz Club Casino is a well-kept secret among gamers and seekers after unusual dining opportunities. Chef de cuisine Philippe Vanderwalle and his awardwinning team produce French, Thai, Lebanese, Chinese and Indian dishes so the hungry gambler can eat classic versions of dishes from around the world, prepared by native chefs. Many join for the gaming, but also for the late licence (6am) and because The Ritz Club is one of central London’s most exotic hidden destinations. For the gambler, there are seven roulette tables, four blackjack, three poker and two baccarat tables. But we love The Ritz Club chiefly because almost no one treading the pavements of Piccadilly above has any knowledge of its existence, because the food is astonishing and because, by being a member, you enter a nearsecret subterranean world. To see The Ritz Club in all its glory turn to our fashion story, p40. – Martin Deeson
RestauRant Reviews squaremileclub.com
aqua a 240 reGent St, w1; t 020 7478 0540; p £55pp inCludinG wine; w aqua-london.Com
If ever there was a restaurant that allows you to shout “Back of the net!” on a first date, then Aqua has to be it. For all the world more like a nightclub than a traditional London eating establishment, a low-key, street-level doorman whisks you up in a lift to the top floor of what was once the old Dickins & Jones building off Great Marlborough Street, where a gaggle of stylish staff meet you and glide you into the cocktail bar. As for the aesthetic, think sleek and chic cutting-edge Hong Kong, thanks to owner, Southeast Asia’s premier restaurateur, David Yeo. Aqua’s conceit – two different restaurants under one roof – is trademark Yeo, developed in Hong Kong. Aqua Kyoto is the Japanese offering, while Aqua Nueva is the, duh, Spanish element. We were turning Japanese for the night, and glad we did, with a phalanx of dishes from sushi and sashimi to the hot grill items (black cod shone, and the chicken sansho teriyaki was particularly good). You will over-order, but I’ll wager you’ll finish everything. The menu does chop and change a little, and my only criticism would be that some of the dish descriptions could be slightly less clinical. The food is far more mouth watering than the rather dry billing might lead you to expect. And the icing on this rooftop cake is one for the smokers – with an enormous, open-air terrace that will prove a huge lure in the summer months, offering as it does one of the best views in the whole of London. – Antonia Methuen
Capital a the Capital reStaurant, BaSil Street, Sw3; t 020 7589 5171; p £80pp inCludinG wine; w Capitalhotel.Co.uk
I’ve never been a great fan of Knightsbridge, with its cavernous palaces of opulence and chichi department stores flooded with tourists in search of the cheapest product on offer just so they can get a bag. Yes, it’s very close to Hyde Park and pretty convenient, but then so are plenty of other places where, frankly, I’d rather spend my time. That said, as a Londoner I’m always welcome for any excuse to love even the most offensive corner of our beloved city, and as far as Knightsbridge and I are concerned, that excuse is the Capital. Tucked safely away from the bustling throng in an inconspicuous (if rather grand) townhouse on Basil Street, The Capital Hotel has provided a welcoming and luxurious haven for the well-heeled since it opened its doors in 1969. Its restaurant has been long been a beacon of fine dining, winning its first Michelin star in 1974 and a second in 2001. The past few months have seen a period of change, however, with Jérôme Ponchelle (previously of Wiltons and the Connaught) installed as executive chef and that second Michelin star struck off earlier this year. 2010, then, is an important year for the Capital, and I can happily report that the early signs are very promising indeed. Though unsurprisingly a little quiet – our
midweek visit was during one of those ferociously cold snaps in January when every day threatened the dawn of a new ice age and everyone carried hip flasks and a bar of Dairy Milk in case they got lost in a blizzard – the Capital’s small dining room was pleasantly atmospheric. But it’s the classically styled French menu that really grabs the attention – an amuse-bouche of tempura sole in a white bean velouté setting a strong precedent that the rest of the menu had no problem following. Haddock carpaccio to start was Ponchelle’s philosophy on a plate – unfussy and unpretentious, but brimming with robust flavours – while tournedos of filet mignon (presumably sourced from bovine royalty) were matched by the impossibly light truffle potato served alongside. Service was attentive, helpful and unobtrusive throughout. The wine list is expertly composed too, as you might expect from a restaurant whose proprietor, David Levin, owns a winery in the Loire Vallery. My partner accompanied her Lobster thermidor with a Vincent Girardin puligny-montrachet, and a distinctive Jura vin de paille from Domaine Rolet – packed with dried fruit – was a genuine treat and the perfect companion to my prune soufflé. If this year offers a challenge for the Capital, it’s one it appears well equipped to meet. And Knightsbridge? All is forgiven. – Jon Hawkins
RestauRant Reviews 76 FeBRuARY
ARUNDEL SQ ISLINGTON
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A rare opportunity to aquire a unique funky two bedroom duplex apartment on Hove sea front with direct sea views.
Living Room and stage Kitchen Diner on mezzanine overlooking seafront En-suite
Brunswick Terrace: A two bedroom 1st and 2nd floor duplex apartment with mezzanine kitchen level, situated on the sea front with direct sea views. 1st floor has a Juliet balcony. A prime location within commuter distance to the city or would make a great holiday home.
ACCOMMODATION: Entrance hallway: Fully carpeted, storage cupboard, lobby area lift directly to apartment, video phone, cloakroom, under stair storage area. Living room: 17.10 x 15 ft Great size, fully carpeted, deep skirting, coving, contemporary radiator, three floor to ceiling multi pane sash windows looking south directly towards seafront, recess storage area for ornamental purposes, steps up to raised area, almost like a stage, fantastic sea views, easy access on to the balcony. Kitchen Diner: 16.6 x 15.5 ft Raised mezzanine above living room, wooden upper floor, sash windows with views south towards seafront over Hove lawns, Shaker style kitchen with a range of low and eye level units, integrated oven and four burner hop, double drainer and half sink with mixer tap and stainless steel splash back, space for a double fridge, plumbing for washing machine. Master Bedroom: 10.5 x 12ft Good sized double bedroom, wooden flooring, sash window, built in wardrobe, access to en- suite.
Bed 1 En-suite: Fully tiled bathroom, range of white units, Japanese bath with over head shower and wall mounted mixer, contemporary toilet with push button flush, basin with mixer tap, shaver point, large wall mounted mirror with wall light, recess area for cosmetics, hanging light, contemporary radiator. Bedroom Two: 10.1 x11.10ft Fully carpeted, great sized double bedroom, deep skirting, spot lit, range of built in wardrobes, large vanity make up area with mirror, sash window. Bed 2 En-suite: Fully tiled bathroom, range of white units, white basin with mixer tap, white toilet, bath with wall mounted shower attachment, large wall mounted mirror with wall lights, shaver point, spot lit, contemporary wall mounted radiator. Separate WC: With basin. Storage Area: Currently used as an office area, wiring for broadband.
Leasehold (100 year tenure) For a viewing or for an info pack please contact: t: 07850 955742 e: email@example.com
View from balcony, south facing and a stones throw from a quiet beach and the sea
Become part of cosmopolitan Brighton & Hove with itâ€™s feverish nightlife, oodles of restaurants and abundance of culture
GOOD HEAD AT HEIGHT BONUS ROUND
Not to mention bouquet. MARK HEDLEY meets Tom Harrow: the wine world’s answer to Evil Knievel
IT’S ABOUT TIME someone made Top Gear for the wine world. I know James May tried his best with his BBC series, but Oz Clarke kept getting in the way. Step up, Tom Harrow Esq, co-founder of WineChap – a service that delivers news and reviews of restaurant wine lists in a quest for value, variety and character. Harrow puts it simply: “We spend our time poring over lists, so the only pouring you need to do is into your glass.” He prides himself on fearlessly going where no wine critic has gone before. When I meet him, he’s preparing for the world’s first inverted champagne tasting. In layman’s terms, he was about to down a glass of bubbly while looping the loop. For this, he employed the talents of The Blades, the UK’s only full-time civilian formation display team. Thanks to centrifugal force and the skills of ex-fighter pilot and Red Arrows veteran Andy Evans, Harrow managed to enjoy a glass of Armand de Brignac’s awardwinning Brut Gold while fully inverted. You may be asking, with good reason, why he was doing this? The airborne stunt was part of a larger experiment, in which I was participating, to distinguish what the effects of airplane flight are on the characteristics of wine. This explains why later that day we were on board one of ConnectJets’ Hawker 800XP private jets. ConnectJets is the first one-stop-shop for “private squaremileclub.com
jet solutions”, including, in our case, a quick UK tour in order to facilitate an exploration of the constraints that altitude and cabin pressure place on the taste of wine. All in the pursuit of scientific research, you understand. The jet enabled us quickly to reach the altitude of a 747, so we could accurately replicate the environment of a long-haul flight – but without the jet lag, screaming babies or queues for the toilet. The theory is that altitude, air compression and air quality physically affect our senses as well as the character of the wines. I was only too happy to be the guinea pig. Champagne was the natural place to start. It has recently been established by some intelligent people in lab coats that bubbles in champagne contain 30 times more flavour-enhancing chemicals than in the actual liquid. So given the dissipating effects of the air pressure on the bubbles, the champagnes would have to work extra hard to impress.
●● In flight, the champagnes would have to work extra hard
WINE WITH ALTITUDE
The much-lauded Armand de Brignac showed impressive complexity on terra firma, but at 10,000ft did lose its impact. Bollinger’s Grand Année 2000 was far more successful though – the more robust pinot noir-dominated Bolly performed stoically, the bead persisting stubbornly, helping to retain the wine’s integrity. When it came to the whites, a weakwilled grüner veltliner from Weingut Bründlmayer failed to make its mark – on the ground, or in the air. And a 2006 chablis grand cru from Domaine Brocard lost its trademark steely resolve as soon as we’d taken off. It was a Provençal Aliot 2007 from Chene Bleu that won universal praise – its extra oak helping to keep its structure in place as it refused to cow to the conditions. With the reds, the more concentrated, fruit-centred wines won out – with clarets beating off the competition. The trick is to go for ripe, maturing vintages such as 1995, 1996, and 2000: nothing so aged as to hold sediment in suspension. Sadly we were restricted to a onehour flight. But together ConnectJets and WineChap have formed the world’s first private aviation wine consultancy, so speak to them; they’ll sort out the plane and the wine. Sadly, looping the loop isn’t part of the package. ■ Wine Chap, 020 7405 3371, winechap.com; Connect Jets, 01932 834 949, connectjets.com; 01604 671 309, Blades, excelaviation.com.
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SuNNy SIde up
Travel CarIBBeaN SpeCIal Judith Baker kicks
off our Caribbean special with a trip to Antigua and Barbuda, while ChriS PeCk takes it to the next level in Barbados
antigua & Barbuda Sun, Sea and sand make the cocktail that the brochures call ‘paradise’ and the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, with 365 beaches between them, have perfected the recipe. We arrive through the pearly gates of Sandals to winter temperatures in the mid-70s, champagne on ice and the undivided attention of Cecil, our butler. Cecil is impeccably dressed in a brocade waistcoat with brass buttons. He glides
across the floor, proffering drinks and canapés. If this is paradise, Cecil is surely an angel. Sandals Grand Antigua caters for couples looking for the ultimate in romance and indulgence. Our villa comes with bubbling private Jacuzzi and our own plunge pool, and a candlelit dinner on the pristine beach awaits us, with the lapping of waves supplying heavenly music. It must be paradise… There has been no downturn in the number of upscale hotels on Antigua – last year saw the opening of the luxury Sugar Ridge Antigua on the west coast and the renovated Jumby Bay Rosewood Resort, following a $26m upgrade. The
telephone directory of this particular paradise must read like Hello! magazine. Eric Clapton, Giorgio Armani and Oprah Winfrey, among others, have a second home on Antigua, which continues to be a magnet for yacht lovers, cricket aficionados and those searching for la dolce vita. On that note, Silvio Berlusconi is another who is building a villa here. In less salubrious circumstances, Admiral Horatio Nelson found himself here in 1784 developing British naval facilities at English Harbour. His construction, Nelson’s Dockyard, survives today as the only remaining example in the world of a Georgian naval dockyard. By the end of the 18th century
Antigua had become the ‘Gateway of the Caribbean’ as a strategic port and valuable commercial colony. These days the stately architecture of Nelson’s Dockyard hosts a more hedonistic set – those drawn by the international racing boats, recreational yachts, and classic sailboats of Antigua’s annual Sailing Week. Yachts and yachtsmen from all over the world flock here, making it one of the world’s most glamorous maritime events. For those taking their sailing seriously, Nonsuch Bay Resort, 20 minutes from English Harbour, is the only luxury resort in the Caribbean to offer specialist sailing facilities. Staying in one of 62 luxury apartments built around a secluded beach or 18 waterfront and hilltop villas, guests can book sailing as an inclusive package, with as much sailing as they want, as well as group tuition, technique clinics, trips and activities for all ages and abilities. But there’s a whole world here above the water – the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour is a unique eco-tour through Antigua’s lush rainforest, which promises an unforgettable journey high above the trees. Intrepid explorers may prefer an eco-kayaking tour through the mangrove, on the wilder side of the tropics. And there’s always cricket, played anytime, anywhere, anyhow on Antigua, from village green or beach games to international tournaments. Cricket is practically a religion here. Antiguans are justifiably proud of the sport’s legends; their most celebrated being Sir Vivian Richards whose name is given to the cricket stadium that opened in 2007 for the ICC Cricket World Cup. The man himself may often be spotted driving around the island or at Spinnakers Beach Bar & Restaurant in Dickenson Bay. For a change of pace we make our way to Barbuda, Antigua’s pretty little sister – and another world. This is a quieter, pinker paradise. We arrived in style at The Lighthouse Bay Resort on Barbuda by the hotel’s private helicopter, which promises to have guests on the immaculate beach in under an hour from landing at Antigua’s international airport. Barbuda, just eight miles by 14, is composed mainly of rosy–hued beach ▶
eASy lIVINg: (clockwise, from top) private dining at Sandals; cats at Jolly Beach; Nelson’s Dockyard
anguilla Proudly surrounded by 35 lush acres, with 3,200ft of beachfront along two bays, Viceroy’s latest resort on the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla has more amenities in its idyllic setting than you can shake the umbrella in your rum punch at. The Viceroy Anguilla Resort and Residences is the luxury hotel group’s first foray outside of the US – call it first time lucky, but it has chosen very smartly indeed. If not untouched by tourism, Anguilla still remains one of the most exclusive destinations in the Caribbean. The resort’s main lure has to be the azure waters and pristine beaches already supplied by Mother Nature, though the Viceroy Anguilla adds to them with bold architecture and sophisticated interiors that make use of driftwood, petrified wood and artwork from around the world. Add to the mix the signature restaurant Cobà, a cocktail bar carved into the cliff-side, a handsomely equipped fitness centre and an 8,000 sq ft spa poised at the water’s edge. Opens summer 2010. From £435 for an Ocean View Studio; +1 866 270 7798; viceroyanguilla.com
Enjoy True Rum responsibly www.truerum.com
Kerwin Stewart. Barrel Maker
Antigua & Barbuda | The Bahamas | Barbados | Belize | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Guyana | Haiti | Jamaica | St. Kitts and Nevis | St. Lucia | St. Vin Vincent nc n ce ent ntt and nd th nd the Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad and Tobago
Montserrat CARIBBeAN QUeeN: (clockwise, from top left) the sea off lighthouse Bay; kayaking in Antigua’s Mangrove Forest; lighthouse Bay itself, on a spit of land between lagoon and sea; lighthouse Bay’s lennox with friend
▶ where tiny crystals of sand twinkle in the sun like pools of pink champagne. The resident chef at Lighthouse Bay, Lennox, cooked for Princess Diana and the Princes William and Harry when they came to Barbuda to stay at the now closed K Club. These days, Guyanaborn Lennox will also provide private Caribbean cookery lessons for anyone tired of walking on deserted beaches or relaxing by the mosaic fringed pool. Lighthouse Bay opened in 2008 and has just nine ocean-front suites. A stroll on the sand that fringes the hotel is like a walk in our own personal grounds. The
●● a stroll on the sand that fringes the hotel is like a walk in our own personal grounds squaremileclub.com
resort lies with the Caribbean Sea to the west and a lagoon to the east, so it feels like being on a private island Stretching out for a cocktail is about as strenuous as it gets here, but guests are invited to go fishing for bonefish or lobster and bring their catch back to the kitchen for Lennox to prepare. Barbuda’s most famous resident by far is the graceful frigate bird, which has the largest wingspan (up to five feet) in proportion to its body size, of any bird in the world. Its sanctuary lies across the lagoon, where we can see the male bird guarding the nest on the mangrove. And who can blame him for wanting to protect his corner of paradise? ■ Return flights from London Gatwick to Antigua from £555 per person with British Airways; 0844 493 0787; ba.com; Nonsuch Bay, from £425 per person for seven nights, based on two sharing; nonsuchbayresort.com; seven nights in Antigua with Virgin Holidays, including flights and accommodation at the Sandals Grand Antigua, on an all-inclusive basis from £3,699; 0844 557 3859; virginholidays.co.uk; prices at Lighthouse Bay, Barbuda are around £600 per room per night for
For a bird’s-eye view of neighbouring Montserrat’s smouldering volcano, a helicopter ride from Antigua is available. We opted to see the island from the ground and took a day trip via a 20-minute ﬂight to the island known as the emerald Isle in honour of its Irish heritage. Day-trippers receive Montserrat’s green shamrock stamp in their passports; it’s the only country outside Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday. The day-trip packages give visitors a snapshot of life on this tiny unspoilt Caribbean island, which was devastated in 1997 when the Soufrière hills volcano collapsed, sending lava streaming towards the capital, Plymouth. Today, the southern part of the island remains an exclusion zone, though visitors can safely view the active volcano and Plymouth, where rooftops of buried buildings, including the courthouse and the steeple of St Patrick’s Church, are still visible. After a guided tour of the island, we had lunch at Overstone house, the colonial-style villa owned by Beatles’ producer Sir george Martin. Sir george’s AIR studios were based here on Montserrat in the 1970s, when the island played host to stars including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones and elton John. Day-trip packages to Montserrat start from £120 per person, including air travel; visitmontserrat.com
a junior suite; lighthousebaybarbuda.com
Barbados Stunning white Sandy beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, baking sunshine and deliciously smooth Mount Gay rum, all things which Barbados is well-known for, as well as being the regular holiday haunt of TV’s most irritating: Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Michael Winner, for starters. But don’t let them put you off, because if your bonus prospects are looking healthy this year, then you could do a lot worse than look to this colonial gem for a well-earned break – or even investment opportunity if the tax-man is hammering at your back door. Of course, any other tropical island will offer stiff competition, but when Hawaii is teeming with irritating Americans, Mauritius and the Maldives are over-populated with loved-up honeymooners, and travel to archipelagos like the Turks & Caicos require enough flight changes to make you feel like you’re a stand-in BA trolley dolly on a cut-price contract, you’ll be booking your ticket to Barbados faster than Michael Winner can say “Calm down, dear. It’s only a commercial”. Only eight hours on a direct flight from London with either Virgin or BA, and only five hours behind GMT, means that this island paradise is easily within reach and with no more jet-lag than after a weekend’s shopping in New York. There are enough hotels on the island to accommodate most of the population of the Home Counties should they all desire to travel at the same time. In fact, there are still more being built, but if your bonus is on course to meet expectations, then only the best will do. And while Sandy Lane might be regarded as the top resort on the island, you would run the risk of sharing your holiday with Cowell & Co. No, if you want your holiday to be truly luxurious, then the only option, apart from a yacht, is to rent a luxury private villa – or, better still, buy one. And rather than running the risk of not knowing what to expect when you get there, the Royal Westmoreland Resort has everything you could need.
BeST, SPA NONe: Royal Westmoreland’s Indulgence Spa is the last word in pampering
A 20-minute drive up the west coast from Bridgetown, the 750-acre gated development looks out from its enviable hilltop position (staying away from the beach means you are less likely to get eaten alive by mosquitoes, apparently) over a range of luxurious villas and
●● there are enough hotels to accommodate the population of the home Counties
apartments, lush green grounds, restaurants, pools, tennis courts, spa facilities and – of course – across the allimportant Caribbean Sea. Centred around an award-winning 18-hole golf course, with another in the stages of construction, there are a selection of villas to suit every taste and budget, and if you are not looking to commit, then the estate has an enviable selection of properties to rent. With everything from one-bedroom apartments for that more intimate escape, through smaller villas set around communal pools, and on through to the premium villas with private pools, landscaped grounds and customdesigned luxurious interiors, there is enough choice to satisfy even the most demanding partner. And if you’re looking for your own slice of celebrity, or you worry that the
villas might just be your run-of-the-mill luxuriously appointed colonial style that you might find on any exclusive estate, (perish the thought), Royal Westmoreland has a selection owned by well-known sportsmen including Joe Calzaghe, Wayne Rooney, Freddie Flintoff and Steve McLaren. They have all bought properties on the estate. These border the golf course and are found down palm-fringed lanes, and all of which are now available to rent. And once you’ve settled in you will not be spoilt for a choice of things to do. A game of tennis or golf first thing in the morning, a spot of lunch in the clubhouse, before hopping in a resort minibus down to the private Mullins Beach (although there are no private beaches in Barbados, the beach club and supremely luxurious sun-loungers are exclusive to Royal Westmoreland and rigorously policed by the beach bell captains who are on hand to provide immaculate beachside service) before slinking off to the Indulgence Spa for a treatment, with absolutely no sign of an attention-seeking celebrity. By the time you return to your villa, any dirty laundry from the day before will have been washed and pressed thanks to a daily visit from your personal housekeeper, meaning you just have to slip into something suitable for dinner at one of the island’s exclusive restaurants. I’d suggest The Lone Star: with its sublime beach-side dining, the water lapping gently at the shore, the food, while delicious, cannot beat its location. And if you do get round to exploring the rest of the island, take advantage of the on-site concierge team who can arrange tours, dinners, trips and activities for even the most ardent culture fanatic. For those after for a well-earned sunsplash, the average temperature between February and April is a balmy 26oC. And if you are looking for a more glamorous tax haven than Geneva or Jersey, note there is no capital gains tax, inheritance tax, estate or gift tax (and a company tax of only 25 per cent). In short, the Royal Westmoreland Estate can offer you all the unbridled the glamour of the Caribbean – and the knowledge that you won’t be
The lAST ReSORT: beach living at the Royal Westmoreland; (bottom) a bird’s-eye view of some of the luxury homes at the resort
sharing your white sandy bay with a boatload of paps all after a shot of Simon Cowell getting his moobs out. ■ royalwestmoreland.com Rental prices: one-bedroom penthouse apartment
With a pristine underwater world, a highly regarded marine conservation policy and an unswerving reputation for quality and safety, the Cayman Islands are renowned as one of the world’s top diving locations. The three islands – grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and little Cayman – are in fact the tips of a submerged mountain range and at around 2,000m deep, the surrounding waters offer immense wall diving, in addition to numerous wreck and reef dives. The islands boast a total of 305 dive sites, with over 160 of these located on grand Cayman. The islands have 30 professional dive operators providing a comprehensive range of diving services and courses for everyone, from beginner to expert. All of the dive sites are within a 15-minute boat ride from the shore and this proximity means that diving sessions are hassle-free, making a two-tank dive before lunch the norm. Additionally, only one boat is permitted per dive site at a time, so divers can enjoy a peaceful, uninterrupted dive in relaxed surroundings. All sites have permanent moorings and therefore suffer no anchor damage. Divers can expect to see glittery silversides, angelfish, parrot fish and of course, stingrays. These can be seen at the ‘best four-metre dive in the world’ – Stingray City. This is a natural shallow sand bar where hundreds of friendly stingrays gather to interact with divers and snorkellers. 020 7491 7771; caymanislands.co.uk divecayman.ky
from £210 per night during low season (1 May-14 Dec) up to £2,575 per night for a seven-bedroom property on the exclusive Ocean Drive in peak season. Purchase prices: Royal apartments from US$429,000 (around £263,000), individual plots are still available to buy for individually designed homes. Prices dependent on specification. British Airways and Virgin both have daily flights to Barbados from London Gatwick. For more information, please call 01524 782 503 for holiday sales and 01524 782 649 for property sales.
Cp 376 Port St Charles, St Peter, Barbados A superb 3-bedroom, beachfront penthouse with its own roof terrace at Port St Charles benefiting from double aspect views to the sea and lagoon. The roof terrace has a barbecue, Jacuzzi, covered area with fridge. Master bedroom and a second bedroom face the sea (west) while the 3rd bedroom and kitchen faces the lagoon (east). All bedrooms en suite. Cloakroom. The property comes with a private 60 ft berth and option to join the exclusive Port St Charles Yacht Club.
US$5.25 million, furnished
Portico, Prospect Beach, St James, Barbados A collection of superbly presented 3-bedroom penthouses and apartments with impressive open lines guaranteeing unimpeded views of the Prospect Beach and Caribbean Sea. Coral stone, natural wood, marble and granite finishes compliment the European kitchens, private plunge pools and wide sea views. Each unit comes with its own plunge pool, and there is direct beach access using the beach elevator. Shared facilities include a lap pool with wet bar and a gym. 3,500 - 5,000 sq ft of living space.
US$4.95 - US$6.95 million
Caribbean Property i n t e r n a t i o n a l
St Peter’s Bay, Speightstown, St Peter, Barbados A highly desirable selection of 57 three and four bedroom Residences and Penthouses set in 4 acres of beachfront land on Barbados’ platinum west coast. Designed by renowned architect Ian Morrison, the discreet elegance will be complimented by a range of facilities including membership at Port St Charles Yacht Club, 160 ft freeform swimming pool, a beauty salon, 24 hr concierge, private water taxi, on site property management and security personnel.
US$2.3 - 3.45 million
Apes Hill, St James, Barbados Set in 475 acres of beautiful plantation land, the Apes Hill Golf and Polo development sits on a central ridge giving outstanding 360 degree vistas around the island and to the East and West coasts of Barbados. Facilities will include a tennis centre with clay, grass, and all-weather hard surface courts, a lavish Spa, a full sized polo field with a resident coach, a club house with gym, swimming pool, fine and casual dining, and a first-class concierge service.
Plots from US$275,000 – 1.177 million Villas from US$1.15 – 1.3 million
Caribbean Property International • 020 7622 6515 • 07949 615 628 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.caribbeanproperty.co.uk
Barbados CLIFTON PLANTATION $POA The Clifton Plantation is a unique polo estate for sale in St Thomas, Barbados. Stroll up the one-mile palm-lined drive, and you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. The main house is a five-bedroom 10,000 sq ft home with a 20ft by 40ft swimming pool and Jacuzzi. There’s also a threebedroom guest cottage for when your friends come to stay (and if you buy the estate, they will come to stay). You also have 241 acres of land to play with, including: 32 stables (with grooms’ quarters, tack room and hay storage); more than 50 acres of fenced paddocks; and a nine-acre polo field with pavilion. It’s the perfect pad if you’re thinking of upping sticks. ■ Caribbean Property International; 020 7622 6515; 07949 615 628; email@example.com; caribbeanproperty.co.uk
Home from home with a luxury feel
www.hotel-una.co.uk 55-56 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2FF t. 01273 820464 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
designed to sell out In these straitened times, savvy developers are bucking the trend by investing in top-notch interior design, says Bernadette coStello
Arundel SquAre ISlIngton, london
PhiliPPe Starck Sent Hamptons International into a panic when callers flooded the estate agent’s phonelines after reading an article about him in the Sunday Times. The inimitable designer was styling up a Yoo development in Maida Vale, west London, but the story had broken earlier than expected and Hamptons had to set up an emergency marketing suite to cope with buyers hopeful of moving quickly to snap up a Starck property in the capital.
●● design is the extra element that adds value to the right location 92 FEBRUARY
At the height of recession in spring 2009, all the apartments in The Wenlock Building in Islington sold out – but Rob Soning, operations director of Londonewcastle, says it could have sold apartments there “three times over”. On this occasion it was the contemporary touch of design duo Johnson Naylor who contributed to sales velocity. “We always overspend in the interior design department but our units tend to sell quickly even in a downward market, which has never been more relevant in today’s environment,” explains Soning. Designer Tara Bernerd is now styling 115 apartments and penthouses at Arundel Square – a joint venture between Londonewcastle and United House in Islington. Top Irish designers Kevin Mullarkey and Suzanne Garuda were also called in to The K Club – the famous golf and spa resort that hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup. Marketing director Catherine Monaghan says the new designer
Londonewcastle is at the forefront of the capital’s regeneration movement and its joint ventures with United House are turning London’s past into a celebration in modern design. Arundel Square is in the Barnsbury Conservation Area. In 2009, engineers sealed and extended the garden square and eco-consultants created a tranquil living space for residents. The six-storey Victorian stucco structure has been redesigned and transformed into 115 contemporary apartments and penthouses using the chic touch of interior designer Tara Bernerd. “Tara and I both understand what we need to achieve for certain developments,” says Rob Soning, operations director of Londonewcastle. “She is great at understanding the market and has a good comprehension of diversity.” Arundel Square has good transport links, pubs, shops, theatres and restaurants. “This is in an established residential neighbourhood with wide leafy streets,” adds Soning. “Young professionals will be close to the City or West End for work but can also cut off in their free time.” Prices: One-beds from £285,000; two-beds from £475,000; penthouses from £1m contact: Chesterton Humberts t: 020 7288 0330; arundelsquare.com
the lAkeS by yoo neAr lechlAde, the cotSwoldS
PHOTOGRAPH: (Villalagos) Dennis Gilbert, dennisgilbert.com
A rambling 650-acre estate in the heart of the Cotswolds – 90 minutes from London – is home to The Lakes by Yoo, sitting peacefully on the water’s edge. Verandas span the length of stylish wooden-and-glass holiday homes, with stunning views across a landscape of lakes and woodlands. Residents can select the designs of Jade Jagger, Kelly Hoppen or the Yoo design team. “We want to create an environment where nature and the best of contemporary design can live in partnership, allowing you to explore this incredible setting without disturbing or damaging it – and where houses are integrated into the landscape, rather than a blot on it,” says Yoo co-founder John Hitchcox. Expect a Swallows & Amazons lifestyle at The Lakes by Yoo – biking, treehouses and woodland dens for kids, nature trails, sailing and waterskiing for you. By August 2010 there will be a spa, restaurant, kids’ club and tennis club, as well as pools and a farm shop. Explore the nearby historic villages of Lechlade, Burford and Southrop for farmers’ markets and antiques, or enjoy a local ale in an old English pub. Price: Lakeside plots from £340,000; building cost for four-bed home from £470,000 contact: The Lakes by Yoo t: 01367 250 066; thelakesbyyoo.com
apartments and homes have added fivestar style to Ladycastle – an exclusive cluster of residences within The K Club’s historic country estate in Co Kildare. Firstlight The K Club, to use the full name, is offering shared ownership at Ladycastle but Monaghan points out that “becoming an owner involves so much more than just the house. “As the homes form part of a very high-end offering, complemented by Ireland’s only AA five-red-star hotel and resort, it was essential that the interiors were both consistent with the luxurious nature of the resort, and complementary to the extraordinary surroundings.” Both Soning of Londonewcastle and John Hitchcox of design and development firm Yoo point out that design is the extra element that adds value when they’ve found the right location, and they’ve understood their target market. “We create a lifestyle for people and we don’t really see ourselves as a property agent – we’re in the fashion business,” states Soning. Fashionista and socialite Jade Jagger went from iconic jewellery designer to accomplished interior designer overnight after teaming up with Yoo founders Hitchcox and Starck. The Jade in New York generated $2.3m worth of editorial coverage within ten weeks of launch – in fact, each Yoo project achieves on average $700,000 in worldwide editorial coverage. “The Yoo brand has been able to achieve premiums in the range of ten to 25 per cent, and selling 20 to 30 per cent faster than other competitive developments launched at the same time,” says Hitchcox. However, if all the elements don’t fit together, picking up an expensive designer property might be the wrong choice, as Soning points out. “We have come across projects where the developer has quite simply chosen the wrong interior designer for the location and target market,” he says. “That’s why Londonewcastle’s aim is to leave the legacy of a good reputation. Design is one principle that has not only served us well in this environment but a principle we will not be changing.” ■
VIllAlAgoS PuntA del eSte, uruguAy
Uruguay proved irresistible to former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller once he heard that Sir Michael Caine had bought a holiday home at Villalagos in the party capital of Punta del Este. Caine’s daughter Natasha is the interior designer at this contemporary lakeside retreat – her husband Michael Hall’s firm Obsidian is the developer. Natasha has created a contemporary style for these ultra-modern blockstyle homes by architect Stephania Kallos. But she’s added touches of the eclectic, shabby-chic style of nearby beach resort José Ignacio. Punta del Este offers a celebrity lifestyle for those who love to party like wild ones at the beach before returning to peace and tranquillity at their retreat in Villalagos. Brendan Baury, resort development director, says: “Without the designers we would not be able to achieve the detail to deliver this premium product. On the strength of the Caines not only being involved in the project but also investing in a property there, Simon Fuller purchased a home on the estate. “As a result this has attracted a lot of attention from local wealthy families who in turn have purchased properties to be part of this exclusive project.” Price: Land plots from $1m, plus building costs w: terramar.com.uy
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I HATE JANUARY more than I hate Victoria Beckham’s latest haircut, Australian backpackers on a rush-hour Tube, X-Factor, bars that serve goji-berry daiquiris and people who say Avatar is a ‘classic’. I hate January even more than I detest Jeremy Kyle, Wetherspoon’s pubs and Jordan’s vagina. In short, I really, really hate January. In fact, inversely, I hate January as much as I like ranting. I think the shrinks say the second working Monday of January is known as Black Monday because that’s where everyone gets so depressed they call in sick and stay in bed till the pub opens. Good plan, if you ask me. Especially with the weather as it is. I find it incomprehensible each year that local authorities must look out of the windows at the annual snowfall and say: “Ooh, that’s pretty, what’s that?” And they all watch as the transport network comes to a total standstill and the entire population of London is shuffling about on sheet ice like they’ve crapped themselves. “We’ve run out of grit,” say boroughs, “But we’ve got another 3,000 tonnes on order.” Brilliant. How are you going to get it delivered? Got an eight-tonne skidoo in the council’s garage, have we? Dolts. The City of London saw the North of England under five inches of snow and gritted BEFORE it snowed. Another reason I hate January is that it is the worst month for sport. When there’s nothing left to play we’re supposed to be interested in whether or not the big four football clubs are going to pay £700m for a coked-up Brazilian ladyboy-lookalike with a gift for caressing spheres. I’m bored with reading business stories on the back pages. Since when was Manchester United refinancing a £500m debt at a coupon five per cent above market rate a sport story? It isn’t – it’s corporate suicide, and therefore belongs in the business pages. So, January is over. Hurray! And so forward into the spring. Just look what we’ve got in February, for starters... The RBS 6 Nations: the RBS 6 Nations the year following a Lions Tour is always interesting. Last year was Ireland’s last gasp for a Grand Slam and they did it. 96 FEBRUARY
LIFE STEVE McDOWELL
rams a knife into January’s cold, cheerless heart and hails sport’s return
Have those younger players matured enough in South Africa to restock a successful side? Will Wales be back up to scratch? And has England put its injury crisis behind it and learned enough from their distinctly mediocre autumn series to mount a serious challenge? I can’t wait. FA Cup Fifth Round: Change the
●● The Winter Olympics is total insanity in which sane people hurl themselves down mountainsides
rules, we need video refs, offside rule changes blah, blah, blah. You know when football has become more fun because most of the big teams have been eliminated and the sound of mechanical whining goes on and on long after the empty team bus has left the car park. Cricket: poor Andrew Strauss. Cricketers move from continent to continent all year round, the poor man wants a break, and all he gets is grief from the been-there-done-it-brigade. Well, if Athers, Boycs, Both and HRH Gower and the rest were offered “in their day” the chance not to tour Pakistan and Bangladesh and instead stay home with the family I bet they’d have ripped the selectors’ spinning fingers off. And that was even before there was a half-decent chance of ending up in an impromptu beer match with Al-Qaeda. Winter Olympics: The best treat for this time of year only comes around every four years and provides splendid entertainment. It’s called the Winter Olympics and it is an absolute treat of total insanity in which (relatively) sane people hurl themselves down almost vertical mountainsides on a variety of ludicrous conveyances. My personal favourite is the skeleton luge in which in 2006 a hardy British lass called Shelley Rudman threw herself face first on what is essentially a beer tray at speeds of up to 80mph and won a silver medal, and an MBE, in the process. Bless her little Spandex socks. The evolution of these sports always intrigues me. What was it? A bit of a pissup on some Alpine peak and someone’s said: “I know (giggle) I’ll go and get the next round in record time.” Shhhhiiiiiiitttt! I can understand involvement in sports like skeleton luge if you come from a country above the Arctic Circle with loads of mountains where for nine months of the year there is nothing to do that doesn’t involve herrings, shagging or online poker… but it turns out Shelley comes from Wiltshire. That’s what I call sporting adventure. Tune in. It’ll do me till March and what could be the greatest Gold Cup of them all. Kauto Star vs Denman 3. For that, I’d even listen to Victoria Beckham sing. Well, maybe. ■
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Published on Feb 8, 2010
Published on Feb 8, 2010
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