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i-MAGAZINE Issue Three – July – December 2015 Search - IMAGAZINE.GB.COM UK £12.95 - US $19.95
STEPHANIE PHAIR [ the president of the OUTNET ] LORD JACOB ROTHSCHILD [ on philanthropy ] DONALD TRUMP [ interview with the all american billionaire ] SIR NICHOLAS SOAMES MP [ interview with winston churchill’s grandson ] JON SNOW [ interview with the anchor of channel 4 news ] WELCOME TO MONTE CARLO [ feature on the principality of monaco ]
Editor-In-Chief and Publisher Vincent Abrams email@example.com Designers Threeshadesred, Creative Director; Paul Martin Business Editor Nathan Dupont firstname.lastname@example.org Business Editorial Advisors Louise Dolan Lord Laird of Artigarvan Lord Beecham Lord Glentoran CBE Baroness Prashar CBE Lord Popat Baroness Thornton Baroness Greengross Lady Massey of Darwen Lord Soley Political Editors Simon Wills email@example.com Political Editorial Advisors Lord Jones of Cheltenham Baroness Perry Lord Smith Baron Grenfell of Kilvey Lord Chidgey Ronald J. Walker AC CBE Lord Willoughby de Broke
The Editor’s Letter Welcome to third issue of I-MAGAZINE, following the release of issue two, we have had amazing feedback from readers from all walks of life, remarking on the quality of journalism and overall look and feel of the magazine, a lot of work and passion goes into producing each copy so it is great to get such positive reactions from you. In this issue we interview US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, he talks to us on his thoughts about President Obama, philanthropy and what he wants his legacy to be. We also speak to Stephanie Phair, President of the OUTNET on her passions and plans for building an ever greater fashion business going forward. We also speak to Jon Snow, the Anchor at Channel 4
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News on a plethora of things including what he gets up to during a
Contributing Cultural Editor Henry Hopwood-Phillips
the Principality of Monaco, with a special focus on the Hermitage
Production Manager Paul Kharabanda
Board Member, Baroness Greengross writes on ‘’Doing Business
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Printing by The Magazine Printing Company Distributed by Smiths News & Menzies Contributors David Milner, CEO, Donald Trump, Gisela Stuart MP, Amuda, Jon Snow, Mark Edwards, Ian Priest, Stephanie Phair, Mark Easton, Mike France, Ben Elliot, Richard Dodgson, Mark Webster, Greg Taylor I-MAGAZINE Liberty House, 222 Regent Street London W1B 5TR Tel: + 44 (0) 203 755 3644 Fax: + 44 (0) 207 297 2100 www.imagazine.gb.com
typical day and how he started out in TV. There is also a feature on
Hotel and the Monte Carlo Beach Club. I-MAGAZINE Editorial
in an age of Demographic Change’’, whilst Lord Soley writes on his views regarding ‘’Russia and the World’’. We also speak to Lord Jacob Rothschild about his family and interest in philanthropy and what it means to him to give back to society and the importance of ‘sharing wealth’.
I very much hope you will enjoy this issue, we had great fun putting it together, your feedback is always appreciated, so when you get a moment please do feel free to email me via the email address below and let me know what you think of the magazine, you are also of course welcome to join us on Facebook and Twitter, to do so search -IMAGAZINE.GB.COM – I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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25 - CREDITS PAGE – Includes the letter from the Editor -In-Chief, Vincent Abrams. 31 - DIARY – Cultural events at home and abroad through the summer months of July through to December. 167 - NEW YORK HOTEL SPECIAL – a look at some of the best five star hotels in the City of New York, in association with The LOEWS Regency NY.
37 - GISELA STUART MP – the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston writes on the ‘The Importance of Anniversaries’. 43 - THE RT HON SIR NICHOLAS SOAMES – is interviewed by Henry Hopwood Phillips on the EU, Nigel Farage, immigration among other things. 57 - SIMON ANHOLT – writes on The Good Country, having launched the Good Country Index, Simon looks at what specific countries have given to humanity.
83 - BARONESS GREENGROSS – looks at ‘Responsible Business in an age of Demographic Change’, how we can support ‘fuller, longer working lives’. 85 - DONALD TRUMP – interview with the controversial 2016 Presidential Candidate and all American billionaire, on Obama, his legacy and more. 107 - LORD JACOB ROTHSCHILD – talks on philanthropy and his family. 109 - WILLIAM BUIST CEO – writes on ‘The Work Blend of Successful Entrepreneurs’, the elements that successful people in business seem to have. 111 - TEJ KOHLI – on ‘Global Connectivity’, in emerging markets. 131 - CHRISTOPHE MIANÉ – interview with the Deputy Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at Societe Generale.
59 - GHURKA PASSAGE – photo shoot in association with GHURKA USA, Davidoff Cigars, Hinckley Yachts and The Macallan Whiskey. 91 - WELCOME TO MONACO – a feature on the principality of Monaco. 141 - NOVIKOV – review of Russian and Italian restaurant NOVIKOV, which is based in-between Green Park and Mayfair in Central London. 143 - BOB BOB RICARD – review of the Russian – English restaurant based just off Regent Street. 151 - ROLLS ROYCE WRAITH – car review, looking at the SPOFEC version of the luxury car. 185 - IAN FLEMING – a look back at how writer and inventor of James Bond 007 came about writing the books - which became movie legend.
CULTURE 152 - BOOK REVIEW PARTS 1 & 2 – a look at a selection of books now available to read. In association with Harriman House. 165 - COOKING WITH DANIEL BOULUD – we chat with Bar Boulud Founder, Chef Daniel Boulud on his favorite dishes.
157 - FROM DINOSAURS TO DORIC – Contributing Culture Editor Henry Hopwood-Phillips reviews the book ‘’The Making of the Middle Sea’’.
contents Jul/Dec 2015
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contents Jul/Dec 2015
LONDON Royal Shakespeare Theatre October 2015 Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole’s final summer season explores the theme Justice & Mercy. The season begins with The Merchant of Venice and concludes with Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale. Other productions include Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth. Founded by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education. Since the theatre reconstruction opened
300 proposals. There are representatives from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Japan and ‘Gardens of Light’ will illuminate the surroundings allowing for visitors to explore at nighttime as well. Gastronomic treats will also be offered in the temporary restaurants set up for the duration of the Festival. Chaumont’s small but classically beautiful castle was occupied by, amongst others, Catherine de Medici (who entertained Nostradamus there), Diane de Poitiers and Madame de Staël. It has stunning interiors from various epochs and superb Belle Epoque stables boasting porcelain troughs. The charming village of Chaumont nestles at the foot of the castle on the banks of the Loire, an ideal place for riverside walks.
ITALY Venice Biennale May to November 2015 Dating back to 1895, this international exhibition for art, architecture, cinema, dance, music theatre and historical archives, and is a highlight of Venice’s cultural calendar. Previous events have attracted almost 500,000 visitors.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
for performances in 1997, The Globe has welcomed visitors from all over the world to take part in workshops, lectures and staged readings, to visit the exhibition and tour the theatre, and to watch productions ranging from original practices to world premières of new writing and the first play by a woman ever to be performed there.
Chaumont Garden Festival April to November 2015 This magnificent château and its park overlooking the scenic Loire is the setting for a long-running festival celebrating the very best in contemporary garden design. Although Chaumont’s castle and grounds are open year-round, the prime time to visit is between May and November, when the site hosts its worldrenowned festival of contemporary garden design. Around 20 gardens are selected by the Jury from over
The Giardini in the east of Venice, - since 1895 - has been the traditional venue for the international art pavilions. The rest of the exhibition is focused on the Arsenale, the immense dockyard that dates to the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, the Republic of Venice built its warships with impressive efficiency - it was said that an armed warship could be built in just 12 hours. This extraordinary shipyard isn’t normally open to the public but - since substantial restoration works in 1999 - it is open for the Biennale, and for Venice’s festival of traditional boats, held in May. The Biennale Card allows you to take advantage of benefits on all Biennale activities.
LONDON Royal Academy Summer Exhibition June to August 2015 A long-standing favourite of the London art year, the Academy Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open-submission contemporary art exhibition. It runs from June to mid-August. Members
of the fêted Royal Academy compete against unknown artists to have their work displayed. Founded in 1768 as a rival to the Society of Artists, the Royal Academy on London’s Piccadilly has hosted its annual summer exhibition - the world’s biggest open contemporary art exhibition - since its inception. A rotating committee made up of practising artists chooses the works from more than 11,000 entries. The submissions are paraded in front of committee members by a human chain of art-handlers; any work receiving the vote of more than three academicians passes through to the next round of selections.More than 150,000 visitors a year come to the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy to admire around 1,200 works by established and unknown living artists, including paintings, sculpture, prints and architectural models. The event is held in the Royal Academy’s Main Galleries from June to August, with most works available to purchase.
LONDON Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup June to July 2015 The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup is the highlight of the season at Cowdray Park, the home of British polo. Cowdray Park is set in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within Viscount Cowdray’s 16,500acre estate. The Polo club has two sets of grounds; the Lawns and River Grounds are very near to Midhurst, and the Ambersham pitches are located halfway between Midhurst and Petworth. The Final is considered one of the most glamorous and chic country events in the sporting calendar, with world class players in action, celebrities in abundance, and a stunning location. Don’t worry if you’ve never watched a chukka or two of polo as Cowdray’s witty and informed commentators will soon guide you through all the thrills and spills. And at half time there’s your chance to tread in the divots and spot who’s-who in the style stakes.
shopping village where up to 90 trade stands offer a tempting array of clothing, accessories, shoes, leather goods, items for the home and garden and country goodies. There’s even a mini funfair.
Wimbledon June to July 2015 This erstwhile garden-party tournament, which began in 1877, has grown to become one of the world’s favourite sporting events. The world’s oldest major tennis championship, fought out for two weeks between late June and early July at south London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, is the third Grand Slam tournament of the year and the only one still played on grass. The most important matches are played on the main Centre Court. It hosts the semi-finals and finals of the main events (gentlemen’s singles, ladies’ singles, gentlemen’s doubles, ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles), plus many earlier round matches featuring top-seeded players. In 2013 Wimbledon unveiled a revamped Centre Court, with a new retractable roof over the court (thus avoiding rain delays). The roof, which is translucent and allows natural light to reach the grass, takes at least 10 minutes to close. In 2011, the 125th year of the Championship, a total of 28,000 kg of strawberries and 200,000 glasses of Pimms were consumed over the fortnight, and 52,000 Slazenger balls were used during the tournament. Most tickets for these courts are sold in advance via a public ballot, entry for which closes in December. However, Wimbledon is the only major Grand Slam where fans can queue for tickets for the same day’s matches on Centre Court, No. 1 Court and No. 2 Court (overnight queuing is generally required to guarantee a ticket). There are six designated car parks, plus a park and ride shuttle-bus service from the A3.
Cowdray Park is the ideal location to picnic, but there are also plenty of food outlets and bars in the
comment Jul/Dec 2015
The Importance of Anniversaries By Gisela Stuart MP Anniversaries are helpful to put things into context. Give or take a year or two it’s 100 years since world war one started, 50 years since Winston Churchill died, 40 years since the UK joined the then Common Market and its been just over 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell. After that the Soviet Union disintegrated, the Cold War ended, and eleven former communist countries have not just become NATO members, but also joined the European Union. Prague, the home of Europe’s first university is back in its rightful place, at the heart of Europe. But there is now a whole generation of young people who take all this for granted. They don’t know that peace is something that has to be fought for and requires strong defence capabilities. And there are is also their parent’s generation, many of whom still cling on to an outdated European dream. Putin’s Russia has not become the strategic partner we had hoped for. When his thugs invaded the Crimea, he unilaterally redrew internationally agreed boundaries. This has not happened since the end of World War 2. He wants to do away with a country’s right to self-determination and go back to spheres of influence. What did we do? For the moment, all we and our EU partners can agree on are economic sanctions and stepping up military exercises near the eastern borders. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation provides a collective security umbrella in case of an attack on one of its member states. If Putin were to overstep the mark, and for example attack one of the Baltic States, military action would have to follow. But we have become complacent and cut back on defence. The Europeans continue to rely heavily on the Americans who have to providing the backbone of any large operation. Most member states still don’t spend the 2% of GDP on defence, as they are supposed to. Even the UK has gone from 2.5% in 2010 to 2% now and is likely to drop below in years to come. We should be worried about the signals this sends to our enemies. From Putin’s Russia in the East, to Syria, Iran and North Africa, Europe faces an arch of uncertainty and tension which we are ill equipped to deal with. In 1957 France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries come together to form the Common Market. An overtly economic project, underpinned by the desire to bring
about such a level of political integration that it would simply become impossible for France and Germany every go to war again.
high in every single country. The settled population is becoming resentful. This gives succour to extremist political parties.
Today this has grown to become the European Union. 28 member states, representing over 500 mil people, and a list of countries waiting to join. 19 of them share a single currency, the euro, representing a collective GDP of some 9.5 trillion euros. Indeed, today, the geographical term Europe is often used to mean the European Union. Countries like Norway, which are not formally members, are nevertheless deeply integrated by trade agreements, free movement of people arrangement and the absence of border controls with their neighbours.
Free movement of people across the EU is combined with an inability to respond to refugees, asylum seekers and the activities of people traffickers.
But the EU as an institution faces three major challenges, quite apart from the waning support from voters. First, a single currency requires a degree of economic convergence and/or a willingness to make year on year transfer payments from one part of the Union to another. The European Central Bank doesn’t have the political structures needed to underpin this degree of integration.
Whilst there are some waiting to be allowed to join the Union, there are other countries like the UK who are pushing for a fundamental re-examination of their relationship.
Let’s take Greece as an example. Severe austerity measures imposed from outside and deeply resented by the people is creating political instability. There is talk of yet another bailout package. All designed to avoid the prospect that Greece could leave the euro and return to the Drachma. We don’t yet know if the collective will of the EU institutions will prevail over the wishes of the Greek people Second, the problem of economic stagnation and unemployment. France and Germany together accounted for around 50% of Eurozone growth, whilst others stagnated. Unemployment rates across the Eurozone averages at 11%, with countries like Spain and Greece peaking well above 20%.
The sight of ships in the Mediterranean, full of desperate people abandoned by criminals, and left to die, shames us all. The EU has to abandoned the concept of a heterogeneous neighbourhood and develop a policy with faces up to the glaring differences among the different countries affected.
Whether there will be successful renegotiations to make the EU a leaner, less intrusive and more accountable institution remains to be seen. And a referendum may not happen, but there is still one big challenge for the UK and the other countries who are EU members, but have not joined the single currency. How do they ensure that they are at the table when big fiscal decisions are made and balance this with the need for those inside the euro to have ever deeper political integration? For that the UK needs to forge new alliances. Poland will be one of our most important partners, not just in the protecting British national interests outside the Eurozone, but also in defending the EU’s most Eastern borders. Interesting times ahead. Let’s hope in years to come 2015 will be seen as a year where there were threats, but we managed to deal with them.
These are structural problems. Germany’s success is export lead. Real wages have not gone up and domestic consumption is slack. So even if every other euro country became like Germany the problem would not be solved. Here in the UK average incomes may have returned to the levels before the big crash in 2008, but overall productivity refuses to go up. Third, the problem of flows of people into and across the EU. We are struggling to control out borders. Migration levels are i-MAGAZINE
opinion Jul/Dec 2015
The Reinvention of Learning By Professor Maurits van Rooijen, CEO
When the news spread during the sixteenth century that manuscripts could be reproduced cheaply through printing, the ‘lectors’ had a bit of a shock. After all a lector or lecturer is Latin for ‘reader’ and their job was to read manuscripts so that the students could copy them in writing. Of course, with hindsight we know they should not have worried. Actually, book printing allowed them to make their courses more attractive, the learning much more effective and their work more fun. Instead of dictating, they could now use their time with students discussing the text, stimulating the critical and analytical thinking skills of students. Moreover, the best of them could produce their own manuals, making knowledge much more accessible and as some of the brighter lecturers discovered, having your name on a book cover also was great for one’s ego. Now, with the introduction of e-learning we are facing another revolution in teaching. And I suspect the impact of this new revolution will be felt faster than with the introduction of book printing. E-learning is not just about moving books to the internet and to make them interactive. It also has the potential to move a lot of the traditional classroom work to the web, stimulating students from various geographic and cultural regions to work together on assignments and discussing content. Even though e-learning for instance through the MOOCS (massive online open courses) typically addresses very large numbers of students at the same time, high quality e-learning still is able to facilitate small group and highly interactive teaching
in a smart and effective manner, better even than in a traditional classroom. It can be much more effective in stimulating students to search independently for knowledge and work in small groups to get results, no longer relying on the teacher to guide them to the right answer. Of course, as to be expected the initial reaction of many educationalists is sceptical and even defensive. But that is just an issue of history repeating itself. Truth is that e-learning poses no threat to classroom education, on the contrary it allows classrooms to transform and for education to reinvent itself. Because education is in dire need of reinvention! The current form of teaching was fine for the 20th century but is getting rapidly out of the touch with the demands of modern times. First of all there is the process of globalisation. We accept that globalisation affects everything we do. Some clearly regret that but it is a reality of modern life. That globalisation will affect education is inevitable. In economic terms globalisation implies an international movement of products, an international movement of consumers and a virtual movement of products/consumers. And surely this is happening in higher education as well. Large numbers of international students (‘consumers’) are visiting the United Kingdom. At the same time delivering UK higher education programmes aboard, so called transnational education, has now become even bigger (in student numbers) than visiting international students. And I suspect that e-learning as the third strand will sooner or later become the dominant strand in this globalisation process.
Globalisation of education is partly driven by a desire to achieve higher academic quality and improve employability of graduates. But even more effective has been the commercial motive. My own organisation is a for-profit provider and is active in all three strands – we attract students from over 150 countries, we have campuses on three continents (Europe, Asia, North-America), and we have a highly innovative e-learning provider called InterActive – and have been commercially very successful in our global operations. So much so that we received recently the highest UK business accolade, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Export category. However, the commercial motive does not only apply to for-profit providers. Public higher education institutions have been under major financial pressure since Margaret Thatcher’s government cut funding per students with some 40 percent. In fact, the current Queen’s Award is the third one I am proudly associated with. The previous two were given when I was at a state-funded institution, the University of Westminster (in 2000 and again in 2005). I still remember my first visit to Buckingham Palace to receive Her Majesty’s congratulations. Prince Philip reacted in his unique style: So in which category did we get the award, he asked politely. In export I replied. At which point he raised his eyebrows and quipped: you are telling me you export students and got an award for that? The export of knowledge is of great value to the UK economy and UK society, not just commercially but also in ensuring a continued influence at the global stage. Attracting the brightest in the world to teach here, to do
opinion Jul/Dec 2015
research and of course to come to study here is essential for prosperity in the context of a knowledge based economy. Recent attempts to reduce immigration numbers by making it more difficult for scholars and students to enter the UK quite rightly caused a major upset. But I have full confidence that national interests will always trump attempts at political points scoring. However, that ill-advised policy combined with last year’s argument of London Metropolitan University’s with the former UK Border Agency showed the importance for the higher education sector to diversify risks and make sure that all three strands of globalisation (besides international student recruitment, transnational provision of education and e-learning) are part of the mix. In fact, if done in the right way, they can reinforce each other. Much is delivered in blended mode: students doing the first few years abroad and then progressing to the UK and of course, students blending parts of a course online with parts in a more traditional classroom setting. Besides crossing the borders globally there is also the need for breaking down the barrier between classroom and workplace realities. The traditional education is still very much based on transfer of knowledge and developing quite theoretical skills. Though that is actually a good preparation for a career in teaching or research, it is not the best way of learning for over 95 percent of graduates who enter the ‘real world’. For those students in the modern world it is much more important to gain hands-on experience in that real world. I am co-chairman of an organisation based in Boston USA called WACE (world association for co-operative education) which brings employers and educators together. In the 21st century getting a relevant education is not just a matter for educators but equally for employers. The latter have a vested interest that future employees have experienced relevant work whilst studying. It is not just about internships though. What WACE advocates is work-integrated learning whereby students can re-integrate their experience with working into the classroom and become familiar with the concept of reflective learning. It sounds like a paradox but in the modern world for high quality learning, working is just as important as studying. In the UK I believe this is insufficiently recognised by many educators, employers and certainly by those politicians who recently have make it very difficult for (international) students to integrate work into education. One can moan about lack of employability and even question the value of a degree but actually I think what many of our current policies really fail to understand is that the idea of the fulltime student, locked up in a classroom or on a campus between the age of 18 to roughly 22 (with the exception
of the summer period when historically one is liberated to help the family with the harvesting) is based on highly outdated thinking.
opportunities. Being sensitive to what students, employers and the society at large really need is what will make a private provider a success.
In fact the idea that you would have acquired by the age of 21-22 all the knowledge you need for the rest of your life to be successful in a knowledge-based economy is pretty silly when you think about it. Economic success, commercial success as well as personal success is based on the ability to develop professionally and intellectually. After Work-Integrated Learning should come Learning-Integrated Work. Graduation is not the end of student life but merely a shift in emphasis.
Unlike in many other parts of the world in the United Kingdom private providers are classified as ‘alternative providers’, in other words they are seen to be a deviation, operating outside the proper system. The truth is that they have an essential role to play in terms of innovation and employability and as such are gaining a much more prominent place in the higher education landscape. I am convinced that the government and many others recognise this and are willing to create more space for the ‘alternatives’. But the primary reaction of the higher education system – like any other system – is to ‘neutralise’ this potentially unsettling trend by applying ever more rules that were designed for the public sector to the private sector. Adjust or disappear is the implicit message. The reality is that more and more people and organisations will vote with their feet. The pressure is on the public sector educational institutions to modernise.
Continuing to develop professionally through continued study is essential for ambitious or curious individuals and is equally important for employers. I am amazed how few employers understand the need to stimulate that their employees integrate education in their work. Not surprisingly at the London School of Business and Finance we pride ourselves to be in touch with the needs of the contemporary society and hence to listen carefully to employers who want us to collaborate with them to integrate learning into work. E-learning is a very useful tool for that. For instance LSBF signed up with Cornell University’s e-Cornell programme in the USA for a large portfolio of professional courses. But more conventional forms of ongoing professional courses, even tailor-made, are equally available. Education is no longer just about preparing graduates. It is a life-long commitment to boost career progression and support career changes. At least, that is how I see the realities of 21st century education. So as can be deduced from my comments, I strongly argue that education will have to radically reinvent itself. I believe that is a very exciting conclusion. But those who have major vested interests to defend no doubt will strongly disagree. Though some individuals and even entire universities will see and will want to engage enthusiastically with the opportunities as I just briefly indicated, the undeniable truth is that the higher education system as a whole is not really dedicated to innovation. Quality assurance processes discourage innovation, rankings tend to be based on outdated concepts with an implicit bias towards maintaining status quo and the funding systems naturally seek stability. So it is not surprising that in my observation much of the innovative work in education at the moment takes place in the private rather than the state-subsidised sector. Future needs are opportunities and these opportunities if not taken up by the public sector, will quite rightly be taken up by the private sector since they represent market
Meanwhile, for those who do not like the message that education is about to transform itself, some good news: in education one can survive for quite a long time by simply denying realities. I still see lecturers or even speakers at conferences reading slowly and loudly their notes, seemingly expecting everyone to copy them. They refuse to accept that it is more efficient for the audience to read the reproduced text in printed version than to listen to someone reading it. They patiently ignore the fact that some five centuries ago printing was introduced and those who are sitting in the lecture hall or conference room are all too polite to explain to them they are out of touch with modern life. Instead we discreetly doze off or alternatively use the time to check our i-phone.
Professor Maurits van Rooijen is Rector and CEO of London School of Business and Finance
interview Jul/Dec 2015
i-MAGAZINE contributing Culture Editor Henry Hopwood-Phillips talks politics with Winston Churchill’s grandson the RT Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP.
At the end of the last budget you talked about the ‘erosion of the middle’ in your speech?
I want a small state, a cheap state. I want lower taxes too. The first and most important thing the Chancellor needs to do – and I believe he will do this – will be to announce a very radical reform of the tax system. It won’t be popular. There will be winners and losers but it’ll allow many more people to keep much more of what they earn. There are a lot of people who shouldn’t be paying tax at all. Ian Duncan Smith is taking millions out of tax.
What do you think the correct relationship between the UK and Europe is?
I have always been staunchly pro-European. I do not believe Britain will vote to leave the EU but I do think the case for remaining in the EU needs to be made; it has not been made since the 1975 referendum.
Could you give me three examples of why Britain should stay in the EU?
1. We are a very small country 2. We depend on global trade, if we had to trade on our own account we would have significantly less clout 3. Our main ally America wants and needs Britain to play a proper role in Europe.
What’s the best part of the job?
I’ve been an MP for 30 years. It’s very different to what it was but then the politics are too. I’ve just finished a whole afternoon dictating letters to my constituents about all matters under the sun. Every now and then you can do something really useful and good. This chamber, the House of Commons, is the cockpit of the nation, and I love being in the cockpit. There is not a day when I don’t get up in the morning and think how bloody lucky I am.
Now we’re talking mass immigration?
Yes, people are scared about the scale of it all. The fact is that the public is very anxious at the pressure it puts on public services and all the rest of it. So it’s not something that can be brushed aside – it is a very important issue. Part of the problem for the government is that we are subject to EU treaty law. If you are an EU citizen you should bloody well be able to get anywhere in the EU. Part of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation with the EU is that the payment to people who are here for short periods have their ability to claim benefits curtailed.
What is the Conservative position on grammar schools?
We are not against grammar schools. It is just that we have decided that we need to make the present system work. So we have gone down the academy route. I think grammars are absolutely wonderful; they do marvellous work for social mobility. Many of my contemporaries who did very well in their lives who did not go to public school went to grammar school.
Do you agree that voter apathy has bedevilled elections for a long time?
All over the world, people’s participation in democracy is going through a rum period. That’s because people harbour such high expectations about impossible problems to which there is no simple yes or no answer.
And the worst?
It can be very demanding on family life. But if you don’t like it bugger off and do something else! There are plenty of people to take our places.
What do you make of Nigel Farage?
As far as Nigel Farage is concerned, the devil always sings the best tunes. He has no political responsibility; he can say what he likes.
Do you acknowledge voter concerns about immigration?
We are not against immigration. We’ve always needed a healthy flow of immigrants. But we are against an immigration system that has gone haywire. We have very few controls on who goes in and out of the country.
interview Jul/Dec 2015
An interview with John Snow, Anchor at Channel 4 News.
What do you think is special or unique about the way Channel 4 News delivers the news?
When you have spare time, what do you like to get up to?
We have an hour where most other TV news programmes have to settle for less than half that time. It means that we can go into subjects in depth and interview newsmakers at length. On the night the Paris attacks occurred in January we were able to devote more than half an hour to all that had happened and to exploring the implications. Most other news programmes could only devote half that time
I love painting water colours – it’s extraordinarily therapeutic – I get completely lost in what I’m doing, and forget everything else. I enjoy walking in the hills and like to play plenty of tennis.
Tell us more about your work and what we can expect to see in the future.
My work is changing all the time. Sometimes I will be out in the field reporting from a major news event as during the Gaza conflict last summer. Advances in technology are making it easier and cheaper to anchor the news from anywhere in the world. In the last year I have anchored from Greenland, Iran, Israel, Gaza and Paris, to name but a few. The big challenge for all UK journalists and broadcasters will be the General Election, not least because no one has a true sense of what will happen. But the biggest challenge is the evolving digital age. We are tweeting, blogging, facebooking and broadcasting. The working day is becoming ever fuller, fuelled in part by the growth of the social network which finds me regularly blogging and particularly active on twitter.
Where do you live and spend most of your time?
I live in Primrose Hill, North London and work near London’s Kings Cross. I cycle everywhere – it’s efficient, it’s green, it keeps my blood pressure low, and my spirits high.
Yes I’m Chair of the New Horizon Youth Centre, a resource for homeless and vulnerable 16 to 21 year olds. I worked there before I became a journalist and have been involved for 40 years. I’m currently also Chair of Tate Members.
What has been your favourite OR most memorable news posting abroad and why?
Reporting the Iranian Revolution in 1979. An amazing insight into a great civilisation in turmoil, exacerbated in no small measure by ham-fisted interference by outside powers.
How did you end up working for Channel 4 News?
There have only been two main presenters of Channel 4 News. The first, Peter Sissons, started when the Channel launched in 1982. In 1989 he was nicked by the BBC and left in a night. I was pulled across from ITN’s News at Ten, where I was a reporter, and asked to fill in until they found someone up to the job. I was pretty grim in those early days – there’s a huge contrast between foreign reporting and anchoring a one hour news programme. At first I missed the excitement of reporting and felt I wasn’t yet ready to leave ‘the road’. I also couldn’t imagine ever getting the job permanently. Then I realised that if I didn’t get it someone else would and I’d have missed my chance. So I really worked at trying to secure it. Eventually after three or four months they ran out of options and had to offer it to me. Now I’ve been in the presenter’s chair for over 25 years.
Do you support any charities?
How passionate are you about news and current affairs?
Extremely. Online and radio are my fore sources. I listen to radio news from 6.00am every morning and usually catch the midnight headlines before I turn in. I believe as journalists we can change the world. We can right wrongs; we can speak truth to power; we can give space to new ideas. It’s a magical job.
Where can you see yourself in five years’ time?
I hope I shall not be chosen to be the first news anchor to be sent into space – one of my recurring nightmares.
Describe your typical working day?
I leave home on my bike at 9.00am, pick up a tub of porridge with honey and raisins. Get to the editorial meeting for 9.30am and consume said porridge. Mornings can involve seeing contacts, attending informative events, or researching interviews. Another editorial meeting at 2.15pm, start writing scripts, help book interviews, deal with email, tweet, research, get made up, write my headlines, go to air at 7.00pm, 8.00pm post mortem on how the programme went.
jokes Jul/Dec 2015
A man hears from a doctor… …that his end is near so he heads over to a lawyer to write a will. The secretary watches as the man walks into the Lawyer’s office and as three minutes later the man walks off in a huff. “Can I help you?” asks the secretary, dashing after the obviously upset man. “HELP ME? THIS GUY IS CRAZY! I asked him to help me write a will and he says to me: ‘sure, let me just ask you a few questions and then leave it all to me.’ “I’ve heard before how lawyers are dishonest but this just takes the cake!” Allways self conscious of his lack of ears… …whenever Bob would interview a future employee, he would as him “what do you notice different about me?”. If the employee would mention his lack of ears (which often they did), it would be a for sure “no” for the job. However if the employee would mention something else, he would hire the guy. One year, at the yearly Holiday business party, Bob approached his most recent hireling and asked him if he remembered the last question he had asked him when interviewing him for the job. “Sure I do” was his reply. “You asked me what was different about you and I said that you i-MAGAZINE
were wearing contact lenses.” “Of all things to answer”, Bob questioned curiously, “why was that the thing you noticed?” “Well, to be honest, it was quite simple. How could you possibly be wearing glasses if you don’t have any ears!” “So, Jimmy”, said Grandpa… …as they stood on line at the local grocery store. “What did you learn in school today?” “To tell you the truth”, answered young Jimmy, “I’m not exactly sure”. “My teacher was going on and on about something called ethics, and I still don’t know what she was talking about!” Jimmy replied. “Ah, ethics” responded Grandpa, “very important indeed”. “Well, let’s say the cashier gives me back too much change, ethics would be whether I keep the change for myself, or if I give it back to Grandma!” My boss called me into his office today… “We both know you’re not the brightest spark here, Simon,” he said, “but over the last 5 years you’ve never been sick or late and I think you deserve a reward. So, how does a brand new car sound?” “Vrooom! Vrooooom!” I replied.
Send in your favourite joke and win a bottle of Macallan Single Malt whisky - the leading premium Scotch blended whisky, renowned for its smoothness and its honeyed, rich taste. Send your entries to email@example.com with ‘’joke’’ in the subject heading. Enjoy Chivas Regal responsibly www.drinkaware.co.uk
comment Jul/Dec 2015
How Sport and Success go Hand in Hand By Mark Webster, CEO of Kameleon. If anyone had ever told us that we’d launch a content marketing agency at the beginning of the worst ever advertising recession, we would have laughed. Who would be that stupid? Of course, that’s what we went on to do. We launched our content marketing agency, Kameleon, in 2008, on the very day that Lehman Brothers expired. But this turned out to be the best decision ever. Launching a new advertising agency in the teeth of the worst ever advertising recession has been the making of Kameleon. The business was forged at a time when our work had to work – or else. Coming from very different backgrounds really helped; Richard has a background in traditional advertising agencies as a strategic planner. He started in the industry as a lowly graduate trainee at the best-named ad agency in London: Still, Price, Court, Twivy, d’Souza: Lintas. Since then he has worked for several major international agencies, including five years in Hong Kong and Singapore as regional planning director for Ogilvy. Returning to the UK, Richard was hired by the WPP media agency Mindshare with a brief to establish a leading strategy team within the agency, bringing a high-calibre of insight and ideas to the business. It was while Richard was at Mindshare that I met and worked with him. I also have a background in advertising, but in the media buying, sponsorship and content areas. Learning my trade at the sharp-end of media buying, I rapidly rose to running Mindshare’s UK division “Performance”, which managed all the content and sponsorship campaigns for their clients. I also played a key role in rolling-out the Performance business into international markets. In 2008, we could see the gap in the market; digital was taking over, and no agency was providing clients with good advice in how content could transform the way brands advertised. Hence – Kameleon was born. Sport has always been a major part of both of our lives, and has certainly shaped
our outlook on business and the type of agency we wanted Kameleon to be. Our passions lie in very different sports. Richard is a round-the-world Yachtsman, dedicated squash fanatic and classic MAMIL cyclist. Sailing is in his blood, his father having completed several single-handed trans-Atlantic races, and in ’96 Richard took part in the inaugural Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race, as Watch-leader on board a 60-ft racing boat. Since then, he has owned and sailed a succession of (much smaller!) boats, initially in Hong Kong and more recently in Devon where he now lives. Somehow, he has passed the bug to his own boys, who compete together for Team GB in the Feva Class, coming 9th in the World Championships in 2014, and hoping to go better this year in Germany. Sailing however is not as convenient as Squash, a sport Richard rediscovered 10 years ago and has played (without fail) every Tuesday night since then. “Aerobic Chess” it has been called, and is perhaps the most intense hour of his week! Finally, cycling; every year, like any selfrespecting 40+ male, Richard will take to the Alps to bag a few more Hors Categorie climbs dressed in ill-fitting lycra. This year he takes on Geneva to Nice, which includes a single day stage taking in The Telegraphe, Alp d’Huez and the Galibier. I, on the other hand, have a passion for marathon running and triathlons, something I’ve done since a young age - competing all around the world. I have recently qualified to represent Team GB in triathlon in my age-group, and have qualified as a tri-coach in my own right. I spend many evenings and weekends passing on my knowledge to the young people of Sevenoaks. So, what motivated us to get into our sports? For Richard, the motivation to Sail comes from his desire to not take the path well-trodden, but to take head on challenges that provide him with a sense of adventure, and take him far off the beaten path. The Squash bug is easier to explain; it is without doubt the motivation
to be completely and utterly absorbed in one single mental and physical activity for an hour a week, which is as far removed from work as possible. The aim is simply to leave everything on the court, and win. My motivation has always been to push the limits; to see how long and how far and how fast I can go. Winning, competing and training are habits which go back to a young age. What motivates me today is still the same – to be the best I can be, put in the maximum amount of work, and know that results will come if the graft has been done. Richard has stuck to his sport because it’s the antidote to running a business. Being out on the water provides a completely different vista and perspective; being on the squash court is an hour in the week that is too absorbing to let work encroach. I can’t imagine myself not sticking at it. What keeps me going is the simple knowledge that if you do the work, if you keep to the program, the results will happen. Sport has played a massive part in our abilities to launch and run a successful, high-stress business. It has given us familiarity with hard graft, discipline and tenacity, knowing that if we put the hours in, success will follow. Having a physical and mental release that is away from work, even for a short time each day or week, is critical when you are working seven days a week and unable to switch off except during sport. It might sound odd, but you have to be fit to run a business! It’s physically demanding and has required stamina to put the shifts in over six long years. The confidence our success in sport has given us has provided a bedrock of confidence in our professional lives. Knowing the business a different kind of challenge, but one we have confidence in achieving – perhaps because we have already achieved much harder things.
history Jul/Dec 2015
The Lusitania Cover Up Nearly 100 years after the 9/11 of its day, the truth comes out by Greg Taylor On May 1st last year, the National Archives at Kew released secret government documents under the 30-year-rule. Why are documents are kept secret? If they are dangerous or embarrassing to the government. In the case of documents related to RMS Lusitania released on May 1st 2014, both are true. The sinking of the Lusitania was the 9/11 of its day. On May 7th 1915, the 31,550-ton Cunard Liner was en route to Liverpool from New York with 1,959 souls aboard when a German U-Boat torpedoed her just 11 miles off the coast of Ireland. Everyone is familiar with the tale of the Titanic but what about the Lusitania? She was launched into the River Clyde to the strains of “Rule Britannia” on June 7 1906, the largest moveable object ever created by man. On the Lusitania rested the hopes of the Empire and Cunard Lines that Britain would reclaim from the German liners the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. She was financed with government loans on the condition she be available for troop transport in time of need. Despite this, the Lusitania was fitted out to a standard of luxury never seen before. She reclaimed for Britain the Blue Riband on her third Atlantic crossing with a speed of 23.99 knots. In 1915, the Lusitania was the fastest most luxurious ship making the transatlantic run. When she sailed from New York on May 1st 1915, the New York Times and other papers carried a warning from the German Embassy. Everyone ignored it - confident the fastest ship in the world could outrun any German submarine that might dare to threaten a passenger liner travelling from a neutral country. Submarines of that period had a top speed underwater of only nine knots. They could reach speeds of fifteen knots on the surface but were vulnerable of being rammed. This led the Admiralty to issue such instructions to the merchant fleet in February 1915, an order that was intercepted and known to the German High Command.
The U20 spotted the Lusitania on the 7th of May, the last day of her crossing. The submarine nearly lost her due to the liner’s superior speed but a last minute change of direction gave the U20 an excellent shot. After being hit by a single torpedo, the Lusitania sank in eighteen minutes at a list so severe that only eight of the forty-two lifeboats were launched. Due to the thirty-degree list, the lifeboats on the port side smashed into the decks below, while those on the starboard side hung eight feet from the doomed ship.
known that First Sea Lord Winston Churchill had remarked that the loss of an ocean liner such as the Lusitania might help bring America into the war on the side of Britain.
Kapitänleutnant Schwieger, who ordered the torpedo strike, was shocked when he saw through his periscope a second, much larger explosion. He refused to permit his crew to look at the drowning passengers of the Lusitania.
What was in the documents released at Kew last year?
To this day, experts continue to debate the cause of the second explosion that sealed the Lusitania’s fate after the torpedo struck. Imperial Germany immediately claimed the ship was loaded with explosives destined for the front. In June 1915, during the official inquiry into the sinking of the Lusitania, the Admiralty manipulated testimony so that Lord Mersey reached an erroneous conclusion that multiple torpedoes struck the ship. The Admiralty knew from an intercepted message that Kapitänleutnant Schwieger had fired only a single torpedo. It was important to many that the inquiry blame only Imperial Germany. Lord Mersey waived his fees for the case and formally resigned two days after the verdict, saying, “The Lusitania case was a damned, dirty business!” Documents related to the closed sessions of the inquiry have never been released and Lord Mersey’s personal copy is claimed to be lost. The Admiralty had withdrawn the Lusitania’s escort ship, HMS Juno, once the submarine threat became known. Like the Lusitania, the Juno was built with longitudinal coal bunkers that protected vital machinery from shellfire but made the ship vulnerable to listing when hit by a torpedo. It was also
Beginning in 1922, Germany repeatedly requested international dives on the Lusitania wreck to determine whether the second explosion was a result of contraband munitions on board. The alleged use by the British Navy of the site for testing depth charges is considered by some an effort to destroy evidence.
Under the 30-year-rule, the British National Archive released internal memoranda between the Ministry of Defense and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that showed that in 1982 the Government was concerned that divers to the Lusitania wreck were at risk because the wreck contained explosives. Noel Marshall of the Foreign Office’s North American department wrote, “The facts are that there is a large amount of ammunition in the wreck, some of which is highly dangerous. I am left with the uneasy feeling that this subject may yet - literally - blow up on us.” The British government was worried about ramifications for British-American relations because the discovery of explosives on the wreck would imply the Lusitania had been a legitimate target. Jim Coombes at Treasury Chambers wrote, “If it were now to come to light that there was after all some justification, however slight, for the torpedoing, HMG’s relations with America could well suffer.” A new book, Lusitania R.E.X, weaves fiction around the known facts to create a plausible explanation of some of the mysteries surrounding the sinking. Greg Taylor is also a recipient of the M. M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction 2015.
comment Jul/Dec 2015
The Good Country By Simon Anholt For years, I’ve been working with the leaders of countries — and a wide outer circle extending from their cabinets down through business and civil society to people living in shanty towns — on how they can make their country’s engagements with the rest of the world more productive. In the Age of Globalisation, countries need to link with the rest of humanity in a bewildering variety of ways which their governments often fail to appreciate fully. Trade, culture, diplomacy, security, migration, energy, education, science, sport, law — today, it’s all about connections. One of the areas which concerns these leaders most frequently is their country’s international standing: is it sufficiently known, understood, admired? I’ve been measuring the images of countries since 2005, using a large annual poll I call the Nation Brands Index. This study, which polls a sample representing nearly 70% of the world’s population, has now amassed a database of more than 200 billion data points, and tells a huge number of fascinating stories about how the world sees the world. The most remarkable story of all is the story it tells about why we admire certain countries more than others. As one might expect, most of us admire countries that are rich, modern, beautiful, well-run, powerful — but more than any of these factors, it turns out that the countries we all admire most are the ones we consider to be good. What do I mean by good? I don’t mean morally good, good-as-opposed-to-evil, because of course that’s culturally loaded and means something different whoever you ask. What I mean by a good country is a country that contributes something to the common good, a country that somehow makes the world a better place, because it gives as much as it takes, or gives even more than it takes. Norway, for example, ranks very high in the Nation Brands Index, much higher than its size, its population or its geopolitical importance would lead us to expect. And Norway, partly as a result of the extraordinarily powerful image it enjoys, which itself is partly the result of that substantially well-deserved
reputation for being a force for good in the world, almost certainly gets more trade, more tourists, more investment and more respect than it would otherwise enjoy. Conclusion? If a country wants to do well, it needs to do good. The quickest way, indeed as far as I can tell, the only way to build a more positive national reputation, with all the benefits that brings, is to prove that your country is a principled player in international affairs, a net creditor to humanity and to the planet. Prove, mind you: not say. Messages simply don’t work here, only deeds: consistent and remarkable deeds that actually make a difference to people’s lives in other countries. Two months ago I launched the Good Country Index, the first study that attempts to estimate what each country on earth actually gives to the rest of humanity and to the planet, and what it takes away. By combining 35 large datasets, mainly collected by UN agencies, the World Bank, the Basel Convention and other international bodies, the Good Country Index provides an approximate balance-sheet for each of 125 countries (the remaining 75 or so countries don’t return enough data for me to be able to rank them fairly). Of course, the solutions to the world’s problems are not to be found in this or in any other survey. They may just be found, however, in the discussions which the survey provokes. We live in an age of gigantic challenges, provoked and multiplied and aggravated by the forces of globalisation. Climate change, slavery, drug trafficking, terrorism, pandemics, economic chaos, species loss, human rights, overpopulation, poverty and inequality: all are aided and abetted by globalisation. Our breakneck technological progress has, so far, been a lot quicker at globalising those problems than we have at globalising the solutions to those problems. The task facing us now is pretty clear: we need to work together to globalise the solutions.
and our societies, tend to expend the vast majority of their efforts on competing against each other rather than working together. Many of them regularly take competition to extreme limits, fighting and killing for territory, for resources, for souls. Yet as long as countries think only of themselves — of their own politicians, businesses and populations (and all too often in that order) — and regard that as the limit of their responsibility, the global problems will get worse and worse. Yes, a diminishing handful of countries will do better and better, but only at the expense of others: it’s the same illusion of health that a rapidly-growing tumour will often produce. Somehow, we have to learn how to make domestic policy that is also world-friendly; to create functioning national and subnational societies that also contribute every day to a functioning global society. We need to change the culture of national government worldwide, so that a dual mandate – each government working for its own population and working for humanity in general – becomes the norm. This is not impossible. In my own work, I’ve scarcely ever come across a piece of domestic policy that wasn’t substantially improved by looking at it in the international context. This is a long and perhaps not a simple argument. But the conclusion of it is obvious: as Benjamin Franklin so memorably observed, we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. This is why I no longer care simply to live in a rich country, a stable country, a fair country, a happy country; a selfish country. I want to live in a good country. And I hope that you do too.
This demands collaboration, of course, on a wide scale. And yet nation-states, those 200-odd assorted tribes in which we persist in organising ourselves and our endeavours
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We Need to Rediscover the Art of Hospitality By Mark Easton, Home Editor at BBC News The phrases ‘corporate hospitality’ and ‘hospitality industry’ make me uncomfortable. They seem to come from the dictionary of double-speak, loaded with contradiction that threatens to pervert our civil society. Hospitality must never be commercial or industrial – quite the reverse. It is generous and intimate: present in the sincerity of a smile, the twinkle of an eye or the gentle touch of a helping hand. I fear we are in danger of forgetting what hospitality is really about. The word itself was corrupted long ago, its meaning stripped of warmth and humanity by accountants and lawyers. It has become today that most joyless of things, a technical term employed by the taxman in formal edicts on allowable deductions. “Hospitality provided because it would be polite, because it is expected, or because it would improve relationships is not for strict business purposes,” VAT Notice 700/65 drily states. But if it is none of those things, is it hospitality at all? ‘Friendliness to guests’ is how hospitality is usually defined, but let us dig down to its roots, because an important truth lies buried there. Hospitality comes from the Latin word ‘hospes’, which translates as both ‘host’ and ‘guest’, sometimes it is used to mean ‘stranger’. There is no contradiction here, however. Hospitality essentially describes a fundamental building block of civil society – the foundation of social norms which dictates how natives should behave towards outsiders and, just as importantly, how outsiders should behave towards the natives. What is striking is that, down the ages and across cultures, peoples have developed remarkably similar narratives to describe and define these duties. To the ancient Greeks it was Xenia, the reciprocal relationship of generosity and courtesy between host and guest. The former must offer a weary stranger food, drink, a bath and a bed. The latter must show respect and not be a burden. The great god Zeus was patron of hospitality and guests, always ready with a thunderbolt to avenge any wrong done. Similarly, ancient Indian custom dictates that guests are forms of god and that hosts must treat them with the reverence and sacrifice afforded to a deity. Indeed, fables and parables from around the world tell similar tales of some hospitable inn-keeper offering
comfort to exhausted strangers who then often turn out to be a god or magical creature in disguise. It is, of course, a scene acted out in countless nativity plays each Christmas. Within Judaism, Abraham is portrayed as the paragon of hospitality, generous and caring. Early Jewish scholars stressed that his example demonstrated it was not enough simply for a host to provide travellers with food and lodging but it must be done graciously, to “greet each person with a cheerful facial expression”. Celtic cultures have also won a reputation for the warmth of their welcome. Traditionally, hosts provide guests with the very best they have – the finest food and drink and the largest bed available. There is also an expectation that they will offer entertainment. Guests, in return, must make an offering to the hearth (ty teallach) of bread or wine and they, too, are often expected to sing a song, play a tune or tell a tale. Hospitality is not the same as service. A service you may well pay for but hospitality must be offered freely, without the expectation of personal reward. That said, of course, hospitality is valuable, and smart entrepreneurs know it can have a big impact on the bottom line. The USP of the ubiquitous Irish pub, exported around the planet, is the craic, a word (and spelling) invented in the late 20th century, but implying an association with the Celtic hospitality of the hearth. It may have more to do with modern marketing than ancient history, but it is a successful global brand because it makes customers feel they are being given something authentic: personal warmth, good fun and generosity of spirit (even if you have to pay over the odds for your pint of the black stuff). I remember, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, reporting from the market town of Enniskillen on a grim November day that had seen 11 people killed by a bomb. After a draining and dispiriting shift, I arrived at my small hotel. I was that weary stranger of folklore and my inn-keeper host treated me like a long-lost brother. Despite the tragedy that had befallen the community, I experienced a remarkable warmth and understanding towards me, the outsider. We shared whiskey and song. It was an evening I shall never forget – restoring my faith in human nature and instilling a love for the Irish people and their embrace of life and friendship.
“We are blessed with a moderate climate, unparalleled beauty of the landscape, uncluttered roads, and a God given will and desire to complete the task as most affable hosts.” The words of Sir William Hastings, himself an affable host but also a man who has made ‘Irish Hospitality’ a key part of his business plan. He heads a family-run luxury hotel business in Northern Ireland, knighted by the Queen for ‘services to hospitality’. “First impressions are very, very important,” he tells me. “Only a few have the exceptional skills required.” Competing with the big international chains, Sir William knows it is in the personal touches that they can score. “I have seen people who have that special quality in customer service but in every other respect they are a dead loss,” Sir William confides. The best hoteliers recognise that those rare individuals who can make a guest feel truly valued are worth their weight in gold. “Because they are exceptional, they get away with it!” His daughter Julie describes herself as the Hastings scout – always on the lookout for the individual with that rare talent to charm the most demanding of customers. “You can only teach so much,” Julie says, explaining how the company runs the Hastings Hospitality programme for potential recruits. “We can help them learn how to deal with complaints, for example, but you cannot instil common sense or change someone’s personality.” Great hosts are born, not made. The finest are in huge demand with top hotels trying to poach the best staff - concierges and receptionists pursued almost like top footballers. And the reason is obvious – the right faces greeting guests can transform a hotel’s appeal. “I want my colleagues to establish an emotional bond with our guests,” German hotelier Carsten Rath says. I met him shortly after he had opened an exclusive new hotel in Switzerland, the Kameha Grand Zurich. “Empathy is key, but one needs to have certain base – be it in the DNA or in the upbringing so that training does not fall on stony ground. I work very hard to find, recruit and retain the very best people – kind people at heart.”
Mark Easton is Home Editor at BBC News
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comment Jul/Dec 2015
From British Roots to Global Growth Turning Great British Entrepreneurial Spirit into Success Abroad By David Milner, CEO
British identity is in high demand the world over, benefiting truly British brands like Tyrrells. Although this can be attributed, to some extent, to the success of the London Games, the UK has a strong heritage as a nation of quality brands and products – a strong selling point for most businesses. At Tyrrells, we’ve found offering consumers that quality “little piece of Britain” a concept people across the world understand and find appealing – we would urge others to consider the same strategy. British provenance could be the key to a business’ success in foreign markets and why marketing and branding strategies should lean on their heritage accordingly. Utilising “British-ness” can sometimes be overlooked; however it is a free and invaluable marketing tool which as shown, can be incredibly powerful when promoting your brand overseas. With exports rising to £12.5billion in September 2014, in the current economic climate, British businesses are doing well in foreign markets. This is not solely down to heritage and ‘Brand Britain’, however it has helped and is why fellow British founded brands should take note and make the most of its British roots. QUALITY AT THE HEART OF BRITAIN International trade is still one of the fastest growing areas of the world economy, and this is reflecting the increasing desire for UK goods and services worldwide. But as UK based brands – how can we capitalise on this? 1. QUALITY: Keep your customers informed about your brand’s heritage, as this will not only make your business standout but also emphasise your British authenticity. Quality is at the heart of our proposition and we wholeheartedly encourage other businesses to take the same approach, not just creating the best product, but delivering the best service. At Tyrrells, we start with the very best raw materials working with local
family farms in Herefordshire, to select and grow the best potatoes and invest in production to create points of difference. For example we spin our crisps to drain off excess oil, making them less greasy and therefore arguably nicer to eat. Consequently, our provenance as a British company using quality British ingredients is an important part of our marketing and is woven into everything we do, be it on our packaging or through social media channels. 2. BRAND PERSONALITY We encourage SMEs and entrepreneurs to be honest and authentic – let your brand personality shine through. It’s important to listen to consumers but also be individual and bold to ensure your British brand stands out. Communicating your British-ness in a variety of ways, from your PR and marketing activity to imagery and social media will shift your business to be known for its ‘Made in Britain’ quality, as well as making your brand memorable. For example at Tyrrells, we have relied purely on entertaining packaging, PR and digital activities in order to communicate our British heritage and achieve the international success it enjoys today. Traditionally, we haven’t relied on conventional advertising, preferring to rely on entertaining branding and packaging – otherwise known as ‘packvertising’. The Tyrrells style of packaging and approach is very British, especially the old black and white photos that celebrate characters from all corners of the country. Ultimately, live and breathe your brand personality – it really helps you stand head and shoulders above the competition.
actual demand for your product could be in a different or unexpected country, so consider looking further afield – you never know your product could be popular in Swaziland. Our advice to new exporters is to go out and spend as much time as possible examining the retail aisles, understanding the category, merchandising, pricing and competitor activities. This first-hand knowledge will prove absolutely invaluable when establishing your products either directly or through intermediaries. As long as you adopt a clear and relevant brand proposition, it is possible to create a meaningful presence abroad. Our international business now accounts for over 25 percent of our turnover, which has significantly impacted on the growth of our business – reaching corners of the globe we never thought possible. British businesses are blessed with having a strong heritage and language which is known across the globe. There is an incredible entrepreneurial spirit as well as a sense of pride and unity in Britain, one which can help the UK economy – let’s help UK businesses continue to fly the flag overseas.
3. LOOK FURTHER AFIELD When considering global expansion, don’t just focus on English speaking countries. Spread your risk and look further afield – you never know where your product niche might be and where the appeal and demand for Brand Britain might lie. Exporting your product to the closest countries or English speaking ones may seem like the simplest option; however
Lord Ashdown’s “A Fortunate Life’’ Paddy Ashdown writes of a recurring memory from childhood, “the brief glimpse, snatched from between the folds of my mother’s skirt, of a single platform under a boiling sun, carpeted with dismembered bodies”. The place was Bombay, India; the year, 1946; the scene, a fragment of the communal slaughters that accompanied Partition. A half-century later, Ashdown found this memory evoked by the horrors of the Bosnian war, a war tolerated and sustained by the “shameless inactivity” of the West. It is, he ponders, “the theme of my life”: to be not only a witness to the consequences of tribal violence, but also to challenge the complicity that allows such hatred to prosper. One reviewer of this book complained that it fails to give a convincing postulation of Ashdown’s liberalism; but that seems to ignore the importance of a liberal life lived. Ashdown was born in 1941, the product of a mixed marriage amid the divisions of Northern Ireland. His beloved father taught him to revile religious bigotry, to be unafraid of holding minority opinions, and that actions – not the accidents of birth – define character. Later, Ashdown imbibed the value of mutuality in the Royal Marines and found himself bombarded by both sides of the sectarian divide as a soldier patrolling the streets of Belfast. The name ‘Paddy’, a derogatory reference to his Irish origins, followed him from an English public school into the armed forces, and he adopted it as his own; a literal inversion of the prejudice that he was determined to combat. He draws his creed from Tagore: “We are all the more one, because we are many”. This is Ashdown’s liberalism, and it was there – like “an old coat that had been hanging in my cupboard” – long before he joined the Liberal Party in 1974. Ashdown comments frequently on his “naiveté” in picking causes, such as trying to set up a non-sectarian youth club in 1970s Belfast, and he emerges as a figure wary of the seemingly minor compromises that, over time, amount to far greater betrayals. It is hard in reading these pages to avoid pondering what Britain missed in never giving Ashdown the opportunity to serve as Prime Minister. One would forgive him the temptation of emulating his predecessor as Liberal candidate for Yeovil who, upon losing his deposit in the 1945 general election, declaimed: “People of Yeovil,
you have been handed the keys of liberty and you have dashed them to the ground!”. As a politician, Ashdown practised ‘community politics’ in its original mode; as a means of realising universal goals on a local level. He had little time for the petty side of parliamentary politics and lamented the parochial attitude of those Liberal MPs who were simply “outstanding personalities in their own constituencies”. He was a devoted advocate for his constituents but was not afraid to challenge their prejudices even if in doing so he courted unpopularity. He chastised residents who opposed a local care home for children with learning difficulties, and opposed the creation of local jobs where these relied on arms sales to Pinochet. When racist thugs threatened the business of a local Bangladeshi restaurant-owner, Ashdown personally went on patrol, directly confronted the individuals involved and disarmed one who held a knife to his throat. (It is hard not to enjoy the thought of a racist knife-wielder getting his comeuppance at the hands of an ex-SBS Royal Marine). As Liberal Democrat leader, Ashdown adopted George Lansbury’s dictum that opposition parties should avoid populist opportunism and act as they would do in government; hence his support for the residency rights of Hong Kong Chinese, and the votes cast by Liberal Democrat MPs under his leadership for the Maastricht Treaty. Ashdown’s repeated calls for intervention in Bosnia earned him the derisive nickname ‘Honourable Member for Sarajevo’ as well as calls of ‘warmonger’ from Labour MPs in the Commons; yet events vindicated his stand, and he never waivered in face of this opposition. Where he seems to have fallen down, curiously, was as a political strategist, seeking to map Liberal Democrat positioning in a political landscape dominated by the phenomenon of Tony Blair. To begin with, it seems odd that a man with such an instinctive sense of what liberalism is about should have supported ‘Democrats’ as the name for the newly-created merger party in 1988. He admits to not having appreciated at first the extent to which the ‘Liberal’ label was part of the party’s – not to say the country’s – “heart, history and soul”, and could not be so lightly discarded. Then there was Ashdown’s ‘partnership’ with Blair; seeking, as he saw it,
to mend the post-Edwardian disunity of the Left. Ashdown credits this partnership as having contributed to the scale of the Conservative defeat in 1997 and for keeping Blair on the straight-and-narrow as regards constitutional reform. He argues that by working with Blair – for example through key seats agreements and by coordinating attacks on the Conservatives – the Liberal Democrats became a part of the anti-Tory tide in 1997 rather than being consumed by it. These arguments are credible. The problem is that ‘the Project’ extended far beyond these essentially pragmatic objectives. Ashdown regards 2nd May 1997, when Blair balked at inviting Liberal Democrats to join his government, as an opportunity lost. While cooperation seems to have paid dividends in the general election of that year, Ashdown seems less keen to contemplate the extent to which his pursuit of coalition post-1997 hampered the prospects of further growth in Liberal Democrat support. One is further struck by the conspiratorial nature of ‘the Project’ – Ashdown writes of the slowly expanding circle of those in the know – and the seeming lack of concern for the implications of ‘big tent’ politics for the very pluralism to which Ashdown is so passionately committed. As the late Conrad Russell observed at the time, coalitions only work if based on a partnership of interest. “A party with a majority of 179 does not need a coalition”, he wrote in 1998. “Its only possible interests in entering one are to free the Prime Minister from the control of his party, or to nobble a possible competitor”. Ashdown believes that the presence of Liberal Democrats in government post-1997 would have tamed Blair’s illiberal tendencies; but this only begs the question of why a coalition government not based on party interests could be justified in the additional absence of a commonality of principles.
A fortunate life is available on amazon.com
Family Offices High-net-worth individuals are capable of managing their own affairs and delegating responsibilities directly. However, families, consisting of multiple generations and households, often find things more complex. Family offices address this problem directly
selves have differing liquidity requirements. A common example is the different professional aspirations of equal sibling benefactors.
The family office is often misrepresented and poorly understood. Although the concept is not new, it is a phenomenon that is changing the wealth management landscape. But what exactly is a family office and how does it operate?
Multiple nuclear families may opt to consolidate by creating a multi-family office to manage the family’s wealth. Such a structure provides the economies of scale and investment opportunities that formal collaboration and a consolidated management structure afford. Naturally, family complexity factors also arise for multi-family offices, only on another level of magnitude. Here things can get quite messy. As such, traditionally, for a multi-family office to be successful and sustainable, families should share interests and risk appetites or, alternatively, comparable levels of wealth.
A family office is, in its simplest form, the private office of a family of significant wealth. The number of staff can vary from one to over 20, depending on the type and number of services it provides. The purpose can range from handling key assets and core holdings (tax and accountancy, property and estate management) to more sophisticated wealth management structures, while often providing family members with educational, professional and lifestyle services. Families should seek to avoid unnecessary involvement in the operations of the office Generally, family offices manage key areas of family assets, including real estate, direct or indirect investments, tax consolidation and estate management, serving as the central hub for a family’s legacy, governance and succession communication. A typical family office gives structure to the management of family wealth, establishing increased control and oversight of the family wealth strategy and the costs of managing investments. Family offices also consolidate tax, accountancy and wealth reporting under one roof, while providing a confidential decision making framework. DEMOGRAPHICS Families with private wealth in excess of $150m are ideal candidates for a family office structure. While it is not uncommon for first-generation entrepreneurs to establish a family office, they more often support families with more complexity in terms of households and generations. This is a key characteristic, and one that offices must account for when designing and executing investment strategies and family governance plans. For example, a family office serves a family with seven households, spread across three generations. While each household will share some similar needs, from the perspective of the family office each merits specific consideration. Such consideration cannot always be restricted to typical generational needs, such as regular income for retirees, because households them-
50% Of family offices list asset diversification as a motivation for buying art
SHARED PHILOSOPHY What does this all mean? It is vital to consider the raison d’être here. As simple as it sounds, there is no family office without family. Fundamentally, a family office requires families to discuss, determine and define the purpose of family wealth. What is the wealth to be used for? What role will the office play in supporting those objectives? These decisions are critical. A family must also decide and define its risk appetite, distinguishing between long-term/strategic investment planning and the individual asset allocation selections and horizons that will comprise that strategy. These decisions must then be clearly communicated within the family, as well as to the executives, so that the objectives are fulfilled. Once the structure has been decided and the executives briefed, families should seek to avoid unnecessary involvement in the operations of the office. If beneficiaries are involved, they should be qualified, with the appropriate skillset and professional experience, so they can add value to the office, not distract or detract from its pursuit of the family vision. This requires education, professional development and humility. Stewardship is the watchword for beneficiaries seeking involvement in family office operational, investment or philanthropic initiatives. OFFICE ART Typically, family offices provide three categories of services, either in-house or by delegating tasks to external providers: investment activities, general advisory services and family professional services. Many family offices also have significant art collections, some rivalling museums in breadth and scope. As such, it is important to direct appropriate resources to
managing art wealth, just as one would with financial assets. Issues to take into consideration include: estate planning, charitable loans and gifts, tax planning, storage and acquisition/ disposal strategies. Due to the scope of services required to manage a collection, most family offices will outsource the majority of activities. Families generally buy art for personal enjoyment. However, its financial benefits are also recognised. The 2014 Art and Finance report by Deloitte and ArtTactic revealed that 50 percent of family offices list asset diversification as a motivation for buying art. While family offices tend to have a very holistic view of their assets, many do not apply the same resources to art as they might to property or financial portfolios. This is changing though, and, according to the Deloitte report, 88 percent of family offices plan to make estate planning around art and collectibles a strategic focus in the next 12 months. CONTINENTAL CONSIDERATIONS Family offices in Europe typically manage longer-term assets, such as real estate, private equity and direct investments, in-house. There is a trend toward insourcing investment services, while technical, legal and tax-related services are increasingly outsourced. Short-term assets, hedging instruments and derivatives, which require a high degree of monitoring and execution expertise, are managed through investment and private banks. Portfolios with exotic financial instruments are usually outsourced to asset managers. Direct family office costs are slightly lower in Europe than the global average of 86 basis points per year. This is a result of the larger average portfolio size of $900m and total assets of $1.5bn per family office. Investment style also contributes to lower costs, as European offices have a higher proportion of conservative mandates, which tend to be cheaper to manage than growth mandates. 88% Of family offices plan to make estate planning around art and collectibles a strategic focus in the next 12 months Europe has a relatively mature family office environment, with multiple providers available at each point of the value chain. Hubs in London, Geneva, Zurich, Monaco and Luxembourg have good connectivity with specialist providers and banks in the European time zone.
profile Jul/Dec 2015
Wartski The First 150 Years. The Remarkable History of a World Famous Jeweller Last year antique jewellers Wartski made headlines as being instrumental in identifying the long lost Third Imperial Fabergé Egg. Public attention was all of a sudden focused on a name that has steadily grown in importance in the last 150 years. Although not necessarily a brand known by the general public, Wartski ranks high amongst collectors, museums and the trade. This year, the unique family business is celebrating 150 years since it was founded in North Wales by Morris Wartski. To celebrate this achievement, Geoffrey Munn, Wartski’s MD and well-known Antiques Road Show expert, has written a book which looks back at Wartski’s glittering heritage with considerable pride. It all started when the Wartski family left Poland, then part of an ever growing antiSemitic Imperial Russia for the United Kingdom. Morris Wartski worked hard as an itinerant merchant, but a chance meeting allowed him to set up this unique and enduring family business. He met the local landowner, the famously extravagant Marquess of Anglesey, who helped him to open his first retail premises in Bangor in 1895. The family soon moved to the popular holiday destination of Llandudno where their family business thrived and where Wartski was honoured by the patronage of King Edward VII. The family business went from strength to strength and with the marriage of Harriette Wartski to Emanuel Snowman a branch was opened on New Bond Street, London, in 1913. From there the firm moved to 17 Garrick Street in 1918. In 1927 Wartski went to 5 Quadrant Arcade, Regent Street, and in 1931 to 138 Regent Street. Although impressive addresses, it was still very much a subsidiary of the main branch of Wartski in Llandudno at this point. Today this unique family business, centring on a small shop in the West End of London, is famous for its association with masterpieces of goldsmiths’ work, antique
jewellery and especially those of Carl Fabergé. A varied and sometimes eccentric group of customers have been attracted to the glittering treasures in Wartski’s stock and these have included famous artists, writers, actors, European aristocracy and royalty. Wartski started to make a name for itself, when Emanuel Snowman, a highly intelligent, witty and intuitive man with considerable flair and ambition, heard that the Russian government were eager for foreign trade in the early 1920s. They were preparing to sell works of art and precious objects from the USSR People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade, All Union Company for Export, known as the Antiquariat. It was the acquisitions he made from Russia between 1927 and 1933 that were to forge Wartski’s modern identity and assure not only its success but also its international reputation. From there he brought various collections of goldsmiths’ work to the West, among them a number of Carl Fabergé’s Imperial Easter Eggs and a gold chalice made for Empress Catherine the Great. While Emanuel Snowman clearly established Wartski as experts in Faberge and established a long lasting connection with the Royal family, his son Kenneth Snowman added another dimension to the business when he managed to attract the showbiz personalities of his time, while also focusing on the academic element of the business. On one side, Kenneth was happy to follow his grandfather’s advice to the letter - Morris Wartski had lived a full and exciting life, and attributed his longevity to “plenty of whisky, good cigars and no exercise”. A keen collector of autographs and trained as an artist, Kenneth Snowman managed to attract a lot of stars of stage and screen to Wartski’s – its glittering stock of jewellery and goldsmiths’ work fascinated many of them and consequently, his scrapbook contained signed photographs from many of the big names of the time. What started with collecting autographs and letters in Kenneth’s youth, meant in later life
he laid claim not just to signatures but also the signatories themselves. At the end of his life the list of his friends and acquaintances was as long as it was varied and dazzling. On the other hand, Kenneth became increasingly aware after the Second World War that the art of the goldsmith had been held in the highest possible esteem in every generation until his own, and resolved to redress the situation by writing about it. He had a remarkable facility with language and he used it to the best e ect as author of numerous books related to his work. These include “The Art of Carl Fabergé” in 1953 and “Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe” in 1966. It was these books that established him as the leading authority on the above. Thus Snowman father and son elevated a family business to a new level of excellence at which expertise and scholarship were not by-products of trade, but primary objectives in their own right. Geoffrey Munn’s “Wartski - The First 150 Years” continues the firm’s long literary tradition, upheld by himself and his colleagues Katherine Purcell, Kieran McCarthy and Thomas Holman. Owing to the various publications and exhibitions cited above, Wartski stands apart from most other jewellers. As early as 1935 Morris Wartski contributed to an exhibition on Russian Art in aid of the Red Cross, but the first Wartski exhibition was on the 8th November 1949 and was devoted to the works of Carl Fabergé. It was opened by Sir Sacheverell Sitwell and its patron was the Countess of Suffolk. Almost 400 pieces of Fabergé caused huge excitement amongst the press and visitors alike, and they included five Imperial Eggs. Many more exhibitions followed, not just of Fabergé, but on a variety of subjects including Tiaras, French Jewellery of the 19th Century, Japonisme, and even the relics of Charles I. Wartski negotiated loans from both public and private collections and the majority of the exhibits had not been seen in public before.
When Emanuel Snowman died in 1970, Kenneth became chairman of Wartski. His convivial personality made him a popular figure in the London art, literary and music world. Kenneth was a member of the Garrick Club where his wit and hospitality were legendary, but his contribution to the art world was recognised when he was admitted to the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries in 1994. Kenneth’s contribution to scholarship and a wide range of charities was similarly acknowledged when he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1997. Now the Chairman of the firm is Morris Wartski’s great-grandson Nicholas Snowman. The fifth generation of the family to take his place on the board is Nicholas’s son Hector Snowman. Geoffrey Munn’s book looks at all these different angles which turned Wartski into the firm it is now. One of the most fascinating chapters in his book, The Great and the Good, is devoted to the rich spectrum of Wartski customers. The transvestite Marquess of Anglesey heads a list that includes President John F Kennedy, Sir Noel Coward, Merle Oberon, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Tyrone Power, Ian Fleming, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Hutton, Sir Alec Guinness, Dame Edith Sitwell, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Yul Brynner, Joan Rivers, Barbra Streisand, Sir Elton John and Dame Vivienne Westwood. Unsurprisingly, an entire chapter of Geoffrey Munn’s book is devoted to European royal patronage. Wartski has served six generations
of the British Royal family, including Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, and more recently the firm made the wedding rings for Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Welsh gold was used by Wartski to make the wedding ring for Miss Catherine Middleton on her marriage to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. Other Royal families with a close link to Wartski include those of Denmark, Greece, Spain and Yugoslavia. It goes without saying that collectors have played a big part in the history of Wartski. Geoffrey Munn gives an insight into their compulsion and how Wartski has been instrumental in forming many remarkable collections, including those of Arthur E. Bradshaw, Malcolm Forbes, Marjorie Merriweather Post and more recently that of Harry Woolf. The book concludes by looking towards Wartski’s future through its sponsorship of contemporary jewellers. From the 1970’s and 1980’s, Wartski enthusiastically promoted contemporary goldsmiths and jewellery designers and the tradition continues with a small stock of modern jewels today. “Wartski – The First 150 years” is not only the history of a firm but also the biography of a scintillating society. It gives the reader new insight into the jewellery trade, the fascination of collecting and the lives of the rich and famous. The lavishly illustrated text
opens a window on to an otherwise private world full of excitement and amazement. ‘‘In addition to giving great pleasure to the wearer, jewellery serves the purpose of being a conversation piece. London antique jeweller Wartski (est.1865) excels in finding such treasures. Though there are exceptions, precious cufflinks are usually gifts that reflect the wearer’s character or interests. What do these French 18k yellow gold demonic masks (c.1900) with diamond eyes and ruby tongues say about the man? Perhaps that he is wickedly amorous or, like Lord Byron, mad, bad and dangerous to know’’. ‘‘Coloured gemstones add depth to men’s dress jewellery and the use of cabochon (smooth rather than faceted) stones takes away the sparkle that some men find rather too ostentatious. - James Sherwood The book will be available from May and is published by Antiques Collectors Club and will be available from May 2015 at a RRP of £65. Wartski will also be sponsoring Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum from the 21st November 2015 to March 2016. www.wartski.com
Responsible Business in an Age of Demographic Change By Baroness Sally Greengross More of us in the UK and Europe are living longer. There are 10 million of us in the UK over 65 years old, and by 2050 that figure is expected to double. Over the coming decades the UK’s “working age” population is expected to rise by just 3% compared to a rise of over 39% for those aged 65 and over. This means people will be working longer, but what does this mean for businesses and what advantages can be gained from a more generationally diverse workforce? Responsible businesses understand that they have a vital part to play in making sure that all their citizens, of whatever age, can fulfil their potential and achieve their aspirations. Older customers will have specific expectations from businesses and by reflecting this increasing majority of customers in their workforce, businesses can better understand and meet these needs. As our population ages fewer young people will be entering the workforce, retaining and recruiting the skills and experience of older people will become vital and businesses can also benefit from the range of different ideas and approaches an intergenerational workforce can offer. As well as being a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, I am the Chief Executive of UK International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) and recently we published two new reports (1); The missing million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s, which have shone a much needed light onto this hereto hidden issue and the third Missing Millions report is to be launched as a part of Responsible Business Week* in April 2015. Importantly the ILC research shows that if people aged over 50 are helped back into employment, it does not mean that younger people are ‘crowded out‘ of the labour market. Helping older people back into the labour market could also lead to a potential £88 billion boost to the UK GDP and securing employment for older people will transform their lives and offer them the opportunity of a brighter, more secure future.
Altmann’s appointment followed the government’s publication of Fuller Working Lives – A Framework for Action, which set out the benefits to individuals, business and the economy as a whole of people aged over 50 staying in work and led to the creation of the DWP’ s Age Positive programme and on-line portal, In all the 50+ age group accounts for 29.4% of total employment and 42.9% of all self-employment in the UK. An increasing number of older people in employment can help support employment across all age ranges in a number of ways. First, increased employment at older ages should boost overall demand for goods and services within an economy, meaning more labour is needed to meet demand and hence more jobs are created. Second, as stated above, a high proportion of older workers are self-employed, setting up entrepreneurial startup businesses which employ others regardless of their age and which thus have the potential to galvanise the SME market to the benefit of both younger job-seekers and UK PLC. Spending by older workers is more effective at creating jobs than spending by other age groups; furthermore they are even more effective at creating youth employment. This is because they spend more of their earnings than other age groups and spend a higher proportion on services that employ younger workers. So how significant might the economic contribution of older people be if these diverse contributions are taken into account? In 2010 older people made contributions through taxation and other direct financial contributions worth £55 billion. They also added a further £76 billion to the national economy through their spending and £44 billion through economically tangible benefits such as the provision of social care and volunteering. In fact, older workers’ spending and taxes support some 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs in the UK, including 878,000 16-24 year olds, and this is forecast to rise to 916,000 by 2018.
sector and JD Weatherspoons in the hospitality arena. Barclays has recently launched a new apprenticeship scheme for the over 50’s who want a career in the City and I have heard that two more household names who are also be set to announce apprenticeship schemes for older workers in the coming weeks. As people live longer and healthier lives, there is an irrefutable need for us all to harness the strong winds of demographic change and remain active and engaged in our societies to the best of our abilities. Part of this necessarily entails extending our working lives beyond traditional retirement age, and the case for doing so has never been stronger. We all have an important role to play in changing attitudes around age and work in order to maximise the potential of older workers. It is reassuring to see that both government and business are generally aware of this issue and are taking steps to improve policy and practice. The economic and social imperative of working longer can no longer be ignored. Individual prosperity, as well as the future of UK industry and society as a whole, may well hinge on our ability to support fuller and longer working lives. By the means outlined above all of our adult citizens, irrespective of age, who want to work can be helped by responsible business to not only to fulfil their own aspirations, but also to contribute to the wider economy – to all our benefits!
1. The missing million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s, reports from ILC –UK, The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) and Business In The Community, 2014,2015 2. A New Vision for Older Workers: Retain, Retrain, Recruit. Report to Government by Dr Ros Altmann CBE Business Champion for Older Workers. HMSO March 2015 *Responsible Business Week (RBW) is part of the Business in the community (BITC), Age and Intergenerational Workplaces
Dr. Ros Altmann, the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, recently argued that if everybody retired one year later, it would add 1% to GDP. In a recent report to Parliament (2), Dr, Altmann noted that ‘by 2022, there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in the UK – but 3.7 million more people aged between 50 and the state pension age. If the over-50s continue to leave the workforce in line with previous patterns, we would suffer serious labour and skills shortages which could not be filled by immigration alone…’. Dr. i-MAGAZINE
Many UK organisations have followed B&Q, British Telecom, M&S and Co-op Group and Centrica’s excellent leadership in employing older workers and have benefited from having a more age-diverse workforce. These include local authorities, such as Hertfordshire County Council, through construction sites, such as Clugston Group; retail outlets, like John Lewis, financial services companies like Nationwide, manufacturing organisations like South Wales Forgemasters, First group in the transport
Leadership Team campaign, which aims to bring together business leaders to create sustainable responses to meet the challenges of an intergenerational workforce and reap both the commercial and social rewards.
interview Jul/Dec 2015
i-MAGAZINE speaks to Donald Trump the Founder of The TRUMP Organisation.
As Chairman and President of the enormously successful Trump Organization, how do you see the business evolving over the next ten years or so? For example will you be branching out into other industries to seek growth or stick to your current mainstays?
And I imagine most people get the impression that your organization understands the power of branding – is this something that you pushed for internally during its growth?
Absolutely. I’ve always known how important branding is. That’s hard to determine. I’m always open to possibilities, and we have a tremendous potential for growth. For example, twenty years ago I didn’t know I’d become a golf club developer and now I have 18 fantastic clubs around the world. It became a second career, in a way. Same with my TV show, The Apprentice. Everyone said it’d be a one season wonder and we’re now going into our fifteenth season. That was also like a new career. It’s been wonderful.
In 2010 you considered running for President of the USA, what made you want to become President? If you were to become President, what changes do you think you would make domestically, economically and in terms of America’s foreign policy?
I was, and am, concerned about this country. It’s a mess. We don’t have strong leadership and the country is falling apart. I would make sure our foreign policy would be a tougher. China takes advantage of us – because it’s so easy for them to do—and other countries follow suit. Economically this country needs to be run more like a business—the debt is ridiculous at this point. Domestically? The infrastructure is crumbling. When I visit foreign countries, the airports are sophisticated and beautifully designed. Landing in New York can come as a shock to people. Something has to be done, and sooner the better.
What do you make of the current President Barack Obama?
I-MAGAZINE fuses business editorial with politics and lifestyle – in what ways do you think business is connected with politics and how important is the understanding of the two in terms of your experience as a business man?
Politics and business are connected because they affect each other. Politics plays a part in business in that the laws affect business. It’s very much a balance that needs to be achieved.
That’s very important to me and to my family in general. Always has been.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I golf and I read a lot, and spent time with my family.
What brand of clothing do you like to wear more than any other and why?
The Donald J. Trump Signature Collection is great—looks good and is comfortable.
What is your favorite cuisine?
I like Italian and American fare, a good steak.
He is not a strong leader. He hasn’t done a good job on many fronts.
How important is philanthropy to you?
In your book ‘’The Art of the Deal’’, you laid out an 11 - step formula inspired by Norman Vincent Peale’s ‘‘The Power of Positive Thinking’’, number 7 in the formula is ‘’Get the word out’’. What does that mean exactly? And how relevant (if at all today) has it been for you in terms of how you operate today?
Or “toot your own horn” is also apt. It’s very relevant. I have a brand that is known worldwide and that is very valuable in business. I do much of my own advertising because it is effective. What’s the point of having a product if no one has ever heard about it? I was already well known when The Apprentice came out in 2004, but it greatly increased my visibility in the world arena. That has been fantastic advertising for the Trump brand.
What does a typical working day for you look like?
I get up around 5 AM and read all the papers and watch TV news coverage. I’m usually in my office by 8:30 AM and work until around 7 PM. I prefer to eat lunch at my desk. There are usually events to attend in the evening a few nights a week. It’s a full day.
What do you think your legacy will be?
I have established a gold standard brand in several categories thus far. I have authored substantially successful books and I consider myself a teacher on that account. I am known as a builder and I consider myself to be one—again on several levels. I have very capable children—and they provide a wonderful legacy. I’m very proud of them.
What is the best book that you have read that you would like to recommend to I-MAGAZINE readers?
I’d like to recommend The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It has valuable lessons for business and life.
lifestyle Jul/Dec 2015
Smart Money By Andrew Palmer
As job titles go, Gordon Woo’s takes some beating. Woo is a catastrophist, and his job is to think about “tail risks”—the sorts of big risks that occur outside the normal distribution of events. To be more precise, his job is to think about disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and pandemics are his raw materials; models that calculate the probability of catastrophes and the damage they might cause are the products he helps to turn out. Woo’s is a macabre world. Woo was behind a risk model that worked out the probability of a large-scale terrorist attack on the 2006 World Cup in Germany. FIFA, the world’s governing body for soccer (football), wanted to take out insurance against the event being cancelled; just about the only thing that could plausibly lead to the whole tournament being called off was a terrorist atrocity. Woo’s job was to quantify just how probable that was. Woo works in London at a firm called Risk Management Solutions (RMS), one of three large companies (the others are AIR Worldwide and Eqecat) that specialize in modeling catastrophes. Such firms are a vital cog in the market for “catastrophe bonds,” financial products that help insurers and reinsurers share the risk of really big claims with the fund managers who look after the world’s biggest pots of money. Investors in these bonds get their money back, plus a return, if disaster does not strike; insurers get to keep the cash if a catastrophe occurs. Whether insurers have the capacity to cope with a large claim is not the immediate priority when a natural disaster occurs, of course. Then the attention is on rescuing and caring for survivors. But once the world has moved on and the long job of rebuilding lives and livelihoods is under way, the point of insurance is to make a bad situation more tolerable. A 2012 analysis by researchers at the Bank for International Settlements showed just how important it is to an economy to have insurance when a disaster strikes. By analysing growth in the wake of 2,476 natural catastrophes across more than two hundred countries between 1960 and 2011, the researchers found that well-insured catastrophes have inconsequential medium-
Lo proposes to create a drug-development “megafund” that would raise up to $30 billion to invest in promising anticancer drugs by using one of the most suspected techniques in financial engineering. That technique is “securitisation,” a word that is now commonly understood to mean blowing up the world’s financial system but is more properly described as a way of bringing together fragmented cash flows—the mortgages and credit-card payments of many individuals, say—into a single income stream. Lo’s idea for a drug-development megafund uses the same logic. The drugs would be at different stages of development, from later-stage projects that are already throwing off royalties to earlystage ones that have yet to come to market. The combined cash flows from these assets would go to investors. If the fund had a large enough portfolio of drugs, Lo reckons, some of them would be pretty sure of commercial success. That would give investors the prospect of decent returns, and make it easier for promising treatments to cross the valley of death in drug research. Some people will be holding their heads in their hands at the thought of using securitisation to take on cancer. Isn’t this the same sort of financial wizardry that created those infamous collateralized-debt obligations that were stuffed with subprime loans during the mortgage boom? Lo is aware of the dangers. But he is a long way from having to worry about that. The cancer megafund is an idea at the start of its life rather than one that has been thrashed to within an inch of it. Asset classes have to get very big before they can have an impact on the financial system as a whole. But the scheme is promising, and the idea has a wider message. Finance has showed how destructive it can be. The likes of Woo and Lo provide an important counter-narrative. The next time someone says that finance is good for nothing but enriching bankers, think of them.
Andrew Palmer is a journalist at The Economist and the author of Smart Money: How High Stakes Financial Innovation is Reshaping Our World for the Better, £18.99, published 30th April by Basic Books. Follow Andrew Palmer on Twitter at @palmerandrew.
comment Jul/Dec 2015
Planning an event for premium clients Richard Dodgson, founder, Timebased Events
The most important ingredients for event planning are passion and creativity. It is also important that you follow try and tested processes, but once you employ those then the only limitation is time. This is why we call ourselves Timebased - each event has a beginning and an end. What every event has in common is a fundamental requirement to inspire the audience. During the initial planning stages, your priority must be to ensure you get to the heart of your client’s messages and objectives and to communicate these in an engaging way. Creative flair and acute attention to detail are key to every event, and with these skills you can really galvanise an audience. You need to be creative and bold with your ideas. Whether you are planning a launch event, fashion show, charity auction, film premiere, awards ceremony, press day or simply a party, you want your client to stand out from their competitors and establish a strong market position, all while inspiring audiences. To achieve your objective there are a number of core elements to get right - from sourcing the venue and negotiating the best deals, all the way to the last few days when the small details make all the difference… EVENTS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THEIR CONTENT AND OBJECTIVE Companies use events to be seen as V.I.B.E brand in their industry - visionary, inspiring, bold and exciting - so they know why they want an event, they just need to ensure expectations match delivery. When you’re starting from scratch the content and objective need to be rock solid, with synergy on all levels. It’s important to ask “why”, in terms of how the event links to the brand identity, the audience, the venue and how this conceptual basis gives the event integrity and a strong identity. You need to ask what impression you are trying to make and what you want audience to be thinking during and after the experience. Your client may have a concrete story on which the event is based, so play on this. You can use the event to showcase your
credentials subtly and in a sophisticated way – your clients will be impressed.
develop a foundation, or “map”, on which you will base the further production stages.
UNDERSTAND THE ‘WHAT’ AND THE ‘WHY’ This is a good starting point for any event. Knowing your audience is essential because they are the ones who your client is trying to influence. You need to take the lead and advise as to what will actually engage people. Perhaps your client wants to use Twitter to generate publicity in the days leading up to an event, but if the audience is middle-aged and conservative they are entirely the wrong demographic for this. This is where compromise comes into it and often you are able to meet in the middle.
You may need to revisit each pre-production stage more than once if you discover a flaw in the sequence or feel a certain aspect could be developed further. Having the insight, discipline and patience to recognise and make changes when appropriate is a key quality for anyone organising an event.
CREATIVE CONSISTENCY AND DETAIL ARE VERY IMPORTANT Attention to detail is key, and you should always refer back to the client’s brand values, key messages and image to check each and every element is compatible and consistent with these. At the recent David Beckham swimwear launch for H&M, which was held at Shoreditch House, we covered all the sun loungers in white with khaki and dark pillows as this was the colour of the collection. The venue also needs to reflect the key messages and brand image. If a different instance, for the Viktor & Rolf FLOWERBOMB perfume launch we chose the Elms Lester painting rooms for the venue as this tied in with the theme of colour and the heritage for Viktor & Rolf as artists. We dressed the venue with ribbons and seals over the walls while the floor was lined in a pink carpet to emulate the FLOWERBOMB fragrance’s luxury packaging. Paint pots were used as places names on the table and the reception featured a spilled can of pink paint with flower petals falling out. It’s these details that really bring the event together and connect with the audience.
VENUE IS ESSENTIAL When choosing a venue it’s in your best interests to build relationships along the way. Get to know the venue gatekeeper, get on their mailing lists and stay in their minds. Actually visit the prime venue locations and walk around to assess your options, especially in London where the landscape changes so rapidly. At Timebased we’ve built up a trusted relationships with many exclusive venues including the Royal Opera House, where we recently delivered the GQ Men of the Year Awards. BE FAIR AND REALISTIC What can your clients afford? What is your budget? You tend to get what you pay for when it comes to suppliers. If you want quality but also great value you need to use people whom you trust so it’s important to build these relationships over time. If you’re planning an event for the first time be thorough with your research, but remember to be realistic about budget. There are plenty of great deals to be had if you look hard enough. Richard Dodgson is the Creative Director at Timebased
CHECK THE INTEGRITY OF THE CONCEPT AT EVERY LEVEL Like all great projects the success is in the planning. As well as working to key milestones to ensure the planning stays on brand, it’s time well spent to incorporate a pre-production schedule for everything up to the moment the content starts being produced. The benefit of this is that each step helps to i-MAGAZINE
Welcome to Monaco Images Supplied by: Societe Des Bain De Mer De Monaco Hotel: Hotel Hermitage
Welcome to Monaco
HOTEL HERMITAGE – A LUXURY PALACE At the dawn of the 20th century, Monegasque architect Jean Marquet built an upscale and luxurious hotel, a neoclassical edifice amongst orange and olive trees dotting Monte-Carlo, facing the Mediterranean Sea.
and other ivory patina chests. While architect Joseph Lori leads the refurbishments to match the original Belle Époque style, mirroring the facade of the Prince and Beaumarchais wings, the hotel strengthens its position as a Palace and is raised by two storeys.
AN UNPARALLELED BELLE ÉPOQUE STYLE Eminent designers and artists engraved in stone and printed the hotel’s style. The dining room, named Belle Époque, is one of Hôtel Hermitage’s ornaments. Never out-dated, it embodies the character and opulence of the establishment. The ceiling is the work of artist Gabriel Ferrier, Prix de Rome and 1889 Universal Exposition Gold Medallist who was inspired by François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s fresco, Grâces Florentines. In the 1970’s, André Levasseur undertakes the room’s restoration, highlighting the pink marble columns, reminiscent of the Grand Trianon, framing the crystal chandeliers.
From 2004 to 2007, the hotel’s Excelsior wing is renovated with the same stringent requirements as the preceding renovations. Beside the upgrade to compliance standards following an environmental charter established by Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, 54 rooms are re-decorated in a neo-classical style in the Prince and Beaumarchais wings, while their comfort is optimised. The prestigious Excelsior salon is entirely redecorated, excluding its Art Nouveau inspired ceilings. By the time the Excelsior wing is reopened in May 2007, nine suites in the Midi wing have been expanded with the addition of private terraces ranging from 21 to 80 sqm. Finally, the renovation program started in 2002 ends with the completion of the Costa and Midi wings, now housing a 400-seat conference room, entirely dug out from bedrock.
Another hotel’s wonders: the Jardin d’Hiver (Winter Garden). It owes its prestige to the glass conservatory created and erected by disciples of the undisputed master of metal architecture, Gustave Eiffel. Its umbrella-shaped structure will be emphasised in the 1970’s with the addition of pastel tones, gildings and new lighting. The setting and serenity of the area are as many assets that make Hôtel Hermitage a synonym of excellence, “art de vivre”. In the 2000’s, a wind of modernisation blows through Hôtel Hermitage: over 90% of the establishment will indeed be renovated between 2003 and 2011. All is meticulously designed to achieve a harmonious marriage between classic authenticity and technology. Thus, one rediscovers the scents of yesteryear gardens with Jean Mus’ stroke of genius, the landscape designer, when entrusted with Hôtel Hermitage gardens. Then, architect and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, assisted by Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Studies Department, entirely redesigns the lobby, oversees room development in a classic style refined with contemporary flair: Louis XVI Bergère and 1900 lamps are placed alongside mahogany, cherry wood
PRESTIGIOUS ACCOMMODATIONS AND AMENITIES In the heart of the hustle and bustle of Monte-Carlo, Hôtel Hermitage has elegantly imposed itself as a 5 stars Palace Leading Hotels, in the Belle Époque style. Romantic, it offers an intimate and discreet prestige concept. Its large volume and unique architecture contribute to its status of the perfect Palace, tailor-made to meet the stringent requirements a demanding individual clientele - families find a second home in the tailor-made children services – or business. Rooms and suites renovated by Pierre-Yves Rochon offer unique comfort, a perfect blend between ancient and contemporary. Unique and timeless, Hôtel Hermitage perpetuates the elegance of the Riviera and Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s art of entertaining. The 278 rooms and suites are an integral part of innovative wellbeing at the forefront of technology and in symbiosis with the
hotel’s legendary heritage. Both sea and light are visible from the 5 wings of the hotel, creating a sensation of space and an atmosphere both bright and warm. The Diamond Suites are the showpieces of Hôtel Hermitage. There are 12 unconditional jewels overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, distinguished by their luxurious spaces. And to name a few: the Diamond Penthouse Suite, the Diamond Presidential Suite and the Diamond Duplex Suite with Jacuzzi. The top floor of the Htel Hermitage Excelsior wing houses an exceptional apartment: The Penthouse Diamond Suite. This unparalleled suite holds no comparison in Monaco, welcoming guests to the greatest luxury of the contemporary palaces: space. It spans 361sq.m, including a 23sq.m terrace and a second 70sq.m terrace. Faithfully emulating the hotel’s elegance, the Penthouse Diamond Suite becomes a unique cocoon on the 5th floor, subtly blending modernity with optimized comfort and cutting-edge technology. The result is entrancing; the most beautiful materials have been selected creating a décor made of elegance and harmony. Each room is delicately infused with haute-couture tones of taupe, aubergine and gold. In a family spirit, the rooms are divided into 3 bedrooms, 3 living rooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 dressing rooms, 1 playroom for children (convertible upon request); While 2 terraces offering a 360 ° view of the port of Monaco, the Monaco rock and the sea create a truly unique experience.
HÔTEL HERMITAGE Square Beaumarchais MC 98000 Monaco Principality of Monaco hotelhermitagemontecarlo.com montecarlosbm.com Booking: T. +377 98 06 25 25 firstname.lastname@example.org
In contrast to the bustle of the Place du Casino, Monte-Carlo Beach quickly proves to be more than a hotel: its beach, its Olympic swimming pool and spa make up a complex centered around its bathing, relaxation and water sports. Terracotta in colour and stylistically curved, the facade of the Monte-Carlo Beach emphasizes the contrast in all respects with the Beaux-Arts buildings of the Place du Casino. Apart from the beach huts and “pontoon solarium” which anchor the Société des Bains de Mer in a new era ... this is a place of modernity!
ings of the Beach Club and its heated 24°c Olympic seawater pool. In this dream location, private cabanas of chic striped canvas await you. No need to look elsewhere: Beach Club takes care of everything for total relaxation.
In witnessing the summer season at the MonteCarlo Beach, the cultural changes of the 1920s become evident; guests soaking up the sun. The Société des Bains de Mer embraces this “cultural revolution” and begins the development of a beach, a swimming pool and a hotel “foot pool”. Elsa Maxwell is soon enlisted, bringing fashionable U.S. culture with her. A famous columnist, writer and organizer of social events, Elsa Maxwell was a P.R. ahead of time.
Here, children from 3 to 8 years old are kings and may participate at Club Marmorata activities in July and August. Supervised by professionals, they can take part in daily themed activities and also have the opportunity to enjoy lunch and snacks. Teenagers, meanwhile, have access to arcade games, table tennis and volleyball.
In 1928, the opening of Monte-Carlo Beach is a groundbreaking event and Elsa Maxwell makes it a memorable evening; the event will be documented in publications around the world! Monte- Carlo Beach becomes the new “in” place to meet for the artistic elite, the music elite and all things cultural. ELSA Having recently acquired its Michelin star, this eatery reflects a refined cuisine, guaranteeing quality produce. Michelin starred Chef Paolo Sari has selected the best local producers, Ecocert certified to create a gourmet menu that is healthy and lightweight, 100% organic, and that evolves with the seasons. Elsa is the first gourmet restaurant in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region to be certified organic by Ecocert, Europe’s leading organic certification. 1 star Gastronomic Restaurant, 100% Organic certified by the Ecocert Level 3 Michelin Guide. Information: “À la carte” prices start from 115 (excluding drinks) Tasting menu at 98 (excluding drinks) Open daily from 6th March 2015 to 25th October 2015 included T. +377 98 06 50 05 MONTE CARLO BEACH CLUB With fine weather, food cravings and lazy lunches on the terrace are always desired. Perfect reasons, then, to enjoy the surround-
Indulge yourself by relaxing or indulging in vitamin water recreation for juniors and adults. swimming, jet skiing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, parasailing and flyfishing are all at your disposal at the Monte Carlo Beach Club. This year exclusively, flyboarding is also available.
SPA MONTE-CARLO BEACH A trip to the heart of well-being: The spa at Monte-Carlo Beach. In this place of relaxation, located in a prime area near the Olympic pool, the goal is simple and can be summed up in a few words: treatments just for you! For this very purpose it is equipped with a steam room and three indoor cabins, two of which are for massages and beauty treatments and La Prairie and Ymalia (ecocertified products) for the face and body. Les Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo expertise is available here with bespoke massage, 100% organic Argan oil treatments from the traditional Moroccan hammam, treatment techniques such as the scents of Maryam, and also treatments specifically for the face: pure gold radiance care for glowing skin, firming caviar, ultra-sharp cellular treatments or marine care. Protocols used are dedicated wholly to the body, leaving you feeling totally rejuvenated. To complete the wellness treatment menu, the highly qualified spa team is responsible for the care of your hands and feet, and offers waxing and makeup services too. Paolo Sari at the Monte -Carlo Beach, first star 100% organic
laundry room, hand-rolled gnocchi, bolognese was cooked regularly, and risotto was made with vegetables from the Rialto market – it was a gourmet education etched in his memory. At nine, he decorates tarts with seasonal fruits and Paolo, in shorts, feasts on his creation. So was born his sacred fire for culinary craftsmanship in the city of the Doges.As a teenager he attends cooking school, which unearths the secrets of Italian cuisine to be broadcast to the world: saffron risotto Marchesi style (Marchesi being the first chef to gain three Michelin stars in Italy), stuffed ravioli, spaghetti al dente, cappelletti broth, tagliatelle al ragù, anti pasti, breaded veal cutlets; all these disciplines will form the basis of his craft. Paolo Sari will become a chef with keen taste buds who is clever with his hands, quick and passionate: the sensitive qualities of a great transalpine leader of the future. Throughout his life the eternally youthful Venetian has a keen eye, a mind that will stun in restaurants all around the world, not just Italian restaurants. He becomes a real globetrotter of la cucina Italiana, his roots. Next it’s London, the stately Dorchester Four Seasons with the Swiss maestro Anton Mosimann, “La Tante Claire” of Pierre Koffmann, three stars and a world tour of sorts - Korea, China, Japan and kaiseki cuisine, enriched by a three-month stay in a monastery to study vegetables. It has been ten years since he cooked on Marco Polo stoves with olive oil, one of his obsessions - four origins of oil in Monaco. Back in his native land, full of wisdom and reason, he shares his experiences at Cipriani in Asolo, near Venice, a venerable address for those in the know, and next he is hired by the Danieli, the Harry’s Bar, then by the most famous Italian restaurant in the world, the Gritti at the Club del Doge where risottos are legendary. His last position on San Clemente Island is the largest hotel built on the water, the Lido. Few Italian chefs were able to develop their repertoire as widely: working in the kitchen brings knowledge, an art that develops at the stove.
Born in Venice in a Castello house the “Sestier” (area) behind the Danieli, Paolo Sari spent his childhood surrounded by the aromas of the “cucina italiana” his mamma dried pasta in the
interview Jul/Dec 2015
Robert Tateossian Born in Kuwait from an Armenian father and a Palestinian mother, Robert Tateossian enjoyed a most international upbringing, full not only of exoticism and travel but also tough schools and career ambition. After a short but certainly successful career with Merrill Lynch on Wall Street and in the City of London, in 1990 Tateossian felt ready to make his true ambition reality and embarked himself in the launch of his own jewellery accessories company, inspired by his international background and his love of travelling, in which he poured all his passion for design and detail, and his love of luxury. This year Tateossian celebrates their 25th anniversary. In an intimate interview with Robert Tateossian, we learn more about his creative flair, his business acumen and the man behind this internationally acclaimed British brand.
You founded Tateossian in 1990. This year as you celebrate your 25th anniversary, I’d like to look back and ask you what was the inspiration behind? I understand you worked in Finance for a long time and that you wanted to start your own business, but, why jewellery?
I was 27 years old, had been working for Merrill Lynch for three years and I realised I wanted to be an entrepreneur, be involved in something to do with fashion but I was aware I had to find a niche if I was to make a difference in such a crowded sector. Jewellery, especially for me was very traditional then and I thought there could be an opportunity here to be creative and also to travel, which is something I’ve always loved to do. I realised I was taking a bit risk but at the time I thought I had to give it at least three years and if it worked, great and if not, I would just be 30 and could start all over again or go back to finance. I focused in cufflinks because in the City, everybody that wants to have a polished look wears cufflinks but at the time they were very plain in their design. Cufflinks were also a very British thing and I thought I could internationalise them by bringing exciting design and character to them. I have always admired the diversity of the materials you work with. Now it seems to be part of the identity of Tateossian but how did this search of new and different materials begin? And why? Was this just to create a commercial niche or was more a creative personal challenge? To launch something that is successful you always need to have a point of difference. You can do that with the design of the product or with the materials you use… or with both. Since I was fortunate enough to travel extensively, I had the opportunity to visit all kind of suppliers and factories. I am always trying to source materials that have not been used before and always trying to push our workshops to try and do things that have not been done before from a manufacturing point of view. So we do have a very non traditional approach to creating jewellery. As I don’t come from a jewellery background, I am not limited by preconceptions of how to make a piece of jewellery. I can try anything I believe might work. Of course sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes there are insolvable technical issues. Here is when the master goldsmith tells me “Listen Robert, I tried it and it doesn’t work. We need to tweak it”.
What unexpected material that you have used has surprised you the most?
Probably Fibre Optic glass. It was a material that nobody was using in jewellery twenty years ago and I really liked it. It replicated cat’s eye, which is a very expensive semi-precious stone, at a much lower cost. I started using it and it became a signature material for lots of our women’s jewellery and our cufflinks.
What is proving to be a big challenge?
I am finding very challenging the introduction of technology into jewellery. The Smart watches that are currently on the market are not attractive, far too chunky and not slim enough. Of course this is because the chips that are required for that technology are not small enough, not thin enough to create beautiful jewellery. I keep looking at it because I think that soon there will be chips thin enough for what we need to make jewellery that is interactive and attractive.
Travel seems to be a big passion of yours. How does it influence your creations? Designs? Use of materials? What countries or cultures have influenced you the most?
I don’t think there is any journey I have taken that hasn’t influenced my creative process. I travel around 70% of the time and some of the places are really interesting culturally, others from a heritage point of view, others are cosmopolitan cities… within those environments, I find inspiration in museums, in a building, in something I see in a street or in nature… For example, I recently came from a trip down the Nile, visiting the temples, the pyramids and admiring their beauty and the hieroglyphics on their walls. You cannot not be influenced by all that. So, are we going to have hieroglyphics in the next collection? Probably. There is no way that you can see something like that and not be influenced by it. Now, I have to find a way to personalise it, to incorporate it into our collections seamlessly. Another example of inspiration is a recent trip to The Maldives, where I saw some exquisite coral and sea life. It is very likely that I will add something into my collection inspired by that beauty. Then you need to find the right way to do it and choose the right time.
What about your personal heritage? How does it affect your creativity?
My father is Armenian and my mother from Palestine. We travelled all the time, moving every two years and that influenced my taste, my ability to adapt and to understand other cultures, to do business with different peoples. It has also helped me to understand and communicate better with my clients and better cater for them. The same applies to dealing with suppliers.
In 1994, your collection of watch cufflinks became something of a global hit. Ever since, cufflinks have been eponymous with Tateossian. After more than 20 years, do you see this as a blessing or as a bit of a curse?
Definitely not a curse, as you should not bite that hand that feeds you and the watch cufflinks really put us on the map when we launched them. Funnily enough, now, 25 years later, watch cufflinks are still one of our best selling products, and so are extensions of that collection, like the skeleton cufflinks and the compass cufflinks. Why? Because they are different. They create a story. Nobody else is doing this kind of work and at the end of the day, guys are looking for something that is unique, different to wear; especially guys love gadgets and this is the perfect gadget.
Your bracelets collection has also become extremely popular and strongly attached to the identity of Tateossian. Was this done on purpose?
Bracelets were introduced in our collection 4 or 5 years after starting with the cufflinks, so around 20 years ago. The reason I introduced bracelets is not because the UK clientele was asking for bracelets but because at the time,
Japan was our strongest market together with the US. It was the time when gothic, heavy chain bracelets were in fashion and the Japanese , who love jewellery, loved them. Rock Stars were wearing these big heavy silver chains. Leather bracelets didn’t even exist back then. We had a beautiful collection of handmade silver chains that our workshop in Birmingham used to make, with very organic heavy Silver links, for the demand of our Japanese clients. All these chains were handmade and all the collection was done in silver. It was a collection of heavy, heavy silver links, necklaces and bracelets. We continued doing that collection for around 10 years and then the trend started to change as the price of silver rocketed and therefore the price of silver pieces were not affordable anymore. So we had to find a material to combine with the silver in order to keep the prices reasonable. Leather was one of these materials. Nowadays, our collections are primarily leather and Silver, semi precious stones, as well as diamonds. More recently however with the price of Silver going down we have begun to reintroduce heavy silver bangles and bracelets. In a nutshell, you follow the market, you follow customers’ demands and this is how you build your collection.
What are the mechanics in the process of designing and manufacturing?
This is a continuous process; however there are two times a year when I sit with my creative director to design our collections, according to the fashion collections: one in January and one in June. We work 6 months in advance so the first week of July we are working on the collection of the next January. We analyse sales from the previous year, trends, feedback from suppliers, international fairs like Pitti… then we decide what the feeling of the collection is going to be, then we choose the materials and start to sketch. From there, we create a wax model and then we create a physical sample in silver. This process takes between 4 to 6 months, with lots of permutations in the process as often there are things that don’t work the way we expected: a certain colour, a certain material…
What are currently the most important markets for Tateossian? Where do you think that growth will come from?
Our business is a mirror image of the political and economic climate around the world. It follows the same cycles. Nowadays the economies that are doing very well such as the US and Canada are also our most important markets. In fact, Canada is our most important market at the moment other than London of course, because it is here in London where we have our stores. Other markets like Russia and Eastern Europe have dropped more recently; Ukraine has actually disappeared. The Middle East is booming in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar and markets like Europe are totally flat.
What lies ahead for the next 25 years of Tateossian? What are the strengths of the brand? What are the threats?
I would like to continue the gradual, balanced growth that we have developed. It is not an aggressive growth but one that goes step by step, generated with internal cash flow. I’d like to continue our retail expansion, opening stores in all key cities in the world such as Moscow, New York, Tokyo or Dubai and keep the consistency of the brand.
Last, how important is for you to create a Tateossian Heritage?
Brand heritage goes back to brand concept and continuity of design. Heritage is not something that you suddenly develop. It is a feeling that your brand passes to your customers, a feeling of honesty and authenticity. Tateossian CHELSEA 55, Sloane Square London SW1 W8AX Tel: + 44 020 7730 3876 tateossian.com
How important is bespoke business for Tateossian?
It is significant when it comes to rings, particularly engagement rings as they are such a personal and emotional item. For anything else, our clients normally go to our stores and choose pieces from our collections. The women’s market is very different from the men’s market, it is much more fickle and requires constant change and is quite rapid. We developed it as a result of clients in Japan asking us to introduce a women’s range. However the market for this “bridge category” has changed dramatically over the course of the past two decades. Initially all silver manufacturing was only done in Europe however when Asian factories started producing silver about 15 years the landscape changed completely with replicas of designer jewellery becoming available on the high street at a fraction of the price in no time. We therefore decided to stop wholesaling our line of jewellery and work exclusively with gold, or silver and precious stones keeping the collection for our own boutiques.
profile Jul/Dec 2015
“Now and then” Harris Tweed has undergone a rejuvenating makeover, and following a lucrative international investment deal, it is set for global expansion Until recently, Harris Tweed used to conjure up images of grandpa’s itchy jacket. Things have changed, and the traditional material is moving in more youthful circles; indeed, fashion heavyweights seem as smitten by the intricately woven material as their most discerning customers. Soon, the cloth will enjoy international exposure, since The Carloway Mill – the smallest of the three Harris Tweed mills – received backing from the major Chinese textile company Shandong Ruyi as part of a deal that concluded in March 2013. “The joint venture is mutually beneficial,” says Bruce Armitage, Operations Director at The Carloway Mill. “Shandong Ruyi wanted to add a heritage brand to its portfolio, while we were interested in breaking into the Chinese market – now we can do so with the help from a local expert well-versed in Chinese business laws and other logistical aspects that might have been tricky for us to get to grips with.” Investment deals between global giants and small, financially vulnerable heritage brands often result in watered-down concepts, but the Scottish cloth is not at risk of losing its distinctive DNA – or suffering commercial corruption in any way. “You’ll never see a tag saying ‘Harris Tweed made in China’, as moving production away from the Outer Hebrides – or indeed tampering with the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 at all – would be illegal,” says Armitage. The material – which is the only fabric in the world produced in commercial quantities by exclusively traditional methods – can only be made in very specific ways as outlined in the Harris Tweed Act of Parliament. The mark of the Orb will only be applied to lengths of cloth that meet a certain quality and have been dyed, spun and hand-woven by self-employed islanders of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
STEP BY STEP The potential growth of The Carloway Mill and the Harris Tweed industry as a whole is significant as Shandong Ruyi has a domestic market of 1.3 billion people, as well as a sales presence in 51 countries across the world. But the expansion will not happen overnight. “Harris Tweed is virtually unknown in China, and therefore it’s crucial that we introduce it in the right way – no matter how long it will take,” stresses Armitage. “So far we’ve been quite cautious and we’ll continue to progress slowly to establish the right connections and ensure that we’re embarking on a plan that will result in a long-term presence on the Chinese market. Scotch whisky is very popular in China today, but it took the name many years to create the brand awareness it enjoys now.” Aside from China, other important Harris Tweed markets are the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Armitage also believes that Scandinavia could become promising export territory, while South Korea and India are showing increasing interest. Still, Harris Tweed will never be available for the masses on a truly global scale. “Since we’re so small we can’t spread to too many markets,” says Armitage. “Producing Harris Tweed involves very labour-intensive methods and a long logistic process. We have to ensure that we deliver the tweed to the expected standard, while we are determined to continue taking bespoke orders from some of our clients; these special projects can be very time-consuming but they are certainly worthwhile for both parties involved.” NEWFOUND CREDIBILITY Requests for bespoke orders aren’t likely to decrease, since more and more designers and fashion brands opt to use Harris Tweed in their collections. Demand for the Scottish cloth started to surge well before the Chinese investor’s involvement. The most noticeable upswing occurred in 2011 – the centenary of Harris Tweed Orb – while the enduring
heritage trend that still lingers on the fashion scene has boosted its popularity further. Another contributing factor is that Harris Tweed operates at the luxury end of the clothing market, which has continued to enjoy relative growth during the downturn. Perhaps most importantly, executives serving the Harris Tweed industry have taken exciting and strategic steps to remodel the image of the material by teaming up with respected designer names and hip retailers ranging from Rag and Bone and Nigel Cabourn to Topman and Stone Island. In addition, the cloth itself has been modernised. “There has been plenty of developments in terms of the construction of the cloth,” says Armitage. “It has become more versatile, and a type of lighter tweed has been introduced – this is something designers have always requested.” As a result of the efforts put in, production of Harris Tweed reached a million metres in 2012, which is more than double the output recorded in 2009. The estimated length produced between all three Harris Tweed mills for 2015/16 is 3-5 million metres, but the figure might increase further if the joint venture proves very successful. To aid the anticipated surge, the industry is investing in new looms, and a training programme has been put in place for would-be weavers on the Isles of Lewis – many of whom are of the younger generation. “There is a palpable sense of excitement among residents of the Isles Of Lewis,” observes Armitage. “A lot of young people sign up to train as weavers. They are starting to see a future in the Harris Tweed industry and they want to be part of it.”
interview Jan/Jun 2015
Government must do more to support the British manufacturing industry By James Sleater, Founder of Cad & The Dandy
The U.K. needs a strong manufacturing sector to grow and stabilise its economy, lest we become a nation solely of farmers and fast food workers. The private sector is doing what it can, and what it knows best how to operate, but in today’s global economy that’s simply not enough. Not when our manufacturers are competing against China, South Korea, Japan and other Asian economies where manufacturing receives government assistance, not to mention the U.S. The U.K. government needs to step up its efforts in this area before the manufacturing sector goes the way of the dodo. Manufacturing accounts for more than 10 percent of the U.K. gross domestic product, employing about 2.5 million people. It provides 53 percent of the U.K.’s exports and 72 percent of business research and development spending. These are figures from “The Future of Manufacturing: A new era of opportunity and challenge for the U.K.,” published in October 2013 by Foresight in the Government Office for Science. The report stated businesses and government must adapt to avoid being overtaken by international competitors. I couldn’t agree more. Gone are the days when government could “stay out of the way” and let businesses “do their thing.” Yes, every effort must be made to ensure manufacturers aren’t hamstrung by unnecessary bureaucracy, taxes, paperwork and roadblocks to financing and exports. However, government can, and should, help manufacturers with financing, developing, marketing and exporting their products in today’s global economy. Manufacturing isn’t just making things and selling them anymore. Now it’s also about designing, creating, producing and distributing. The British government and manufacturers must fully grasp this - manufacturing as a full spectrum of value creation
In March 2012, U.S. president Barack Obama proposed spending up to US$1 billion to create a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to build a network of as many as 15 Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation to act as “regional hubs of manufacturing excellence.” Why can’t the U.K. create an Office of Manufacturing to do this same thing? It could bring together such existing entities as the Manufacturing Advisory Service and Technology Strategy Board, which already distribute money and services to grow the manufacturing sector – something the UKTI is failing to do efficiently. This new office could improve the U.K. manufacturing sector in at least three ways, if not more. First, through better intelligence informed by more accurate and timely data regarding how manufacturing is connected throughout the economy. Second, through more accurate targeting of the increased spending that allows tailoring policies and programs to specific industries. Third, through better capability that would allow both government and industry to keep up with changes in manufacturing technology and procedures. The Foresight report recommends increased funding for such initiatives as the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre to make it more accessible to small businesses and increase its role in bringing academic expertise to manufacturing and industry. I also would recommend increased funding for the £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund and the £245 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative. They create jobs and help businesses leverage their own investments. The Funding for Lending also allows small businesses to borrow money at lower interest rates and the Business Growth Fund provides equity-capital.
Cad & the Dandy has pursued exports aggressively to grow our business. Every month we travel to New York City to cut and fit suits for celebrities, Wall Street bankers and anyone else who wants the look and feel of a finely tailored suit. We also have made inroads into the Middle East, thanks to celebrity ambassador Chris Eubank. Now we use a loom to make the coth on-site and create an “Ultra-Premium Bespoke” suit that we can sell for £15,000. Government backed schemes that finance SMEs should focus not just on those that manufacture but also those that export their products. U.K. businesses must return to the days when we made things and the days when those things made in the U.K. were sought the world over. Banks haven’t been lending to SMEs and won’t until they can show an improved bottom line. That’s where the government needs to provide a lending stream with sufficient capital at affordable rates so businesses with the potential to manufacture and export can grow. The government needs to set a target for growing the manufacturing and exporting sectors and then put plans and policies in place to reach that target. Manufacturing accounts for 10 percent of the U.K. economy now. We should set our sights on raising that to 15 percent. It may seem like a tall order but it is preferable to watching our country’s manufacturing sector wither and die on the vine. Increasing exports will create more jobs in the U.K. while promoting British products around the world. The world wants and needs quality products and the U.K. should be ready and able to provide them.
As the Foresight report noted, economies that have vibrant, exporting manufacturing sectors usually recover more quickly from recessions than economies lacking such a sector. i-MAGAZINE 101
Lord Jacob Rothschild on Philanthropy The term philanthropy “love of humanity” dates back to the ancient Greeks, and today generally refers to private initiatives for the public good.
Few surviving historical families are as closely associated with large and sustained charitable causes as the renowned Rothschilds. As patriarch of the British branch of his family, Jacob Rothschild is very much aware of the importance of carrying on his family’s tradition. As he explains, philanthropy not only benefits the people and institutions it helps; it also benefits those who give by promoting closer family ties and a sense of responsibility in the world that can be passed down through subsequent generations. LIKE HIS LEGENDARY FAMILY, the Fourth Baron Rothschild is known for many things: as the patriarch of the British branch of Rothschilds; a brilliant and innovative banker; renowned art collector; as well as the self-effacing manner with which he speaks of his many achievements. But it’s difficult to ignore what is perhaps the most prominent reason for Baron Rothschild’s fame – his devotion to philanthropy, which closely reflects his family’s historical dedication to good citizenship and generous giving. While stories of wealthy families fighting amongst themselves and squandering their family fortunes are legion, the Rothschilds have not only set an admirable example of how a family can remain intact, but how to do so via a common sense of greater purpose. “Philanthropy has a lot to do with our family’s values,” Rothschild told The Focus in a recent interview. “Beginning particularly with the 19th century, members of my family were brought up, once they’d made money, to give a lot of it back. They did an enormous amount of philanthropic work, both in this country and in France and Central Europe.” It’s a lesson that was firmly instilled in Jacob Rothschild himself. His own philanthropic involvement is so extensive that it could take a page just to list it all. Highlights, however, include being chairman of the Trustees of the National Gallery, chairman of the
National Heritage Memorial Fund; and chairman of the British National Heritage Lottery Fund, which allocated more than 1.3 billion euros to National Parks, historical churches, museums, cathedrals, and for the preservation of natural habitats. CLOSE TO THE HEART Two of Rothschild’s dearest philanthropies are directly related to his desire to carry on cherished family traditions: the restoration of the Rothschild family’s French Renaissance chateau in Buckinghamshire, Waddesdon Manor, which has been donated to the National Trust and which receives 350,000 visitors annually; and Yad Hanadiv, the family’s philanthropic trust in Israel, which is responsible for building Israel’s Knesset (parliament building), the Supreme Court building, and now a National Library. “A big influence on my life was my late cousin, Mrs. James Rothschild, who left me with the responsibility for the two things that she really cared about,” Rothschild says. “For the past twenty years or so I’m been very deeply engaged and taken that responsibility very seriously. She was very influential in teaching me about philanthropy.” Such philanthropy for Rothschild is indeed learned and passed down. “It’s partly family tradition, which my late cousin made me very aware of, and partly an obligation that I grew to feel over the years toward civil society and putting something back in this country that I thought was worthwhile,” Rothschild says. “I’ve tried to bring my children up to be very aware of our family’s tradition. It’s something I’ve tried to make my children feel strongly about, and in fact, they are all involved in philanthropies. My daughter Hannah is a trustee of the National Gallery and very active in the Hay Literary Festival; my daughter Beth is deeply involved in horticulture and land conservation, as well as our work in Israel; and my son is a trustee of the Yad Hanadiv and a significant benefactor to Wadham College, Oxford.”
A DYNASTY OF GIVING The Rothschild family dynasty began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744 – 1812), who lived in Frankfurt’s Jewish ghetto. Mayer became the first notable banker in the family after earning the patronage of local German nobility. One of Mayer’s biggest innovations was to place his sons in cities across Europe – London, Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt, and Naples – to diversify and internationalize the family’s banking business and thereby strengthen and preserve the family’s intellectual and financial capital. And when an immediate direct heir is not apparent, the Rothschilds typically look for a blood relative elsewhere in the family, as was the case with Jacob and his distant cousin-bymarriage, Mrs. James Rothschild. Despite an international depression, two world wars, and the Holocaust, thanks to Mayer’s forethought, several branches of the Rothschilds – particularly the British and French – survived and continue to prosper. They own major investment institutions in England, France, and Switzerland; three world-famous vineyards; as well as numerous investment holdings around the world. According to Jacob Rothschild, an emphasis on philanthropy has played a large role in keeping the Rothschild family intact all these years and across so many national borders, and with preserving its enviably good reputation. THE FAMILY’S DNA “The family motto is Concordia, industria, integritas,” he says. “As for Concordia, in the earlier days, the family worked very closely together. In this day and age, they, to quite a significant extent, have gone their own separate ways. It’s a big family after all these years. There’s almost a proliferation of Rothschilds. We had a gathering in Frankfurt a few years ago, when the 250th anniversary of Mayer Amschel was being celebrated, and I think about 125 members of my family came. Many of them are independent and doing their own thing, which is perfectly natural after eight generations.
British Watchmaking: Hope or Hype? Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France discusses the state of british horology and asks if the future of UK watchmaking is really as bright as some claim
One of the most talked-about events at last November’s SalonQP Fine Watch Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London wasn’t a new launch or a technological breakthrough. In fact it wasn’t really an event, but something equally significant: an open letter to the domestic watch industry from Britain’s top watchmaker, Roger Smith. And with horology’s key influencers all packed in just one place, it caused maximum impact.
There’s a rising number of British brands (including our own) that in various segments with different business models have raised awareness of British horology in the past decade. This is a good thing. However, to the best of my best knowledge, the number of truly ‘British- made’ contemporary mechanical watches produced last year is fewer than 20 – and they all came from Roger Smith’s workshop on the Isle of Man.
The letter, as carefully crafted as one of Smith’s Series 2 watches, criticised elements of the British watch industry for making “premature and deceitful” claims about the domestic provenance of their timepieces which “diminish Britain’s rich horological past, and prejudice its present and its future”. In his statement, Smith cited one British brand which claimed to have designed and made an “in-house” movement in England, which, in reality, wasn’t either in-house or substantially English. His view was that such misleading claims have a detrimental impact on British watchmaking and could damage the re-emergence of the industry in this country, perhaps for good.
This isn’t as shocking as it may sound. There’s no industrial infrastructure for watchmaking in the UK so any British brand that wants to supply watches in any volume must look to other markets, primarily Switzerland and the Far East, for expertise and components.
It’s hard to disagree with Smith, whose recent appointment as ambassador and leading light for the government-sponsored GREAT Britain campaign as well as his work with the George Daniels Trust, demonstrates he’s strongly motivated to support the watchmaking industry in this country rather than running a self-interested agenda. Overstatement is, unfortunately, a common thread in the marketing of Swiss luxury watch brands and it’s perhaps no surprise, therefore, that British brands competing with them using the same model, feel pressured to import hyperbole into their own PR. In the long-term, however, Roger Smith is right, such behaviours can only damage British watchmakers and stunt the revival of the domestic industry. I have a view, however, that this ‘revival’, to some extent, has been fuelled by the same PR puff and is preventing a more intelligent and realistic debate about just what sort of watch industry is both likely and desirable in the UK.
There is effort being expended by some brands to use UK manufacturers for cases, dials and the finishing of components, and a commendable aspiration to develop a real British movement by the likes of Robert Loomes and Bremont. However, in the absence of any significant infrastructure, even if these ambitions are to be realised, the resulting watches are likely to be produced in very small numbers, with fairly basic complications and at a cost that will make them accessible only to those wealthy enough to indulge themselves in novelty. Laudable it may be, but the basis for an ‘industry’ by any proper definition of the word? I’m not so sure. It’s also worth reflecting on the history of watchmaking in the UK to understand exactly what it is we would actually be reviving. In 1800, the UK manufactured 200,000 watches, around half the world’s total. One hundred years later, the output had halved despite the market for watches being counted in millions. Our hand-crafted approach, which relied on a highly skilled and therefore expensive workforce, had been supplanted by mass-production techniques pioneered in America but quickly adopted by the Swiss.
flourished for a while, but that was snuffed out by the quartz crystal revolution of the ’60s and ’70s ,and the easier profits Smith’s identified in engineering and aerospace. So, for the most part, watchmaking on these shores over the centuries should really be described as a cottage industry. Nothing wrong with this either and I foresee a strong resurgence of artisan watchmaking in the UK as being an important part of our horological future but it’s dishonest to pretend this compares in any meaningful way to the sort of sophisticated industrialisation that has developed over the last century in Switzerland. And yet, I am very optimistic about the UK playing an increasingly influential role in the world of horology if we combine our capacity for invention with our engineering prowess in the same way that Formula 1 in the UK has become the hot-house for technical advancements in the automotive industry without there being any indigenous car industry left to speak of. The UK’s contribution to horology can not be overstated. Every major escapement design (including George Daniels’s co-axial) and around three-quarters of the remaining important innovations in horology came from these shores. We’re a long way from being this influential again but if the brightest young people can access an excellent watchmaking education and then enter rewarding and exciting careers working for thriving British brands, no matter where they source their components, anything is possible. As a fast-growing British brand, Christopher Ward is well placed to benefit from this approach and would be delighted to add real British watchmaking talent to our team, working alongside the likes of Johannes Jahnke and Frank Selzer to create great movements and, who knows, groundbreaking advances in the art of watchmaking to rank alongside those of past greats.
These produced cheaper and more reliable timepieces. There was a brief resurgence after World War II when Smith’s Industries i-MAGAZINE 103
comment Jul/Dec 2015
The work blend of successful entrepreneurs By William Buist
CEO of Abelard and Founder of xTEN Club
For both employees and organizations, work-life balance has become an increasingly important priority in recent years. Many believe the movement began back in the 1980’s when the changing gender balance in the workforce led to more family friendly ideals. With employment law, the trend has been to develop policies that allow employees to feel secure in their work lives as well as their personal lives. Work-life balance benefits not only the employees themselves, but also the organization as a whole. According to Hay Group, an estimated 27 per cent of employees in companies with perceived poor work-life balance plan to leave the company soon. In industry leaders known for their work-life balance, only an estimated 17 per cent planned on leaving the company soon. Helping employees achieve this priority helps to improve loyalty and reduce turnover, which in turn improves productivity and helps to save the company money. What many organizations fail to recognize, however, is that achieving work-life balance revolves around strategic design. The company must develop a plan that not only focuses on satisfying the customer, but also is sustainable in the long term. The demands of the business world are not going to decrease, and with globalization, it is likely that they will continue to increase. What organizations should be aiming for is not decreasing the workflow of employees, but rather supporting them to work more efficiently and prioritize value adding work. Develop deep clarity about the Business Model that will be used A successful business model will focus on providing value to customers. This model will tell employees the goals of the organization and how their work contributes to the success of the group. It will explain clearly how the company is going to provide value for
customers, including the processes that will be used to reach the desired end result. For many organizations, however, the precise business model is only loosely defined or it is not highly valued by the group. When the leaders take the time to specifically outline the precise model that the company will be using, however, they empower their workers and give them concrete actions and goals. This helps to avoid wasted effort for projects and tasks that do not directly relate to the organization’s end goals. By developing a very clear business model that outlines priorities and tasks, employees and the leadership of the organization will be able to make better use of their time. This will lead to fewer projects and tasks being designated for after-hours, which will help everyone at the organization achieve better balance between their work lives and their private lives. Developing a strong business model should take into account several factors. According to Harvard Business School professor, Chris Christensen, a well developed business model will include four key criteria: UÊ UÊ UÊ UÊ
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Professional strategists agree that a strong business model will inform the choices that will be made to govern the organization and the outcomes of those choices. The business model should be well advertised so that every member of the organization can see what the goals are and understand how their work fits into the larger business. It may be a good idea, particularly at the implementation of a newly defined business model, to use time tracking to help employees monitor how they spend their time during work hours.
Time tracking can see how much effort and energy goes into tasks directly related to highest priorities as well as those that are not. This monitoring can help everyone better prioritize tasks aligned with the goals of the organization, leading to higher productivity and efficiency. STRATEGIC PACE Developing the right strategic pace can help organizations improve their productivity, too many organizations mistake operational speed for strategic pace. Operational speed refers simply to trying to get everything as quickly as possible, while strategic pace refers to analysing processes to see how to improve the value offered customers. Companies that take the time to slow down can see up to 40 percent more sales, demonstrating the immediate benefits that can be seen from employing strategic pace. Businesses that focus on developing strategic speed will target their efforts on three key areas: deep listening, open learning, and effective re-skilling. Having all the members of the company working together and aligned for success is essential. The organization’s leaders should focus on harnessing an environment where employees feel as though they can rely on each other so that there is no need for blame or competition within the group. There should be strong and solidified leadership that helps guide the group as a whole towards the goals of listening to customers and analysing how to improve the value the company has to offer. By slowing down, companies can help improve both the employee and customer experience. Employees will have opportunities to look back upon their recent actions and evaluate how the project went. This helps to improve the learning that can take place and give the employees the chance to improve before the next project begins. Employees will also be better able to understand how their work
fits in with the rest of the corporate goals and evaluate how their actions are lining up with the goals for the customer experience. As workers feel more secure in their positions and are able to work focused on value rather than speed, they will experience higher satisfaction and less stress. Without a primary priority of speed, actions that can hinder work-life balance, such as feeling a need to be corresponding and collaborating after hours or while on vacation, can be drastically reduced and even eliminated. The company will be better aligned towards their long term goals and making more money while also providing more genuine vacation and relaxation time for employees. COLLABORATIVE APPROACH When the employees in the organization understand how to properly collaborate, it can improve the workflow and help employees be more productive. When problems or challenges arise within a group that works well together, they are better equipped to develop their own solutions rather than going to senior management for answers. By being proactive, less time is wasted on the part of the employees because they do not have to wait for an official answer. The leaders of the company will also find that when their work is less interrupted by other tasks, they will also improve their productivity and be able to accomplish more within the given time frame. Creating an environment that encourages collaboration requires some actions on the part of the leadership. Employees must know that they are trusted to formulate their own solutions and to brainstorm ways to work together. This means that hires should be made to foster the right skills and evaluated to ensure that they will be a good fit for the team. Organizations can also take proactive steps to encourage relationships amongst employees. For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland built an indoor atrium in the new bank’s headquarters to encourage employees to stop, socialize, and bond with one another. Although smaller businesses might not have the resources for such a large project, developing a campus that encourages people to stay at work and interact with one another is a wonderful way to build camaraderie. Modelling collaborative behaviour is also critical. The Standard Chartered Bank has developed a strong reputation of collaboration within the senior management. Although the bank has a number of different locations, the executives understand each other’s roles and goals to such a degree that they can fill in for each other regularly on nearly any task. When employees see the collaboration among their superiors, they then feel more comfortable taking such initiatives themselves.
As collaboration helps to improve the productivity of employees, they will be able to meet their goals more efficiently while also feeling as though their input and tasks are valued by the team. This leads to improved satisfaction and better work-life balance. FIRM CORPORATE BOUNDARIES In the world of social media and smart devices, it is tempting for people to keep working even when they are not officially ‘on the clock.’ According to one survey, quoted by CNBC, as many as 91 percent of Americans admit to doing work-related tasks during their personal time. Whether it is answer email or reviewing documents for the big meeting tomorrow, these types of tasks detract from the ability of the employee to fully relax at home. This adds stress and limits time to unwind and spend their undivided attention with their loved ones. When employees never disconnect from their devices, they can also have the surprising dilemma of difficulties with prioritizing. When everyone is expected to be connected and available to address company concerns or client questions at all times, even long after dinner, everything becomes urgent. Similar to the problems that arise from an emphasis on operational speed rather than strategic pace, without identified priorities lists and ideas about how these particular areas contribute to the greater goals of the company, employees might actually get less valuable work accomplished. Several major brands have been recognized for their initiatives encouraged encouraging their employees to disconnect from their devices for at least a portion of the day. This includes technology companies such as Google and major international brands such as Volkswagen. By encouraging their employees to ignore their emails for at least part of the time off the clock, these companies are helping everyone give their attention to their personal responsibilities and relationships. The company workers then achieve a better work-life balance by leaving their work responsibilities at work and feel a better sense of relaxation and accomplishment in their personal lives. FLEXIBLE AND ALTERNATE WORK SCHEDULES The percentage of workers today who are caregivers for someone else in their household continues to grow. The family is also changing in other ways too. The number of children living in single parent homes continues to rise and the number of two parent families where both parents work remains high. These numbers can pose challenges for employees trying to blend work with the needs of their family, especially when family responsibilities, such as children’s illnesses or school obligations, arise. Organizations who can offer their employees flexible schedules and alternate schedules can
help improve their employees commitment to balance. For example, offering a single mother with school age children an 8-4 schedule might work better with the school day than a 9-5. Offering benefits such as telecommuting can also give employees the tools they need to better manage their time and responsibilities. By giving employees the ability to occasionally telecommute, employees will feel less conflict when it comes to choosing between their work and their families. With the various cloud technologies available, it has become possible for people to work on documents with other people, participate in workflows, access their work computers, and even hold live conferences with clients or coworkers. The technology allows employers to offer this option without having to decrease productivity or deal with excessive disruption. This can help improve employee satisfaction and their loyalty. Companies that offer these flexible scheduling options show their employees that they understand their struggles and value their time. Although workers would have flexibility, everyone would still be working during the core hours of the day, typically between 10 and 2, allowing for collaboration and teamwork. When employees feel less stressed and more balanced, their productivity increases during the hours they are on the job. Helping employees develop better work-life balance will help not only employees but also the organization as a whole. By keeping these five key points in mind, companies can begin to amend their strategy and improve their overall performance and employee satisfaction.
About the Author William Buist is owner of Abelard Collaborative Consultancy, and founder of the exclusive xTEN Club - an annual programme of strategic activities for small, exclusive groups of business owners. xTEN helps accelerate growth, harness opportunity, build your business and develop ideas. William is also author of two books: ‘At your fingertips’ and ‘The little book of mentoring’. Abelard-uk.com Williambuist.com Twitter: @Williambuist and @abelarduk
By Tej Kohli, Chairman of Kohli Ventures Global connectivity will drive the next wave of innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in the emerging markets Innovation drives civilisation. New technology is the catalyst for sweeping economic and cultural change. Consider the Archimedean screw, a simple pump that improved irrigation and helped boost food production, first in Mesopotamia and then in Egypt. The invention of the wheel around 6,000 years ago enabled farmers to distribute and sell their produce a few miles away, creating a wider market and rising prosperity. The transmission of new ideas is an essential part of innovation. The availability of printed papers and books with scientific observations and thoughts underpinned the flourishing of scientific discovery in Europe in the 15th and 16th Centuries. This was thanks to the printing press, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 that was able to print as many as 3,600 pages per day. Previously, books were laboriously handwritten products, making them very expensive and accessible to few people. Printing democratised ideas by making books more affordable to a far wider section of society and had a dramatic impact on culture, the economy and entrepreneurship. Scientific ideas could be disseminated, stimulating further research and exciting discoveries. It also helped spark the Age of Enlightenment, including ideas about human rights and democratic government. The provision of free education led to a growing literate population and the need for mass-market newspapers. Throughout the 1850s, telegraph lines multiplied, allowing news from far away regions to feed the growing hunger of this new literate demographic. By 1902 transoceanic cables encircled the globe, forming the bedrock of our information age. CONNECTED GLOBAL INTELLECT Fast-forward several decades and we come to what can be argued as one of the most important innovations to date: the 1989 invention of the World Wide Web, an interconnected system of computer networks, by Sir Tim Berners Lee. Through the Internet, free information is available to everyone. Before, only a relatively limited amount of information was available from a few well-resourced libraries – inaccessible to vast
swathes of humanity. This has now all changed. By the end of 2014 there will be almost 3 billion internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world, according to the International Telecommunications Union. The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally, of which 55% will be in the developing world. From Asian urban slums to the most remote rural communities in Zambia, people can access a wealth of information, boosting education and opportunity. For the first time in human history, the youth of today can access, acquire, process and control information. As Bill Gates succinctly put it: “The information highway is going to break down boundaries and may promote a world culture, or at least a sharing of activities and values…. This may strengthen cultural diversity and counter the tendency toward a single world culture.” The internet will have the most impact in emerging markets, which typically have younger populations than developed economies. They are home to 90% of the world’s under 30s; in India, for example, just over half the population is below the age of 25. The convergence of technologies, such as GPS and digital mapping, digital video and cellular mobile devices, linked by the internet, provides a wealth of new business opportunities in the rapidly expanding service economy. Tapping into this environment is a generation of young people in the emerging markets, nurtured in a virtual world that is as familiar to them as the real world. They represent a pool of talent that will become the entrepreneurial pioneers of the future. This combination of accessible information technology and a large young dynamic demographic is expected to be a major contributor to the success of emerging economies in the coming years with growth rates far outstripping Western developed nations. In a recent report, Euromonitor International predicts that emerging market economies will grow almost three times faster than developed ones, accounting for an average of 65% of global economic growth through to 2020.
To put the large number of young potentially talented people in emerging economies in context, India has enrolled a growing population of around 94 million university-aged students. This is the world’s largest student population and almost equivalent to the population of Japan. However, the country has one of the world’s lowest higher education enrolment ratios with only 17 million students in higher education. This will improve dramatically with time and grow to represent an enormous potential pool of talent. AN EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS FUTURE A large and growing middle class not only provides a market for sophisticated service based goods; it also produces large numbers of educated and skilled people – the entrepreneurs and technical and scientific experts who are tomorrow’s innovators. According to Ernst & Young, in Asia alone, 525 million people can already count themselves as ‘middle class’ – more than the European Union’s total population. This proportion looks set to more than triple to 1.7 billion by 2020, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. By 2030, Asia will be the home of 3 billion middle class people –10 times more than predicted for North America and five times more than Europe. Growth will also be significant in the rest of the emerging world. The middle class in Latin America is forecast to grow from 181 million to 313 million by 2030 and in Africa and the Middle East is expected to double from 137 million to 341 million. THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET’S MOBILE Developments in mobile internet technology will dramatically improve internet access in emerging economies and have an impact far greater than developed countries. Many emerging countries skipped analogue landlines and jumped straight to digital mobile communications. Kenya is the classic case in point, which has gone straight to the future with mobile payments, due to few people having access to bank accounts and poor road and rail infrastructure. The country’s M-Pesa mobile banking and payments system now has over half of country’s population on it or 17 million people. This uptake is far in advance of Western
Countries, where mobile payments are just beginning to take off. Indeed, The Economist has reported that it is easier to pay a taxi fare with a mobile in Nairobi than in New York, demonstrating just how advanced the nation is when it comes to mobile payments technology. Mobile is also going to serve as identity for the customers as technology is increasingly making it the most secure way to pay. Security systems developed for mobile devices combined with fingerprint technology ensure only authorized users initiate transactions. The next step in mobile internet technology, expected to arrive in two to three years’ time, is 5G, which will bring speeds of up to 800Gbps – an astonishing rate equivalent to downloading 33 HD films in a single second. Crucially, improvements in antennae technology delivering 5G mobile internet means that instead of the current large bulky base stations there will be small 5G base stations that can be attached to homes, lampposts, buildings and other structures. This is ideal for delivering high internet speeds in emerging economies, particularly in remote areas. It is likely, without the legacy of older infrastructure, the uptake of 5G will be quicker in emerging economies than developed economies. 5G will herald an opportunity for major jumps in innovative technology and new opportunities for business: for example, the switch from 2G to 3G and 4G made video streaming possible, the basis for many businesses such as Skype, Vimeo and YouTube. 5G’S BOOST FOR INNOVATION AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES 1. Speed – with speeds of up to 800 Gbps, an obvious benefit to business is the time and money that will be saved through using 5G technology 2. Mobility – we are already using mobility to transform every business process (not to mention how we live and play) and the introduction of 5G technology will only increase mobility further. For example, 5G will make it easier for staff to work from home or on the road. Not only does this improve efficiency, but spending less time commuting will make for a happier, healthier work force. 3. Reliability – Crucially, 5G technology will have the same reliability currently received through fibre connections. Latency will be greatly reduced, and advances in antenna technology promise to end sudden data
connection drop-outs, therefore no longer causing headaches for businesses.
and we have a network of global offices and experts to support budding entrepreneurs.
4. Innovation – 5G connectivity has the potential to spark innovation and pave the way for new, life-changing technologies. Think about it: video streaming using a platform like Netflix would not have been possibly using 2G technology, yet this form of entertainment has thrived under 4G.
The future tech business stars, equivalent to the Googles and Facebooks of the current world, are to be found in the unploughed fields of intellectual talent in the emerging economies. However, we are not just talking about clones of business models adapted to local markets, such as e-Bay and the Chinese equivalent, Alibaba. The onward march of the digital revolution, combined with connectivity and data transfer speeds far in advance of what we have now, will lead to a new burst of innovation; providing products and services beyond our imagination. It is in the fertile fields of emerging markets that these seeds of innovation will flourish.
5. Connectivity - the development of 5G will increase the number of inanimate objects that will communicate with businesses. Already heating systems, kitchen appliances and lighting can be connected to a wireless network. The Internet of Things, as it is branded, will become embedded into business life through the introduction of 5G technology. AN UNBEATABLE FORMULA FOR INNOVATION AND GROWTH This combination of accessible internet and youth will make emerging economy innovation and entrepreneurship unstoppable. Although from a developed economy, the story of the majority of entrepreneurs behind the tech business revolutions of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram provide a paradigm. Common factors behind their success are: youth, an average age of 23; access to technology and education, assisted by supportive middle class backgrounds; and flair and determination to develop simple solutions to complex problems.
Tej Kohli is Chairman of Kohli Ventures, a global venture capital firm with offices around the world, which is headquartered in London. kohliventures.com
It is the youth of emerging countries with rapidly expanding economies who have the cultural background and perception to realise the opportunities available to them. However, in order to seize this huge opportunity, access to capital for those operating in emerging markets is crucial. Finance from traditional banks tends to be limited to established companies and practically unavailable for start-ups. Even if it is available, the high interest rates charged or cost in terms of demands for equity in the business are too high. Crowdfunding is stepping in and playing an increasing role in funding. One example is a Beijing entrepreneur who used crowdfunding to develop and produce a portable device to measure air quality in the city. Venture capital is also playing an important role, often offering the advantage of sector specialists that are able to provide invaluable advice and not just capital for growth. This mentoring role is one that Kohli Ventures takes very seriously
comment Jul/Dec 2015
Staying Ahead So You Don’t Fall Behind By Steven Krupp and Charles Macdonald, Decision Strategies International
Victims of disruptive forces are among the last to notice. Businesses such as HMV, Comet, Jessop, Blackberry, Blockbuster and a number of global banks missed the threats to their survival. Leaders continued to operate with their heads down, ignoring signals that their business model was broken, that new competition was emerging and that customer tastes and habits were changing. In a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, leaders must focus on the future rather than getting stuck in the past. At HMV, the ability to adapt was in short supply. The music chain sold CDs and DVDs through its 200 outlets in Britain, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong until 2013. As consumers moved to streaming, management did not adjust. Online rivals like Spotify, in tune with preferences of young consumers, upended HMV’s retail model by offering a fixed monthly fee for unlimited music access. HMV entered administration in January 2013 having fallen from the top to off of the bottom of the charts. Like the leadership of many organisations, executives at HMV were not equipped to “win the long game”. Given the lifespan of most companies is less than 40 years, according to research by Arie de Geus, strategic leadership is more critical than ever before. Too many operationally oriented managers can only thrive in stable environments where they execute straightforward plans. In our current era of unprecedented uncertainty, leaders need to adapt their plans to changing circumstances. This requires seeing emerging patterns sooner and challenging the status quo. Yet strategic acumen is in short supply. According to Chief Executive magazine, seven out of 10 leaders are not considered strategic. Similar concerns raised by clients led us to ask: “How do we develop strategic leaders?” One problem is the lack of a clear definition. Strategic leadership as a concept is fuzzy and hard to grasp. One client said: “We want our people to think strategically, but we don’t know what that means in practice”. Another remarked: “You know it when you see it, but it is not clear how to develop this”.
To address the dilemma of defining and developing this skill, leaders can rely on the six disciplines of strategic thinking, as described in “Winning the Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape the Future.” Based on research with more than 30,000 executives from around the world and consulting with large global corporations, these abilities are essential for leaders to thrive in a VUCA environment. Each of these disciplines, and practical examples, are below. TRUE STRATEGIC THINKING REQUIRES LEADERS TO: Anticipate by staying ahead of developing patterns of change. To do this, leaders must recognise forces of change that may impact their business. It requires an outside-in view, with close attention to the moves of customers, partners, regulators and competitors, so they can be proactive rather than reactive. The best anticipators, such as Sir Richard Branson, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alibaba’s Jack Ma, excel at spotting unmet market needs and figuring out how to serve them profitably. Instead of focusing on what is directly ahead, they look for game-changing insights at the periphery of their industry. Elon Musk exemplifies anticipation. As a founder of PayPal, he helped invent the digitalpayment system that revolutionised purchasing. He then started Tesla Motors in 2003 because he saw opportunities in automotive technology and distribution before others. He believed electric cars could be fast, stylish and of a high calibre. In February 2014, the Model S became the first US car ever to receive a ‘best overall’ rating by Consumer Reports, for its “blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling, compliant ride and versatile cabin”. Believing Tesla could be a winner for consumers and investors, he looked outside the industry at other business models. He bypassed the typical automobile dealer system to sell directly to consumers, and hired the designer of Apple’s stores to create Tesla’s showroom. To reduce cost through his supply chain, he added battery manufacturing to his enterprise.
The lesson is to think nonconventionally about the future: UÊ `iÌvÞÊvÀViÃÊÕÌÃ`iÊvÊÞÕÀÊ`ÕÃÌÀÞÊ that could disrupt or create opportunities. UÊ -ÌÕ`ÞÊÃÌ>ÀÌÕ«ÃÊ>`ÊÌÀ>`Ì>ÊÊ competitors to examine moves that puzzle you. What do they see that you don’t? Challenge the assumptions of the status quo that others take for granted. Strategic leaders challenge old ways of doing things and encourage contrarian views. Jeff Bezos at Amazon explicitly creates a culture of challenge so people do not rest in their comfort zones. He recognises the need for diverse input when tackling novel problems. Similarly, Hala Moddelmog, former president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, surrounds herself with people of different perspectives, backgrounds and ethnicity. “You don’t need another you,” she says. Sir Richard Branson has challenged one industry after another. He takes on giants who have become complacent. He said, “I don’t go into ventures to make a fortune. I do it because I’m not satisfied with the way others are doing business”. This was the case when he launched Virgin Atlantic to take on British Airways. It was an uphill battle convincing Directors that a record label executive could succeed in the airline industry. He believed passionately that he could improve the customer experience, and Virgin went on to redefine “high value” and “high end”. Virgin Atlantic now operates domestic flights in the UK, has an alliance with Delta and flies to the US as well as many global cities in Asia and Africa. These moves reflect Virgin’s ability to remain open to new opportunities. To challenge better: UÊ ÃÌiÀÊVÃÌÀÕVÌÛiÊ`iL>ÌiÊÌÊ«ÀÌiÊ candid dialogue and creative friction. UÊ 1ÃiÊ`iÛ½ÃÊ>`ÛV>ÌiÃÊÌÊ>iÊÌ iÊ case against the prevailing view.
Interpret a wide array of data instead of looking only for evidence that confirms prior beliefs. Strategic leaders compare and contrast data points and test multiple hypotheses before arriving at conclusions.
stayed true to their first decision to listen to customers. By 2011 they were the bestselling smoothies in Europe and by 2013 were 90 percent owned by Coca-Cola. When itâ€™s time to decide, remember:
In 2009, J D Wetherspoonâ€™s chain of more than 800 pubs in the UK faced declining sales. Demand for beer was down, price pressure was intense and higher alcohol taxes were squeezing margins. How would you have analysed the problem? Most saw this as a sales issue with a need for new marketing. However, when leaders looked deeply at the data, and stepped back to interpret the situation from multiple angles, they found a different root cause: a subtle but significant shift in consumer preferences. Wetherspoonâ€™s CEO Tim Martin had a history of breaking ground and challenging assumptions. In 2006 he banned smoking throughout the chain. He now took bold action, transforming all pubs into family-friendly cafes during day hours. They were the first to serve food all day, including breakfast, which was groundbreaking at the time. Success followed as sales, earnings and pubs continued to expand. When trying to make objective interpretations: UĂŠ -i>Ă€VÂ…ĂŠvÂœĂ€ĂŠ`ÂˆĂƒVÂœÂ˜vÂˆĂ€Â“ÂˆÂ˜}ĂŠiĂ›Âˆ`iÂ˜ViĂŠĂŒÂ…>ĂŒĂŠ might disprove your hypothesis; invite outsiders to expand perspectives. UĂŠ ÂœĂŒĂŠ`ÂœĂœÂ˜ĂŠĂžÂœĂ•Ă€ĂŠ>ĂƒĂƒĂ•Â“ÂŤĂŒÂˆÂœÂ˜ĂƒĂŠ>LÂœĂ•ĂŒĂŠ customer behaviour, and then actually observe them in action. DECIDE AFTER EXAMINING MULTIPLE OPTIONS. Strategic leaders have the discipline to review alternatives based on clear criteria. They balance speed with rigour so they do not fall prey to analysis paralysis or getting bogged down in search of complete consensus. As Margaret Thatcher said, â€œYou canâ€™t lead from the crowdâ€?. The food and drinks company Innocent all started with an amusing but telling application of exploring options. According to founders Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright, who met at Cambridge: â€œWe started Innocent in 1999 after selling our smoothies at a music festival. We put up a big sign asking people if they thought we should give up our jobs to make smoothies, and put a bin saying â€˜Yesâ€™ and a bin saying â€˜Noâ€™ in front of the stall. Then we got people to vote with their empties. At the end of the weekend, the â€˜Yesâ€™ bin was full, so we resigned from our jobs the next day and got crackingâ€?. Clearly they chose this option based on direct consumer input, but this took courage. They went on to make bold decisions based on further experiments, including exploring channels from sandwich bars and cafes to Waitrose supermarket. Through it all, they
UĂŠ Â?Ăœ>ĂžĂƒĂŠVÂœÂ˜ĂƒÂˆ`iĂ€ĂŠĂƒiĂ›iĂ€>Â?ĂŠÂœÂŤĂŒÂˆÂœÂ˜ĂƒÂ°ĂŠ Review and weigh these based on clear criteria such as customer feedback. UĂŠ >Ă›iĂŠĂŒÂ…iĂŠVÂœĂ•Ă€>}iĂŠĂŒÂœĂŠÂ“>ÂŽiĂŠÂ˜ÂœÂ˜Â‡ conventional decisions rather than following the tried and true. Align the interests of stakeholders based on understanding their distinct views. Strategic leaders gain buy-in from people with divergent agendas in pursuit of a shared objective. This requires open dialogue to appreciate and address misalignment. Whole Foods rallies stakeholders around three principles â€“ shared purpose, stakeholder interdependence and team ownership in pursuit of the mission: healthy food for the planet. Founder John Mackey believes common interests pull constituents together. Everyone is focused on the customer experience. Suppliers are screened to ensure they share their values. Employees buy-in to the mission. Produce teams are their own profit centres and make their own decisions about pricing, promotion and product mix as well as hiring and firing team members. This requires high levels of transparency, dialogue and engagement. Although they have not been as successful in the UK, they are the most profitable food retailer in the US, with revenues of $13 billion and a share price that has increased about three thousand percent since 1992. Sir Alex Ferguson provides a different example for aligning a team. Despite his reputation as a tough guy, the legendary Manchester United coach invested hugely in understanding his players, and focusing them more on the team than on themselves. He understood that honest conversations, support and feedback were critical given the egos and vulnerabilities of young stars. Despite his own pressures, Sir Alex made time to talk with players and they prospered from it. To align your team: UĂŠ ÂˆĂƒĂŒiÂ˜ĂŠÂ“ÂœĂ€iĂŠĂŒÂ…>Â˜ĂŠĂžÂœĂ•ĂŠĂŒ>Â?ÂŽĂŠ>Â˜`ĂŠ>ĂƒÂŽĂŠ questions to pinpoint differences. UĂŠ >ÂŤĂŠĂƒĂŒ>ÂŽiÂ…ÂœÂ?`iĂ€ĂƒĂŠÂ“ÂœĂƒĂŒĂŠ>vviVĂŒi`ĂŠ by your plans and find out their interests to inform your strategy.
on trying things and know mistakes come with the territory. They attend to what did and did not work and apply lessons to their next effort. Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, often tells how she grew up with an appreciation of learning from failure because her father would ask, â€œWhat have you failed at this week?â€? His message was that failure was not trying versus getting a bad outcome, which allowed her to be much freer in â€œspreading her wingsâ€?. Branson is another poster child for spreading wings, celebrating failure and being resilient. As he has said, â€œLearn from failure. If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture wasnâ€™t a success, welcome to the club!â€? In 2011, Virgin Media partnered with THECUBE, a collaborative workspace with a diverse set of innovators to brainstorm new product ideas suited for digital entertainment of the future. The idea was to stimulate experimentation for the benefit of Virgin as well as the broader hi-tech community in East Londonâ€™s â€œSilicon Roundaboutâ€?. This type of partnership for joint learning and experimentation has since been adopted in Barclayâ€™s Accelerator program that invites financial services entrepreneurs to develop new technology and solutions. It is not only entrepreneurs who have a quest for learning. Any strategic leader seeking to transform their team or business should: UĂŠ /Ă€ĂžĂŠÂ˜iĂœĂŠÂœÂŤĂŒÂˆÂœÂ˜ĂƒĂŠĂœÂˆĂŒÂ…ĂŠ`ÂˆĂ›iĂ€ĂƒiĂŠVÂœÂ? laborators for fresh insights. UĂŠ ÂœÂ˜`Ă•VĂŒĂŠ>vĂŒiĂ€Â‡>VĂŒÂˆÂœÂ˜ĂŠĂ€iĂ›ÂˆiĂœĂƒĂŠĂŒÂœĂŠĂƒÂ…ÂˆÂ˜iĂŠ>ĂŠ light on mistakes as a source of learning. The most successful leaders employ theses disciplines of strategic thinking to set a clear, compelling vision. When mastered and used in concert, these six disciplines also enable leaders to be future focused, stay ahead of the change curve and adapt their direction as conditions change. The ideas and some of the examples in this article were adapted from â€œWinning the Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape the Futureâ€? by Steven Krupp and Paul J.H. Schoemaker, published 8th January 2015 by PublicAffairs, ÂŁ18.00. Krupp is CEO and Macdonald is a Principal in the London office of Decision Strategies International, a consulting and training firm specializing in leadership development and strategy formulation. Visit www.decisionstrat.com.
Learn through experiments, little bets and mining lessons from success and failure. Strategic leaders are entrepreneurial, curious and eager to learn from interactions with customers, partners, suppliers and competitors. They thrive
How the app economy can maintain relevance in a changing digital landscape By Adam Croxen, Managing Director of Future Platforms
Since the launch of the App Store and Android Market (now Google Play) in 2008, mobile applications have blossomed in their popularity to establish an economy worth several billion pounds. Mobile hardware and software has advanced astonishingly in that time, but with download figures in decline and the market now saturated with third-party apps, the prolonged relevance of the app economy rests on its ability to redefine its purposes and maintain concurrence with the evolving digital landscape. AN EVOLVING MARKETPLACE With over £6 billion spent on the App Store in 2013 and the top 200 apps on Google Play generating around £7.5 million a day, it’s a highly lucrative industry. Yet despite being entrenched in consumer consciousness, apps are declining in popularity when evaluated by download frequency. A Deloitte report from August highlighted that 31% of UK smartphone users fail to download an app in a typical month, while almost 90% of those surveyed said they never spend money on apps or smartphone content. Overall, average monthly app downloads by a user have dropped from 2.32 in 2013 to 1.82 this year. As users gain more familiarity with their device they develop a key suite of apps to return to for entertainment, utility and information, resulting in fewer downloads over time. It would be misguided to solely brand this as apathy however, as it’s important to also consider the increased amount of consolidation that is now prevalent in apps. Navigating around London I would previously use separate apps for the Tube, bus timetables, and National Rail, while today I use Citymapper for everything. Services such as Google Now are attempting to replace the roles of several apps at once, and Apple’s Passbook gives users somewhere to store varying pieces of information that would
typically require separate apps. Being able to access flight reservations, event tickets, train times and weather from within Passbook or Google Now begins to weaken the justification for having more apps on your device. The app market in its current state has matured greatly from previous iterations, and rather than a wealth of apps filling various different roles there are now bigger players offering powerful multi-functional solutions like Citymapper, Google Now, and Flipboard. We are still seeing some brilliant projects from smaller companies and start-ups, but these are often rapidly acquired by the bigger names once they begin to generate traction. As proven by WhatsApp and Summly, new and exciting apps can still have a role to play and flourish individually, but their eventual acquisitions by Facebook and Yahoo respectively are indicative of a larger trend. Given the difficulty of building and maintaining widespread interest in apps, the largest names in tech are attempting to literally buy into what’s current in order to maintain relevance. SATISFYING CONSUMER DESIRES Given the maturing nature of the market and the increased understanding and expectations of mobile by end users, we are seeing the absolute necessity for apps to have true longevity and genuine purpose in order to maintain relevance. In terms of apps serving as an access vehicle to external products and services, the outlook is incredibly promising. The viability of people buying products through apps (multichannel/online retail) continues to grow, mobile penetration is stronger, and companies like Domino’s Pizza, Net-A-Porter and Amazon are making it increasingly comfortable for users to make purchases with their mobile devices. Domino’s, a bricks-and-mortar pizza delivery
service, process over £4.3 million worth of orders through their mobile apps each week. Their network of ordering solutions across phone, online, mobile devices and even the Xbox One allows them to match their services to customers with great convenience and at the most opportune moment. The extent to which mobile can tap into these consumer desires and contract the period of “actual gratification is indicative of its power, and several brands are illustrating that success comes from perfectly matching the user with the “moment” they are in. Uber’s use of mobile to connect users with nearby taxis when they most need them is one such example, while a partnership between Argos and delivery service Shutl lets users check stock levels and have items delivered the very same day. The shortening of delivery times with concepts such as Amazon Prime and the aforementioned Shutl allows users to obtain a product or service at any time of day, regardless of their present or future location. Effectively bringing this functionality to mobile is of critical importance, and the techniques of Amazon and Argos represent the best way to accommodate this insatiable consumer demand. THE INCREASING CONVERGENCE OF ONLINE AND OFFLINE Mobile’s vast expansion into pre-digital era situations like hailing a taxi or ordering a pizza has naturally sparked a debate around whether we should be taking a mobile-first approach to everything. And while Uber are one of a number of companies excellently blurring the lines between digital and physical, I think the next area of interest concerns developments around mobile enabling the ongoing success of traditional entities. It’s significant that we are using mobile and its apps as a primary port of call, but it should not negate the opportunity for it to supplement and augment the
in-store experience. With the ascension of digital there has been far greater offline/ online confluence in the retail sector, with the concept of click-and-collect and more directly, the implementation of in-store technology. In the era of mass information and big data, mobile and apps have a significant role to play in providing specific interest groups with bespoke packages of highly relevant content. Clearly, the app economy is an area poised to benefit richly from technological developments around beacons, micro-location services and wearable technology, particularly given the increasing priority placed on mobile solutions by traditional retailers. Burberry are a shining example of this, having technologically revamped their flagship Regent Street store last year. Garments are fitted with radio tags that trigger interactive videos detailing product information and accompanying items, while online purchase history and customer preferences further feed into the data that Burberry store assistants have on their tablet devices to aid shoppers. Navigating the store is a wholly integrated experience, with powerful mobile technology bringing the brand’s timeless products to life, right in front of the customer.
Beacon technology, where small, strategically placed Bluetooth devices can communicate information with nearby smartphones and tablets has also seen a rise to prominence. House of Fraser have been experimenting with beacons to create interactive mannequins, which can give shoppers about the clothes or outfits they’re looking at. Waitrose meanwhile have trialled the technology to push bespoke locationbased offers for their customers, based on the aisle they’re shopping in or their purchase history. In-store WiFi, seen in John Lewis, holds dual purpose as both a service offering and a powerful data collection tool, allowing retailers to learn more about the online behaviour of their customers while in store. Companies can learn what customers are searching for, how they’re searching for it, and if they’re ultimately using it to inform their in-store purchases or indeed make them online instead. MATCHING DEMAND AND TARGETING PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE SUCCESS The growing demand to use mobile for traditional and non-traditional purposes enforces the necessity to develop services across all platforms and operating systems. Delivering a consistent service as users traverse seamlessly between their devices has enabled the burgeoning success of Netflix and Spotify, and is a model to emulate in all industries.
There are notable inconsistencies in patterns across user bases, but it proves sensible at all times to cater for those using Android, iOS and Windows Phone/Tablet. Cross-platform app building technologies such as our own Kirin are already making this possible, and are having a knock-on effect with the consumer. Users expect services to be accessible and consistent regardless of the platform they’re using, and in a crowded market where word of mouth is the best accelerator of success, it’s essential to not alienate large groups. Mobile will continue to be a pervasive, omnipresent platform, and as such it is imperative that successful apps serve a strong purpose, have prolonged usefulness, and are centric to the brand. There are far too many who try to build an app before the rest of their mobile experience is right, and having a well-designed, effective mobile website should be considered first. It’s important that the justification for building an app is not that everyone else might have one, but because it is filling a genuine need for your business or customers and in turn enhancing, expanding and improving the overall experience. Apps and mobile solutions that continue to do this will long have an instrumental role to play in driving future development of the wider digital landscape, a landscape set to place mobile at the very centre.
international Jul/Dec 2015
‘New Period of Civilisation/ Dubai’s Cultural Evolution By Kiran Gill When I first visited Dubai on holiday in 2007 it was hard to see beyond the vast array of shiny glass buildings. Several years on, and after moving to Dubai to work for Brash, I have subsequently had the chance to discover what lies beyond Dubai’s shimmering towers. The city is a different place from the one I visited seven years ago and its development is still very much ongoing. Dubai polarises people - for some it represents the perfect life, and for others it lacks substance. It’s a young place and you get the feeling it is still finding itself. Since the recession, there seems to have been a significant shift. Dubai is increasingly becoming a tourist destination as well as a business hub and it makes sense for the city to invest in its cultural future now. Not satisfied with being famous for its real estate and shopping malls Dubai is wisely setting its cultural sights way beyond that of its current status as a retail paradise. There’s also an opportunity at present for Dubai to rebrand itself and leverage its rich history. Dubai doesn’t promote its history like, for example, London does. There’s certainly potential for it to change perceptions and surprise people with more investment in the promotion of its heritage. The narrative of Dubai’s history and development is an important story for the city to continue to tell particularly because of its transient population. Currently, Dubai’s expat social life is based largely around its many restaurants, bars and clubs. A more diversified cultural offering can only be a great thing both for brand Dubai and its growing tourism economy. There are cultural activities to do here but you have to seek them out. Participation needs to be encouraged if Dubai is to cultivate its arts audience.
There is definitely an acknowledgement of the role that the arts can play, and an appreciation of the value they can offer to a young city. The new Opera District, under development by Emaar, will feature a 2000-seat Opera House Downtown Dubai and a Gallery of Modern Art. The venue will be part of the new arts and culture district and will accommodate opera, theatre, concerts and art exhibitions. The number of public art works has increased over the past few years and Art Dubai, the city’s equivalent of London’s Frieze Art Fair, continues to grow in stature supported by private and government sponsorship. Dubai’s design district fosters the growth of its blossoming design and fashion industries and the proliferation of the ‘Made in Dubai’ tag is fast becoming a reality. The design district, situated close to the city’s financial district, will house cutting edge industrial, product, graphic and digital design talent. Fashion houses, galleries and art destinations provide a platform for the city’s creatives and promote the sector’s development. In terms of a theatrical landscape, there’ll be challenges ahead: establishing a loyal, local theatre audience in such a transient place will be difficult, but this is balanced against a healthy flow of tourists in and out of the city. Cultural sensitivities may present difficult territory to navigate for visiting artists used to more liberal environments. Initially the productions commissioned are likely to favour repertoire with broad commercial appeal. It remains to be seen how tightly the state will control the reins on experimental or politically charged drama.
surprisingly hard to know where to go and what to see. It’s these kinds of things you take for granted in cities like London or New York, but they are important spokes in the cultural wheel. A more well rounded arts community will, hopefully develop over time. Sheikh Mohammed is the driving force behind this blossoming celebration of culture. He has stated, “The UAE will not only be a transfer point between east and west, but will also be the new economic centre of the world... And we will also be the economic, touristic and cultural capital for more than 2 billion people around us.” There is a genuine ambition where culture is concerned, and that commitment is coming right from the top. Because of its position in the region, and globally, Dubai is well poised to support a fantastically curated world arts stage. An indigenous arts scene to rival that of Europe’s will not happen overnight, but if Sheikh Mohammed’s past achievements are anything to go by, his green light for the arts sector is a hugely exciting prospect. His endorsement of the arts could mark him out as a real impresario of the future and put his sparkling city on the cultural map. Kiran Gill is head of client services for Brash. With over a decade’s international experience in integrated marketing, client relationship management and business development, she moved to Dubai just under a year ago.
Dubai will need to nurture a 360-degree arts ecosystem. At present arts criticism still seems to be in a nascent state, making it
insight Jul/Dec 2015
Personal asset protection – a chink in the armour? By Barry O’Neil, Managing Director, Allianz.
High net worth (HNW) individuals keep a close eye on the performance of their investments – but do they scrutinise the protection of their personal assets as closely? Barry O’Neill, Managing Director of Home & Legacy believes that just as high risk investments should sound alarm bells, underinsurance or the wrong kind of cover for one’s personal assets should register as potential issues. Research suggests that as many as 40% of HNW individuals may be neglecting their personal asset protection. Ironically, the service solution which would allow them to protect and enjoy these assets may be closer and easier to access than they imagine. HNW people are often as passionate about their interests outside the world of investment as they are about their business interests. It might be fine art, jewellery, stamp collecting – the common factor from our perspective is that building up a portfolio requires particular attention to how it’s covered. This is where there’s a key distinction between general insurance brokers and specialist insurance brokers. General insurance might involve multiple policies for multiple items – separate policies for each property and separate policies for each vehicle. Anyone who has ever trawled internet sites in search of competitive deals knows how time-consuming this is. If you have a substantial hourly charging rate, your time in renewing these policies starts to add up. The difference with a specialist insurer broker like our Home & Legacy team is that we take a holistic view of an individual’s portfolio. That means one policy for multiple properties, in the UK and abroad. One deal for all the vehicles the individual owns. Suddenly the burden of reinsurance is lifted. The single premium may also be lower than the total of separate premiums.
A specialist insurance broker will also take a keen interest in understanding their client’s interests – if they have a collection of fine art, has it been valued recently? If disaster strikes and the collection is destroyed, £100,000 of insurance will cover exactly that – not a penny more, even if the value of the collection has risen to £300,000 since the insurance contract started. It’s also important to know that a collection of relatively low-value items may well add up to a significant amount – this is a very different insurance challenge to a small collection of high value items. Working with a specialist gives you access to the expertise of valuers who may have a few surprises in store about the worth of your property. Trends in art, jewellery, wine and sports memorabilia may mean that the value of a collection may rise or fall significantly over a relatively short period. This should be reflected in the appropriate cover, but too often insurance is based on out-of-date assessments. A good insurer will also work with the client to understand how they are looking after their collection. Are items kept at home or in a bank? If jewellery is worn at events, how often does that happen and what are the circumstances? If a client has a collection of valuable cigars, are they being kept at the appropriate temperature and humidity? If there is a valuable piece of artwork on display, is it securely attached to the wall or held by a single nail? (This actually was the case in a collector’s home for a multi-million pound painting!) Once the insurer understands all of these factors, the premium can be adjusted to give the client the best possible cover at an attractive price. Another consideration is multiple safes at a property. In the event of a break in, a householder would then be able to take the thieves to a safe containing low-value items – how many thieves would guess at more than one safe in a property?
A little-known fact about standard household insurance is that it penalises you for being a good client. For example, if you have an alarm system at home, you’re clearly a lower risk to an insurer than someone without an alarm system. But if you inadvertently fail to set the alarm on the one occasion the burglars strike, your cover may be invalid. The advantage of a specialist household policy like ours is that it works on a warranty-free basis. We don’t penalise you for a being a good client. We work with our clients to understand their lifestyle, their property and how their property is managed. It’s a lower burden in terms of proving the circumstances of the loss. In the event of a major loss, the policy operates as the client expects it to. It’s for these reasons that our net promoter score (a way of measuring how likely clients are to recommend an insurer to friends or family) is a remarkable 65 points on a rolling basis over the last 12 months. The criteria for the score include the ease of presenting a claim, the quality of response and satisfaction with how the claim was settled. When it comes to claims, the ‘shop window’ for the insurance industry, we make sure our customers deal with the same handler from our in- house team from notification until settlement. We also make sure that we settle all claims within one working day of receiving all the necessary documentation. Our claims handlers are experienced at making the process as painless as possible for the customer, whether they are dealing with the policy holder themselves or a trusted intermediary. The high net worth insurance market is constantly evolving, as the type of client continues to change. It’s interesting to note that when the Sunday Times rich list began in 1989, around two thirds of those
listed had inherited their wealth. Now around 80% of those listed are ‘self-made’. However, an evolving client profile works well with Home & Legacy’s approach anyway, because we look at each case individually. Rather than thinking of which Home & Legacy product the client would fit, we’d think of the client’s needs and tailor a policy that suits their situation. That’s where having a panel of insurers with different appetites for risk comes in useful. With innovations in technology, the routes to market are evolving. So, we’re constantly improving the ways both insurance brokers and direct customers can get quotes from us. In 2012, we launched our aggregator strategy and were one of the first high net worth home providers whose products featured on a price comparison site. The economic crisis of recent years had an interesting effect on the high net worth insurance market. A study on home insurance published in 2012 revealed a 41% increase in the number of high net worth providers between 2008 and 2012. Many brokers on the market noticed that the uncertainty encouraged the wealthy to protect their assets even more. Hence the growing number of providers on the market. The number of high net worth individuals is also growing. For example, in 2011 WealthInsight estimated there were 675,000 high net worth individuals in the UK and predicted this will rise to 774,000 by next year (2015). This is an area where we’re committed to growing our business and I’m excited about the opportunities available to us in the coming years. OUR BACKGROUND Established in 1995, Home & Legacy is one of the leading providers of high net worth insurance in the UK. We’re best known for our range of home insurance, but we also provide bespoke motor insurance, building works insurance and a range of landlord policies. We offer our clients a range of home insurance policies, all of which are inclusive, nonrestrictive and starting at an extremely high level of cover. We include the types of cover that people with impressive homes, possessions and lifestyles are going to be interested in - all risks, worldwide cover; generous sums insured limits, often no onerous security warranties and a wealth of additional benefits. Our policies for the ultra-high net worth market are top rated according to the industry standard (defaqto). Home & Legacy has a unique way of working, in that we work with a panel of leading insurers and Lloyd’s brokers to underwrite our policies. This helps us cover even the bespoke and unusual risks our customers occasionally present us with and ultimately helps to keep our prices competitive.
But in this market, the thing that really sets you apart from the competition is service. So that’s why we were pleased to maintain our top 5 position in the Insurance Times broker service survey of personal lines providers at the end of 2013. When it comes to claims, the ‘shop window’ for the insurance industry, we make sure our customers deal with the same handler from our in-house team from notification until settlement. We also make sure that we settle all claims within one working day of receiving all the necessary documentation. Since Barry became the Managing Director of Home & Legacy in 2007, the business has doubled in size and become one of the top 5 specialist providers of high net worth insurance in the UK market. In the last year, Barry’s key business successes have included establishing Home & Legacy’s new Ultimate Home policy that caters for customers at the very top end of the ultra-high net market. The launch of Ultimate Home has consolidated Home & Legacy’s position in the market. In terms of personal successes, Barry does not shy away from a challenge. He is keen on adventure, so the last year has seen him walk the three highest peaks in the UK (Scafell Pike, Snowden and Ben Nevis) in preparation for completing the Inca Trail and arriving in Machu Picchu. In addition, we could see more structural changes take place. There is also the potential for the way we ‘attend’ university to transform because of e-learning or for the demand for graduates with even “sought-after” degrees such as engineering to drop because of, for example, automation. In short, widespread university attendance could well be just a short to medium term trend. Or it could be here to stay. This uncertainty is why the ‘guaranteed’ rental yield offered by many of these developers is troubling. Examples abound of investors being burned in such instances where ‘sure things’ turn out to be anything but. In recent history, the dot.com bubble is a classic example of this. Those who eschewed technology investment towards the end of the 1990’s and argued, Cassandra-like, that normal investment criteria and valuation methodologies such as price-to-earnings ratio should still be applicable were ignored. But of course, it was the cautious who proved correct. When thinking about investment, it’s important to apply the rules of common sense. If something appears too good to be true, it usually is. In that case, if we apply the time principle, then the time to buy was before the frenzy of purchasing that prefaced the dot.com boom. As in fashion, once a trend has gone mainstream, the real experts are already exploring the next big thing, which is why a good investment manager
sets great store by the identification of future trends and, of course, finding ways to offset risk should bubbles begin to form, and burst. DIVERSIFICATION Diversification of investments is almost universally viewed as one of the most important things investors can do to ensure that an investment achieves its long term aims and is protected against undue risk. In the vernacular, this means not putting all your eggs in one basket. And again, key to the subject is understanding risk, which comes in two main forms. The first is undiversifiable or systematic risk – and as the name suggests, it will rear its head when large systems change. This is associated with every company and is caused by macro issues such as inflation rates, interest rates, exchange rates and political instability. It’s not something which will affect only one company or industry; should, say, Britain go to war, the whole of the UK market will be affected. The second type of risk is diversifiable risk. This is linked to specific companies, industries and countries and can be reduced through investing in lots of different areas. An example of this is Macondo oil spill 2010, (please check year) that led to a significant fall in the share price of blue-chip company, BP, and the suspension of its dividend. Better yet, the clever investor further reduces risk by investing in areas which might react differently to the same economic fluctuations, in short, putting them in a win-win situation. To take a tongue in cheek example, the person who has invested in the UK tourist industry might be delighted when gloomy economic conditions in the UK means a boom in ‘staycations’. He’ll be less pleased, however, when the economy picks up and everyone has much more cash to spend on trips abroad. Unless, of course, he’s invested in a low-cost airline too, and therefore is set to benefit, whatever the state of the economy. The principle of diversification can also be used to lessen the impact of systematic risk. To take a crude example, if Joe Bloggs invests in both country A, and country B, and then Country A declares war on Country B, he’s not going to see his funds plummet as he has a stake in either winner. Diversification also applies when it comes to types of investment. A mixture of high, low, and medium risk assets is likely to deliver the best return on investment as it allows the investor to enjoy the potential high-yields of the riskier areas, while enjoying the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race reliability of more low-risk investments. Seek advice wisely.
comment Jul/Dec 2015
Where does personal lifestyle concierge fit in a fast-paced world of instant information. By Alex Cheatle, founder and CEO, Ten Group In the last 12 months alone, our concierge service has booked thousands of rooms at the world’s most luxurious hotels, secured 200,000 reservations at London’s most in-demand restaurants and ensured our members have gained unprecedented access to the top sporting, musical and cultural events. However, it didn’t begin like this. Back in 1998 when our personal concierge operation got off the ground we were the first company providing such a service in the UK, if not the world. With the full game-changing impact of the internet yet to take hold and the advent of smart phones years away, our primary focus had been simply to save time in our members busy schedules. On call around the clock, 365 days a year, we organised everything from sourcing domestic staff in Notting Hill and securing last-minute tables at the latest must-visit restaurant to finding elephants for Sikh weddings and arranging a flight in a Harrier Jump Jet. As we approached the millennium, it became apparent that our lifestyle concierge service was more than simply a time-saving device – we had become a vital tool in our members’ day-to-day lives, organising everything from the mundane to the sublime. Fast-forward 16 years – whizzing past the launch of the iPhone and the Blackberry, the mass utilisation of the internet and the most severe recession since the Great Depression – and the industry is booming. Many people predicted that the dawn of instant information and the economic downturn would spell the death of lifestyle concierge; in fact, it had the opposite effect. The real power of lifestyle concierge is its specialism. Sure, anyone can Google ‘best restaurants in New York’ on their mobile phone or tablet and read through reams of reviews, but how about speaking with a restaurant expert based in Manhattan who dines out at least three times a week and can not only secure you a table at city’s current hotspot but will organise a complimentary glass of champagne
on arrival? We quickly realised that to continue our success in the luxury market we’d need to recruit and train bright, passionate specialists to deal with members’ complex demands. Today, our highly responsive lifestyle managers take time to understand each member’s needs, then use their industry know-how and contacts, plus the combined experience of more than two million requests, to deliver great results – faster and often cheaper than if the member had acted alone. Across the industry, the role of lifestyle management has turned into a serious, valued profession and when spread globally and connected via a single knowledge management system, the network of expertise afforded to our members is unmatched. This simply isn’t something that the latest handheld gadget can bring to someone’s life. The member demographic for most lifestyle concierge firms is fairy standardised – they are wealthy, busy and successful individuals with a desire to get the most out of life, whether that’s socially, at home, when travelling or in the workplace. Despite their wealth, they still appreciate value for money and that’s where a concierge company’s buying power comes in. Through our network of trusted suppliers we can fulfil requests faster and cheaper than the general public. For example, we work closely with almost all of the UK’s leading ticketing companies to ensure that our members have unprecedented access to tickets for major gigs, theatre productions and sporting events. Members don’t need to sit on the phone for hours listening to hold music – they simply let us know what tickets they want and we secure them from our private inventory. This model works across the board, with more than 5,000 the world’s top restaurants offering our members complimentary drinks, courses and priority booking, five-star hotels arranging free breakfasts and room upgrades and luxury fashion brands offering private views of their latest collections and front row seats to catwalk shows.
The added value provided by lifestyle concierge firms has been recognised by global corporations and financial institutions as an important tool in increasing customer retention levels, improving customer satisfaction and developing positive brand association. Since 2002, when we first started working with Coutts, we have become an important strategic partner for many of the world’s top financial institutions and a large proportion of our membership receive Ten’s concierge services via their bank account. This is an increasing trend, particularly in emerging markets where financial groups and luxury brands compete to attract the region’s high-net-worth individuals. In the last 10 years, we’ve grown at a phenomenal rate and now have 15 global offices, with China, Latin America and Australasia at the forefront of the expansion. With hubs in every continent, our global reach extends to more than 120 countries and our lifestyle managers speak more than 24 languages, which allows us to talk to 95 per cent of the world’s high-net-worth individuals in a language in which they are fluent. As the wealthy become increasingly mobile, this global reach is a crucial differentiator between the benefit of lifestyle concierge and any other form of personal assistance – even an executive’s trusty PA – with whom we often work hand-in-hand. Ten’s deep understanding of different cultures and languages means that when a member travels or relocates anywhere in the world they will have access to expert local knowledge, with native lifestyle managers on hand to recommend restaurants off the tourist trail, organise and book complex travel itineraries or simply aid with translation. Building an expansive global footprint is key to a lifestyle concierge firm’s success. In recent years, many small boutique services have emerged which specialise in the city in which they are based but offer little coverage outside of this location.
A new world order – implications for bond investors By Paul Brain, Investment Leader at Newton Investment Management Bond-investing pension funds are contending with a number of significant concerns. Among these are worries about the escalating sovereign debt crisis in Europe (and the associated risk of defaults), the debasement of currencies, the potential inflationary effects of quantitative easing, and the credit quality of bond markets supposed previously to have been ‘risk-free’. Fixed-income investors are asking how best to deal with such concerns. We believe that interest rates in the majority of debt-laden Western economies will not rise in the immediate future, that in relative terms the currencies of debtladen countries are similarly challenged and, furthermore, that there is still sufficient time to address and resolve concerns over sovereign debt. We recognise, however, that financial market conditions are subject to dramatic upheaval, and we believe that bond investors with long-term objectives should benefit by: 1. ‘Going global’ in a deleveraging world 2. Adopting an absolute-return approach 3. Diversifying exposure using dynamic asset allocation GOING GLOBAL IN A DELEVERAGING WORLD In the aftermath of the global credit crisis, the ‘stable’ environment, which investors had enjoyed in the two decades before the crisis, has changed radically. Whether the trough in bond yields in 2008 heralded a structural reversal in bond investors’ fortunes cannot be deduced with any certainty. However, we believe it is clearer than ever in the post-creditcrisis world that economic activity, as well as the demand for, and the supply of, bonds, are driven by global trends. In evaluating opportunities and risks in bond markets, it is appropriate, therefore, to use a process that is global in orientation, and which harnesses those trends. After years of coordinated monetary and fiscal policies around the world, different countries are now adopting different approaches to tackling the government debt crisis. There is a clear divergence, for example, between
approaches in several of the indebted western economies and those in the ‘east’ (excluding Japan) and emerging markets. A period of divergence in relation to monetary and fiscal policy, inflation and credit conditions between economies seems almost certain to lie ahead. There are a number of developed (and developing) markets (such as Australia, Sweden, Norway, Canada and Denmark) which have improving credit stories (in relation to the G4 countries), and which present the opportunity to generate positive returns in a global growth context, particularly given the scope, in many cases, for further currency appreciation versus the ‘big three’ currencies (the US dollar, euro and Japanese yen). We believe that diversified exposure to these different themes is an attractive way to reduce domestic risk, and provides investors with a range of solutions. ADOPTING AN ABSOLUTE-RETURN APPROACH As well as advocating global bond investing, we believe that investors should consider adopting an absolute-return approach, which does not mirror or track any bond index, and which has the flexibility to move between regions and asset classes, as appropriate to an investor’s objectives. The global credit crisis changed the background for fixed-income investors radically: short-term interest rates were cut to unprecedented lows and government debt levels rose to historic highs. In the aftermath of the economic downturn, a rise in interest rates (which may be required as part of an effort to combat inflation) could eventually create a ‘bear’ market in bonds.
There are several ways in which investors may limit capital losses in an environment of rising interest rates. For example, if interest-rate expectations are mounting, use of derivatives to offset the risk of higher rates should be beneficial. Such a strategy need not be complicated and need not cover an entire investment portfolio; buying put options on government bonds, for instance, can be an effective way to generate positive returns from falling bond prices. Alternatively, adding holdings of high-yield corporate bonds may allow investors to benefit from an asset class that tends to do well during times of strong economic growth. Whichever approach investors take in seeking to limit capital losses, we believe their priority should be to keep their strategy simple and liquid in order to provide adequate protection of capital in the event that markets become unstable. Our particular rationale for an absolute-return approach is grounded in a fundamental characteristic of bond index composition: bond indices are based on market capitalisation, so the greater the volume of issuance, the heavier the index weighting. The bond index investor is forced, therefore, to buy increasing amounts of the bonds of those countries that are issuing large volumes of debt, and is thereby locked into these countries’ declining credit story. As governments face financial difficulties, they will often have to issue more debt, thus becoming a larger constituent of a bond index. A benchmark, or index-orientated, approach will entail an investor holding more of the debt of such issuers, in circumstances when they should not necessarily do so. We believe that indices should be used as a reference tool to help define the range of an investor’s opportunities, not slavishly as a means to establish the parameters of portfolio construction.
As most investors hold bonds for their scope to protect capital and income, bear markets in bonds can be especially painful (and usually unexpected). There are two ways in which bond investors may lose capital: through default, and via rising interest rates. During the global credit crisis, investors experienced some of the former; they may now be vulnerable to the latter.
Why invest in wine? With low interest rates, high net worth investors are increasingly looking at more lucrative sources of investment and are attracted to diversification of one form or another as a hedge against inflation. Relative scarcity and demand drive collectible investment markets and fine wine fits the bill as an investment solution. It’s a classic collectible asset as well as being a passion. And crucially there’s a new service www.wineowners.com on the market that puts you in the driving seat when it comes to wine investment, but more of that later. First of all, what are the characteristics of collectible alternative investment classes and when do they become perfect candidates for diversification? THIS HAPPENS CHIEFLY WHERE: 1/ Markets are globalizing 2/ Supply is limited 3/ Markets are transparent Whilst wine is considered a relatively risky category, due to lack of regulation and volatility, long-term returns can be very good. As personal wealth increases, wines that might have been solely considered an investment at purchase can also be consumed in future as perceptions of affordability change. As long as a collector is not treated as a trader in wine by HMRC, gains can be realised free of capital gains tax. WHAT MAKES INVESTING IN WINE DIFFERENT? Fine wine differs from stocks and shares in that it doesn’t produce an income and is not fungible. In that regard it’s similar to other collectible pleasures such as such as art, stamps, coins and classic cars. Fungible means ‘interchangeable’. For example, cash is fungible; one £20 note having equivalence with any other note of the same value. Pure gold is also fungible, a gram being interchangeable with any other gram. In contrast, diamonds are not perfectly fungible because varying cuts, colors, grades, and sizes make it difficult to find many diamonds that are exactly alike. Big raw diamonds are worth considerably more than small cut stones. A global market will nonetheless exist and thrive irrespective of whether an asset class is fungible. The shortage and demand for quality fine wines are more significant drivers of value appreciation than anything else, as illustrated by the fine art market.
WHAT ARE THE INVESTMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE? Traditionally there were three options available for wine investors. UÊ iVÌÀÃÊÌÞ«V>ÞÊ >ÛiÊÀi>ÌÃ «ÃÊ with several wine merchants, spreading their business between them and increasing the chances of receiving the allocations of the most sought-after wines. UÊ ÀiÀÃÊ>VÌÊ>ÃÊ>ÊÀiÃ>iÊV >iÊvÀÊ stockholders and a source of wines from the secondary market, although brokers will also supply wines that come directly from the producer via established channels of distribution. UÊ 7iÊvÕ`ÃÊvviÀÊÌ iÊ«ÕÀiÊÛiÃÌÀÊ>ÊÜ>ÞÊ to buy into a pooled portfolio, typically with a 4-5 year exit, subject to annual management charges and one off exit charges of up to 20% of the realised upside. Just like in traditional investment management where online platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown (or E*TRADE in the USA) offer private investors all the information and tools to be able to take control of their wealth management decisions, there’s a new service that promises the same benefits for fine wine. Founded by a collector and with heavyweight backing, Wine Owners combines fullyfledged portfolio management along with a huge market pricing database spanning 150,000 wines that shows the level at which a wine represents fair value. WHAT’S MORE MEMBERS CAN SEE CRITICS reviews and scores for a given wine - akin to equity analyst reports – and check out producer information including data on how much is actually produced each year. These management tools are integrated with a trading exchange containing millions of pounds worth of fine wine, giving members the option of buying, selling or bidding. An online trading exchange should be considered a supplementary buying channel, since merchant relationships and access to primary market fine wine allocations are irreplaceable.
The fine wine market has lagged far behind other many other sectors that invested in online self-service and portfolio management tools. Wine Owners has just changed all that, enabling private collectors or investors to make properly informed decisions with a platform purpose-built for their needs. WHAT WINES ARE CONSIDERED INVESTIBLE? The largest fine wine market is red Bordeaux. Estates are large and therefore there is real depth of supply in markets such as Lafite, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc (First Growths). However, with the globalisation of this market and the emergence of China, the immensely wealthy elite started buying in the big names in the noughties – first growth Bordeaux in particular - driving prices inexorably higher and culminating in an investment bubble. In the summer of 2011 it dutifully burst, and the price of first growth purchases fell back down towards Earth. This has led some investors to reappraise the role of red Bordeaux, and especially the First Growths, within their portfolio. Whereas before 2008 top red Bordeaux might have accounted for 90-95%+ of all wine investments, these days diversification is seen by some as much more important as a hedge against volatility. At the other end of the spectrum top burgundy is truly scarce. A large Bordeaux estate such as Latour might be the equivalent of a whole village appellation in Burgundy where hundreds of producers vie to produce the greatest wines from the finest Grand Cru plots of land drawn up in the 19th century and officially classified in the 1930s. Extreme scarcity and overwhelming global demand for wines by Domaine de La Romanee Conti, Rousseau, Roumier, de Vogue etc. have made top Burgundy a consistently good bet. Whether those wines will continue to appreciate remains to be seen, but most investors continue to believe in their longterm prospects. A new generation of young, gifted winemakers who are taking over family domaines and transforming quality are akin to ‘emerging markets’ opportunities.
The exchange model opens up more possibilities; such as placing open bids for wines not in the market that triggers a search to match the bid with wines that other collectors may already own and be prepared to sell.
Entrepreneurship: Digital disruption in the legal industry Mark Edwards, General Manager at www.rocketlawyer.co.uk, an online legal service providing businesses and families with easy-to-use, professional legal documents and affordable help from specialist lawyers.
The world around us is changing and the way we do things has transformed over the past few years. Thanks to the internet, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, we are now able to access almost anything we need or want and almost without any geographical boundaries. Many service industries, from high-street shopping to travel have modernised in the process and now the legal industry is transforming too, revolutionising the way people seek legal advice and manage their legal affairs forever. We know that access to the current legal system is daunting and expensive. This is particularly true for start-ups and small businesses, many of whom don’t actually get the help they need because of the perceived cost of legal fees and complexity involved. Up till now, the failure of the legal industry to modernise and move with the times has meant that many new companies have fallen at the first legal hurdle when starting up. But the legal landscape is changing fast, especially with the introduction of technology to the industry by innovators like www.rocketlawyer.co.uk, an online legal service providing businesses with easy-to-use, professional legal documents and affordable help from specialist lawyers. Originating from San Francisco and backed by Google Ventures, Rocket Lawyer are the most widely used legal service in the world, with tens of millions of users around the globe, and they have been helping businesses with their legal issues in the UK since 2012 from their base in Shoreditch, London.
Such online legal services are a prime example of digital disruption in the legal industry – they are exactly what entrepreneurs and small businesses have been waiting for, and bring legal services in line at last with other service industries that have been providing online access for a number of years. We know about half of people looking for legal help and advice go online first, so where better to provide a one-stop legal solution than via the web. The great news about the new wave of online legal services is that they are able to reduce legal costs significantly whilst simplifying the law in the process, and they help the busy business owner manage legal affairs much more efficiently and conveniently. Innovation breeds entrepreneurship. By simplifying the law and providing an affordable solution to legal matters, this once very traditional industry can help to get modern Britain booming again. But it is important to spend a bit of time doing the research to make sure your choice of online legal service provider is both credible and trustworthy. Look at the types of legal documents they allow you to create, are they sufficient for the growing needs of your business? Have all the legal documents available actually been drafted initially by fully qualified lawyers who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority? If not, you are putting your business at great risk. Additionally, does the service offer direct contact with a lawyer should you require further legal advice, or a customer service team member for technical support? These are the types of questions you should be asking.
A company like Rocket Lawyer that specialises in legal help for start-ups and small businesses is a great place to start. Not only is there independent online guidance and advice to take both first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs through the basics with confidence, but also the breadth of legal documents available to create are vast yet tailored to the needs of a small business. You can create everything from shareholder and partnership agreements to employment contracts and health and safety policies. Making sure you have solid legal footing from the start will prevent you from falling into common legal issues later down the line, and ensure that you are complying with the latest laws. You can also easily ask an On Call lawyer a question at any time if you need further advice. Membership costs £25 per month and includes unlimited legal documents, 30 minute free consultations with specialist lawyers and up to 33% off additional legal fees. There is also a one-week free trial available for entrepreneurs and businesses. The internet enables companies like Rocket Lawyer to use a freemium model so people can road-test the service to ensure it’s what they need and only pay if they find it useful. This helps to make legal services more affordable, and you can’t get more affordable than free. We all know that business and finances are tough but at least it is reassuring to know that finally, legal issues need not be a concern for your business, or your finances for that matter, all thanks to the internet.
The changing face of retirement By Bob Champion, Board Member at ILAG It used to be so simple: You finished education, started a job and worked until you reached 65. You had a leaving party, everybody was very nice about you, you received a carriage clock and sailed gently off into retirement. You spent your days gardening, took the occasional holiday in the UK, then you died. But expectations of the time-formerly-knownas-retirement have drastically changed over the last couple of decades. No longer is it seen as the time where life starts to wind-down, as a generation of baby-boomers reaches 65 in ever-better health and greater life expectancy. Your 60s are now likely to include a ‘fun’ activity period, perhaps the chance to experience a second youth and recent findings by the Office for National Statistics* that people entering retirement are the happiest of any age group, back this up. With the associated costs involved in funding this new period of activity, as well as the increasingly likelihood of care costs in your older old age, it is more important than ever to consider financial planning to ensure your savings and investments are set up properly so they can provide for this new reality. So how exactly is retirement changing, and what can people transitioning into retirement in the next few years expect? While before it would have been easy to identify someone in retirement, there is now no typical definition of the state of retirement. Some people will spend their time traveling, setting up a business or learning a new skill, and the experience will vary greatly from person to person. The determining factor in all of this will often be what someone can afford. Add to this already varied picture the unprecedented amount of regulatory change that has happened regarding pensions over the last couple of years, and it is hard for those approaching retirement to truly know the position they are in and what lifestyle they can afford to lead. One of the key reasons why retirement for
the baby boomer generation and beyond will look so different (and cost more) to previous generations is the increase in life expectancy. Better public health and lifestyle choices (among many other factors) now mean that the amount of time they are in retirement is likely to be longer than their predecessors. Half of all 65 year olds today will still be alive when they are 85. In 1971 a male aged 60 could be expected to live a further 15.3 years, but today a male aged 70 could be expected to live a further 14.2 years. Does this make 70 the new 60, and if so, how does this affect someone moving into the retirement space? To put this into context, if the male state pension age of 65 had been linked to longevity in 1971, today the state pension age would be 73. One of the impacts of having a longer life is that the age at which people are actually retiring is gradually increasing. In fact, it has been predicted that in a couple of years’ time the number of 65-68 year olds remaining in work will exceed those out of work. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean full time employees who have chosen to continue in their current field: there are many people who have chosen to transition into retirement by working part time, changing jobs or setting up their own business (which of course requires money). So how much do you need to save to fund this ‘new retirement’? Imagine a car journey from the south coast of England to Scotland, if you can afford a top of the range executive car it’s going to be a luxurious journey. If you can afford a sturdy family car, it’s going to be a comfortable journey. If you can only afford a small and basic car, it’s going to get a bit tough. But, if you don’t have any money for a car and rely on your state bus pass to get you there, it’s not going to be enjoyable at all! This is the perfect analogy for retirement savings. In short, the more you save the better (and more comfortable) your journey will be. Obviously the amount that is needed to fund retirement is entirely dependent on the
individual and the type of lifestyle they desire. However, some recent legal changes that affect pension income are worth considering. The first of these changes is to the state pension provision. Although the state pension is not enough to fund an extravagant or even slightly adventurous retirement, it is still an important part of financial planning for later life. From 2016, the current tiered state pension scheme will be replaced with a flat rate plan, meaning that in principle, everyone will receive the same income regardless of their gender and income background (subject to a few exceptions). Another alteration that is worth considering for anyone who will be approaching retirement in the next decade is the changing age at which one qualifies for the state pension. From 2020 this will go up to 66 and by 2028 it will be 67, after this it will become linked to longevity. As previously mentioned, if this link had already been in place the current state pension age would be significantly higher than it is today. Another thought for those who are currently planning their retirement is the changing value of inheritance. For many there is an expectation that they will receive an inheritance that will help boost their wealth. With life expectancy on the rise, any inheritance income is likely to be delivered later in retirement than it has been for previous generations. Additionally the inheritance tax threshold has been frozen until 2016, meaning it will no longer rise in line with inflation. In real terms this means that the threshold will be the lowest it has been since the mid-1990s. Add to this the significant increase in house prices expected over the next three years, and it’s likely a number of people are going to be hit with an inheritance tax bill, which they had not accounted for. In fact, increasing longevity and the cost of care may actually remove any prospect of inheritance completely for many future retirees, as elderly parents use the equity in their homes to pay for care costs.
Similarly to this current, aging population, the increasing likelihood of incurring care costs in later life is another area that needs to be addressed seriously by those approaching retirement. As with many of the other factors discussed this is intrinsically linked to increasing life expectancy. A quarter of males aged 65 are expected to spend at least six months in a care home before they die. Additionally from 2016, those with more than £118,000 in assets (including their house) will have to pay for any care costs up to the value of £72,000. Although it is expensive, limiting the cost to £72,000 does help give savers an idea of how much they will need to fund care. However, it is slightly misleading as any ‘hotel costs’ such as accommodation and food are not included in the cap and these costs will rise the longer someone stays in care. The illustration below briefly demonstrates when wealth will be required during the newlook retirement. After funding the ‘fun’ period, retirees are likely to move into a lower-cost sedentary period before requiring income to cover any care costs that may be needed. With all these considerations in mind, how should someone plan to fund their retirement? The first thing to realise is that when it comes to retirement now, it’s not all about a pension. People should consider utilising other tax efficient methods of savings to boost their income. Many people will use property for income and if someone has a significant amount of money saved in an ISA it could be worth drawing on this early into retirement to reduce inheritance tax liabilities later on. When the time is right to utilise pension savings, it is important for those who have gathered a decent pot of money not to immediately jump to an annuity (where a pension pot is exchanged for a fixed income), especially if 70 is indeed the new 60. As annuity rates are determined by various economic market factors, the size of someone’s pot, and an
individual’s predicted longevity, the rate offered to someone entering retirement now is unlikely to be great. The age at which someone choses to buy an annuity will be dependent on their situation, attitude to risk and market conditions. Additionally, as soon as an annuity has been purchased, the pension is no longer part of that person’s estate, meaning when they die their pension savings will not be left behind for their beneficiaries. It is therefore worth considering other options. For example, a managed portfolio of investments held over 20 years could potentially return more than an annuity would. If a pension pot of a considerable size is available, those entering retirement may also wish to consider either capped or flexible drawdown, if their scheme allows it. This enables savers to take their tax free lump sum and a regular income, but keep their pot invested so it can continue to grow tax free. This solution clearly allows greater opportunities for pensioners, but may be unsuitable for those who are strongly risk averse, as whilst money is still invested it could potentially decline in value as well as rise. What is clear is that there is no longer a simple, defined picture of what retirement looks like; there is a minefield of options to review. Individuals are likely to have different dreams and plans, over and above the traditional image of a ‘retirement’ and will certainly incur different costs. What is critical now is that those approaching retirement need not only to consider saving for the ‘fun’ period in their early retirement, but also for the costs they may incur towards the end of their life. Seeking the help of a financial adviser is an important step for those considering their current position and where they would like to get to. Similarly to the work/retirement split, the lines of traditional advice are also becoming blurred and it is more important than ever to realise that good financial advice is for the whole of your life, not just for retirement. A professional adviser will be able to help determine the most efficient solution based on your situation.
Christophe Mianné i-MAGAZINE sits down with Christoph Mianné, Deputy head of Corporate and Investment Banking at Société Générale S.A
The world of finance is often accused of being cut off from economic realities, of having lost all sense of moderation. Do market activities still play a role of intermediation within the real economy?
Of course! More than ever. However, the manner of this intermediation is undergoing profound change. Banks stand at the crossroads between corporates and investors and allow the need of one player to be facilitated by another. Corporates have a constant need to find investors. But a large majority don’t know how to find them for a range of reasons: either they are too small, or the investors aren’t to be found in France, for example. The financial “intermediation” role is therefore key, all the more so as companies and investors don’t necessarily want the same thing, given the complex relationship between supply and demand: investors may, for example, be looking for a 5-year investment while the corporate is looking for ten. A corporate may also want to finance a much larger project than the market is willing to allow. In these situations, banks assume a role which “smoothes” the constraints of both sides and fills the gap between supply and demand. They may, for example, even decide to commit their own funds to the deal. Beyond bringing companies and investors together, the main role of banks and financial market institutions is to act as a first port of call on financing issues: how to issue debt, shares, increase share capital. We advise companies on the most appropriate financing mechanism in each instance.
The other accusation often thrown at the world of finance and the banking sector in general is that they no longer really fulfil their corporate financing role. Are these critics to be believed?
One of the consequences of the new banking regulations, Basel 3 in particular, has been to make capital and liquidity scarce resources for banks, thereby limiting banks’ use of their balance sheets to finance the economy. Similar to what has been happening in the US for a long time, where companies are essentially financed by the markets, European companies will have to increasingly turn to the markets, a trend that we support thanks to our expertise and our knowledge of the bond markets and of more structured financing, such as project financing. The issue now is the ability of European banks, in this constrained environment, to see off competition from US and UK banks. And yet Europe needs European leaders, because we know, and we have seen this over the past few years, that foreign banks can pull back to their home markets in the event of a market shock. An increasing number of CEOs of major companies are expressing concerns to us regarding the reduced presence of European banks in the financial markets, and the impact on corporate financing. Were this trend to continue it could further slow investment in France, and could entail a risk that Europe could be left without access to the markets and hence to financing at the first sign of difficulty. In any event, it will become the norm for all companies, large groups and SMEs, listed and unlisted, to tap the financial markets. It is up to us to help them. We can estimate that in the future 2/3 of financing will be from the markets and 1/3 from banks, whereas at present banks tend to finance lots of corporate fundraising themselves.
Have these reforms led to internal debates within banks regarding the changing responsibilities and businesses of banks?
us from the US. Our role is to educate issuers on these new forms of financing, knowing that all banks are taking the same approach. As regards to new banking businesses, our intermediation role leads us, for example, to promote to potential investors the characteristics, opportunities and risks associated with a project undertaken by a company. We have also developed over the past number of years significant risk management expertise: credit, foreign exchange, interest rate, commodity price risk, etc.
In light of recent banking history, are companies showing renewed confidence in banks with regard to financial risk management?
It is now simply not an option for a company making a margin of 1 to 2% on its turnover to not hedge interest rate risk, especially if it sells in the United States. What is obvious when considering an airline company, which is highly affected by euro/dollar fluctuations, is also true for oil companies for example. Certain companies are likely to see their profitability affected as a result of inadequate hedging of this risk. Whether it is an oil company looking for a three-year hedge against foreign exchange risk or an airline company looking for a one-year hedge against a commodity price surge (kerosene), it takes an expert to offer solutions to manage these risks. This is one of the pillars of our market activities. In tandem with this risk management, banks finally play an advisory role regarding the management of investor savings. There are relatively simple financial tools that, for example, enable investment in the US tech sector without incurring any foreign exchange risk. It is also possible to invest in emerging markets without being exposed to local currency fluctuations. All these banking changes and developments also have the benefit of requiring a lot of people, from back-office IT to statutory auditors. A further reason for keeping the decision-making centres in France.
All these issues largely relate to Corporate and Investment Banking. The origination teams that could previously approve on-balance sheet financing now advise companies to tap the markets. This also offers advantages for companies: whereas in the past it was only possible to finance a project on-balance sheet, it is now possible to issue what we call project bonds. An investor buys the cash flows associated with a project, whether it involves the construction of a motorway, an airport or the development of a new molecule in the pharmaceutical sector. This is a practice that comes to i-MAGAZINE 129
The high Priest of advertising on how the industry can ADAPT By Ian Priest, President of the IPA
The IPA is the professional body for advertising, media and marketing communications agencies in the United Kingdom. Their role is two-fold: to provide essential core support services to its 300 agency members who are key players in the UK’s £16.7bn advertising, media and marketing communications industry; and to act as the industry spokesperson and thought leader. Ian Priest, Founding Partner of VCCP and International Managing Director of Chime took over as President of the IPA in April this year. During his inaugural speech, Priest referred to the Advertising Association’s recent summit, where the link between a healthy advertising industry and a healthy economy was highlighted. It is something he is keen to push forward during his two-year presidency. In order to succeed in his ambition to move advertising into a new era of what he calls ‘Commercial Creativity’, Priest talked to various people within the industry in order to gather opinion on the forces that drive it. Three themes came out of those discussions: the need to be commercial, be creative and be able to adapt. Says Priest “we all recognise that clients want us for creativity, but more than that, they want us for our commercial creativity – creativity that demonstrably adds value to their businesses – which, in return, adds value to ours”. Indeed, the IPA Databank is full of numerous examples of this ‘Commercial Creativity’ but Priest believes the message should be continually reinforced to clients, their boards and the wider community so that the advertising industry can continue to grow its position at the creative end of commerce and reinforce the returns on investments. According to Priest this is nothing new. “It goes back to David Ogilvy’s mantra ‘we sell, or else’. However, what is new is the world we now live in, and the need to adapt and evolve what we do and how we do it to meet the challenges and opportunities of modern advertising”.
Thus, Priest’s vision sees the dawn of a new era of ‘Commercial Creativity’ whereby agencies and clients work together towards a new ‘commercial creative contract’. The contract envisages shared responsibility, a trusting relationship between clients and agencies and big ambition. Moreover, he believes the best way to move forwards within the industry is to work as a collective and this can only come if senior clients share in the process. Therefore, the idea of a ‘Client Council’ was born – to help shape a common future. The wider environment and the economy – especially in times of austerity – is putting pressure on the industry as a whole to focus more on the commercial side of creativity. One member of the newly formed Client Council, Andy Fennell, Global CMO, Diageo put it this way: “Creativity and commerciality should be bedfellows in times of austerity. It is during the tough times that I need to be more commercially creative, when there is less resource around. My brands live or die by this”. So what exactly does Ian Priest propose to do to make advertising a more commercially creative space? He says “My idea is to run a series of initiatives focused around participative events – hackathons - in conjunction with the experiential agency, Imagination, where clients and agencies come together and follow an evidence-based format that highlights a common ‘enemy’ that both parties want to change or adapt. We are calling them ‘ADAPTATHONS’TM. Clients and agencies will be invited to experiment with new ways of doing things –both on the day and across a 100 day period thereafter”. The areas Priest specifically wants to focus on during his two-year tenure will come under five headings: Alliances, Diversification, Agility, Profit and Talent – forming the acronym: ADAPT.
aim here is to promote better, bolder and ideally longer relationships that, in turn, will produce better work and better commercial returns for both parties. Diversification will be the focus of the second ‘ADAPTATHONTM’. Priest points to Sir John Hegarty’s continuous championing of the creative idea. However, he also, wisely perhaps, states that creativity doesn’t just reside in the agency’s creative department and end in the deliverable of adverts. It applies to the whole commercial process and its various constituent parts. Says Priest: “We don’t have the monopoly on creative ideas or the media that delivers them – teenagers in bedrooms up and down the country are changing that. What we do have, however, is our professional expertise and commercial experience to understand how to reach consumers, engage with them and ultimately involve them in conversations. We need to diversify and adapt our deliverables to meet these new and exciting opportunities”. Agility – the third letter of the ADAPT acronym – will home in on rapid response decision making based on a shared understanding of the innovation and creative process. He sights the recent Oreo Superbowl coup as a prime example: “The Oreo Superbowl live advert is a perfect example of how an agency and client can work together to create live content and immediate fame”. Profit – the letter ‘P’ in ADAPT – aims to drive growth and profit for both clients and agencies. Agency business and remuneration models have long been a bone of contention. Priest feels it is time to move this debate along, with the help and involvement of clients’ procurement and marketing departments. While he accepts that one formula does not fit all, there is a sustained appetite to evolve the current remuneration practice and is already under intense discussion.
The first ‘ADAPTATHON TM’ will deal with Alliances. The most critical alliance is the one between agencies and clients. The i-MAGAZINE 131
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i-MAGAZINE sat down with Stephanie Phair, President of The OUTNET
Having studied philosophy at Oxford University to working in a parallel universe of sorts, in fashion, do you apply philosophy in your own work or business practices?
While I don’t apply it directly, I would say it gives you great discipline to take a step back and think through all angles to solve a problem.
How did you get into fashion? Particularly the OUTNET?
After university all I wanted to do was move to New York, as I thought it would be a great place to start my career. I was interviewing at banks, but in the end, I landed at a PR agency, then Issey Miyake, where creativity drives the message. I spent three years in marketing and public relations for US Vogue before joining Protero, which was a start-up at that time – this provided great experience before I moved to THE OUTNET.COM to launch and run it.
I understand with PR you (or your team) are always chasing down avenues in which your clients can have in input on some form of media, generally, do you find this challenging hence rewarding or stressful at all?
PR can be stressful but ultimately this is why it’s so important to feel passionate about the clients you represent. All of our clients are talented in their own right, brilliant innovators, exceptional business minds, inspiring individuals whose stories deserve to be told.
What are you most passionate about? Both in your business and in your personal life.
Travel – I take any opportunity I can to travel. I get as much enjoyment from planning a trip as I do from going on it. Gone are the days when I could be completely spontaneous. I love a city break as much as a trip to visit indigenous cultures in Borneo. If you are fortunate enough to get the opportunity to live abroad, grab it with both hands. After university I moved to New York for 10 years. This was a big game-changer for me on both a personal and professional level. I love immersing myself in different cultures and I am without a doubt the person I am today because of my experiences overseas. Travel is something that inspires me and gets me up in the morning.
Can you tell us a little bit about the OUTNET brand? It’s history etc.
Since its launch in April 2009, THE OUTNET.COM has established itself as the chic online destination for the global, style-conscious shopper. With offices in London and New York, THE OUTNET.COM is able to offer luxury service in a discount world – and, thanks to our Customer Care team, in 15 languages! We also ship to 170 countries, with same-day delivery available in London and New York. 85% of our stock came directly from NET-A-PORTER when we first launched, but now most is bought directly from the brands. It is our relationships with these brands that elevates us as a business and sets us apart from the rest of the industry.
This has enabled us to be part of some great brand collaborations including Oscar de la Renta and Issa, as well as the 17 designers – including Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Chloé and Roland Mouret – that featured in THE OUTNET.COM’s 5th birthday collection last year. Most recently, we partnered with Victoria Beckham for a charity sale in aid of mothers2mothers, and Temperley London on an edit fronted by Liberty Ross. We also created an exclusive jewelry collection for the holiday season featuring seven designers ranging from Dannijo and Kenneth Jay Lane to Monica Vinader just before Christmas.
Who are the OUTNET’S customers?
THE OUTNET.COM is the first stop for independently minded, economically savvy women who have a strong sense of style. They are not obsessed with wearing the latest of everything and prefer tap into trends that suit their personal style. THE OUTNET.COM gives them premium designer looks at affordable prices. .
Where can you see the brand in five to ten years?
As an amazing destination for fantastic fashion from top designer brands, which has been really well curated.
Describe your typical working day?
My days usually involve a lot of meetings with senior managers from PR, Marketing, Buying, Creative and Finance departments. I also travel to meet with our designers who we source our products directly from. I tell them all about the exciting developments happening at THE OUTNET.COM. In September 2012, THE OUTNET.COM launched Iris & Ink, its own label of trend-led wardrobe essentials. We’re currently working on the spring/summer 2016 collection and so I’ll spend an hour reviewing early sketches and mood boards with the respective teams.
Developing a top trusted award winning brand. By Lynda Thomas, Interim CEO at Macmillan
A brand is not just your name, logo or advertising, it is how people think and feel about you. Your brand exists in your customers’ heads and shaped by their experience of you and the emotional connection that results. A brand is a promise - get it right and a brand will elevate you above your competitors and engage your customers. I have been part of an amazing journey at Macmillan Cancer Support, helping to transform our brand over the past eight years into one of the UKs most trusted charities, enabling us to reach far more people, deepen relationships and dramatically increase our influence. But like all successful brands we have had to adapt and develop over that time. In 2006 we were 28th in spontaneous awareness amongst all charities and only 1% of respondents got our name right. For those who were aware of our existence, understanding of the range of support services we offered was extremely limited and there was little sense of urgency for financial support or understanding of the ways to get involved. So we needed to radically rethink our approach. What and how you communicate visually and verbally are only part of your brand strategy. The building blocks should be about what you do, why it matters, what service you deliver your customers, your unique selling point (how are you different to your competitors) and increasingly ways for customers to interact with you. These brand elements form the backbone for developing specific, clear and consistent messages as well as driving the customer experience. By 2004/5 we were facing some significant challenges as a brand. As well as the misconceptions that we dealt solely with end of life nursing care, rather than offering a range of support services for everyone affected by cancer from diagnosis onwards, there were some even more fundamental challenges. The nature of cancer was changing, more people were being diagnosed but more were surviving or living longer with it too, and so cancer care was evolving. We needed to look at things differently to ensure our customer could relate to our brand and as part of our strategy took the decision to rebrand.
So we redefined what we were in the world to do, and developed our services in line with that. We wanted to be a brand that was for everyone affected by cancer, and to bring it out of hospitals and live in the everyday world. We increased our campaigning and became bolder and more assertive. We took the decision to invest in customer insight during a period when many other charities were responding to economic challenges by scaling back. We changed our brand identity but we also changed our name from Macmillan Cancer ‘Relief’ to ‘Support’. And we made substantial changes to our tone of voice – making it warmer, more accessible, more straight forward, less corporate. It is important to constantly listen, understand and respond to the needs of your customers. We did and our strategy was a success. The new approach took our brand from 28th to 5th place in terms of spontaneous awareness amongst all charities and we won numerous awards. However no matter whether a rebrand is right for your situation or not, no brand should be complacent and evolution is necessary to remain a relevant brand. You need to respond to changing external factors and trends and be aware of competitor activity too. Early in 2014 Macmillan refreshed its brand identity to further reflect the changing cancer story and shift to a more open and frank way people talk about cancer. The refreshed identity is being rolled out across new fundraising products and innovative new services. Our strategy is working. Macmillan has evolved to become a dynamic brand which is sector leading and award winning. Last year we were named the leading charity brand by the two sector polls and consistently top a brand attributes survey which centres on qualities the public associates with their ideal charity. We are also proving ourselves against other household names, recently shortlisted to the top 20 Brands of the Year by the Marketing Society. Earlier this year we came ninth in a poll on brand storytelling, above names including M&S, John Lewis and Facebook. Our ‘No One Should Face Cancer Alone’
campaign was sixth in Top Ten ads 2013 (Campaign) only just beaten by brands like Sainsbury’s and John Lewis Christmas ads. The strength of our brand is deeply rooted in the very powerful and consistent experiences that we deliver. We are reaching more people affected by cancer every year and in 2013 helped a record 5.2M people and our spectrum of services were used 9.08M times. We are confident there is further potential to build our brand, to inspire and engage a far wider audience than ever before. This is essential as the number of people living with cancer is predicted to double to 4M by 2030. The UK is already struggling to ensure everyone receives good care now and our research shows UK cancer outcomes are among the worst in Europe. If we do not respond by improving services and care the UK will be facing a cancer crisis. That’s why Macmillan’s work is so essential. We have developed a strategy to maintain a relevant brand which follows the key rules: listen and respond to customer needs, use our expertise to understand and predict future changes in our landscape, the economy and customer spending and keep an eye on competition. Finally recognise and respond to changes in communication trends. Digital should be a key element to any future strategy, it is driving successful brands. One size fits all is no longer good enough, personalisation enabled by digital is expected. In fact I believe digital will help many brands who are not already, to go global. Today Macmillan is a renowned authority on cancer and cancer support. We have ambitious plans for the future and aim to inspire like minded brands to work with us to help ensure no one has to face cancer alone. www.macmillan.org.uk Lynda Thomas Interim CEO Macmillan Cancer Support @lynda_thomas
comment Jul/Dec 2015
Tesco Faces an Unignorable Moment By Malachi O’Connor and Barry Dornfeld The headline rang loud and clear across the Atlantic – “Tesco, what went wrong?” Another major company faces a moment it can’t ignore. In the States we’ve been asking the same question about organizations as diverse as General Motors, the National Football League, and the Veterans Health Administration. GM recalled over 39 million cars this year after a defect, known well internally to GM managers and leaders, finally became public. The National Football League dodged the issue of domestic violence and child abuse for years, but the arrests of several of its star players is turning the season into a discourse about what happens when a culture of aggression on the field extends into violence off the field. We were impressed with a recent research study on the troubles facing Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain and the second largest retailer in the world. It described the brand as “severely compromised” in its relationship with its customers – the foundation of its brand identity. Tesco’s history is fascinating and impressive, expanding aggressively from its roots as a small, grocery chain in England to a multinational force in retail goods and other sectors. But its struggles have become legendary as well. The company has lost 50% of its market value within the last year, and is emerging from an embarrassing accounting crisis that sent some investors, Warren Buffet included, running. Will a turn-around be possible? What will it take? Tesco is facing what we call an unignorable moment, a crisis point signaling that the culture of the organization – people’s tacit, shared understanding of “the way we do things around here” – is being challenged in a way that cannot be ignored. The story that Tesco tells itself about itself, “The Tesco Way,” is a story about how the company creates value by delivering the best possible shopping experience to its customers. Now, however, the validity of that story, at the heart of the company’s culture, has been challenged, and Tesco faces a cultural crisis as well as a financial one. When a company’s culture is challenged in this way, and people start questioning what their organization stands for, things usually head one of two ways: toward organizational paralysis, or toward a release of incredible and productive energy. Which of the two happens depends a great deal on leadership.
While no two unignorable moments are exactly the same, they all share four characteristics: They are public. News of an unignorable moment usually spreads like wildfire throughout an organization, though may sometimes be contained locally. In a family business, an unignorable moment might not spread outside the immediate family, but it can still impact the whole company. In other cases, news of the company’s problems may go global, when, as in Tesco’s case, the international press tracks the story. In the case of companies like Tesco and General Motors, consequences rapidly spread to outside colleagues, partners, suppliers, and investors. When news leaked earlier this year that 35 veterans had died while waiting for care at a Veteran’s Administration hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, the news spread like a virus across the U.S., and the federal government stepped in. When the New England supermarket chain, Market Basket, faced an unignorable moment last summer, thousands of people across three New England states lost their jobs, and the governors of those states stepped in to propose ways of resolving the latest phase of a multi-generational family business dispute. They are irreversible. When an organization faces an unignorable moment, it is almost certain that things will not return to business as usual. As the Miami Dolphins played the Oakland Raiders in September at Wembley Stadium, we learned in the U.S. that more NFL players had been arrested for domestic violence and child abuse. It has become clear that the National Football League can no longer stand passively on the sidelines while these incidents occur. Commissioner Roger Goodell has begun to address these issues through some significant actions, including hiring a Vice President in charge of developing a new set of domestic violence policies and programs. And Nike recently announced that is has cut ties with Adrian Peterson after he agreed to a misdemeanor assault charge following his indictment for violently striking his 4-year-old son. But cultural issues run deep throughout the league, and there is significant public skepticism about how far these changes will go. They are systemic. Although individuals are often at the center of the story, unignorable moments are rarely about their behavior alone.
They point to more systemic challenges in the organization. After news about 13 deaths and over 50 injuries due to flaws in the Cobalt’s ignition switch were finally made public, GM fired fifteen people. But the report sponsored by General Motors itself pointed to a much deeper problem: a culture of management complacency that ignored reports of poor quality workmanship and stigmatized those who spoke up about it. Mary Barra knows she has a much more systemic set of problems on her hands. In the same vein, the turnover at Tesco brings the former CEO, Board Chair, and CFO into prominence, but putting new leaders in place by itself will not solve Tesco’s problems. The issues the new leadership needs to address run much deeper than the roles they play individually. They challenge the organization’s identity. An unignorable moment forces an organization to question its current identity and what the famous management theorist Peter Drucker called its “theory of the business.” Tesco is going through just this kind of soul-searching as it struggles to reclaim its reputation and its position in the market. What makes Tesco different now that its relationship with its customers has been compromised? Can “the Tesco Way” be reinvigorated? Mary Barra faces a similar challenge at General Motors. Recalling tens of millions of cars will not be enough if she isn’t able to change the management culture at GM. While extremely challenging, unignorable moments hold the potential for positive change, if leaders are willing to encourage honest dialogue about what has taken place, learn from the experience – and most importantly, trust their culture. If Dave Lewis, Tesco’s new CEO, is serious when he calls himself “a fan of ‘brand archaeology,” by which he means digging deep to understand why the brand exists in the first place, then the future may indeed look brighter than the present for Tesco. We know that unignorable moments are dramatic and disruptive enough to demand the attention of the entire organization from leadership right through to the front-line. As Lewis said, “We need to get back to the place where we have offered to our customers an experience that is better than anybody else that operates in the marketplace we’re in.
Review Jul/Dec 2015
Review: Asian – Italian Restaurant, NOVIKOV By Emma Corbett
As if there weren’t already enough Asian and Italian restaurants in London, Arkady Novikov, Russia’s much- celebrated entrepreneur and restaurateur, set his sights on Mayfair three years ago and put two more on the map. Situated on the Green Park end of Mayfair’s Berkeley Street, directly opposite The Ritz and a stone’s throw away from – you clocked it – none other than the eponymous Nobu, Novikov is perfectly positioned to attract London’s rich and famous who already frequent the area. “You’ve got to be pretty brave to step on Nobu’s territory,” I hear you say. “No, not if you are Arkady Novikov.” As you’ll have gathered, unlike Nobu, London’s most exclusive Japanese restaurant, Novikov has much more to offer than just sashimi. Born out of Russia and rooted in serving Pan-Asian and Italian cuisine, the venue is spread across three floors, accommodating two separate restaurants, a long bar, and a further lounge-come-bar-come-club. Before my visit, I totted up that it caters for at least six different cuisines, make that seven if you count the Russian bar snacks. Having booked my table for the evening, I decided to do a quick background check on the man himself, Arkady Novikov, whose name I have heard muttered in different circles. As it turns out, the Russian magnate is Britain’s equivalent to a rather intimidating mix of Gordon Ramsey and Alan Sugar. Aside from actually hosting Russia’s version of ‘The Apprentice,’ since 1962, he has also built up an empire, having founded over 60 leading restaurants in Russia alone, including the popular Vogue Café and GQ Bar. In a country that is, it must be said, rather un-renowned for its local cuisine, it’s easy to surmise that, with the support of Russia’s rising oligarch class, Novikov sole-handedly turfed-up Russia’s struggling restaurant scene from the throes of the Soviet Union and gave rise to the budding standard of Russian fine-dining that thrives there today.
On entering the establishment’s revolving doors with much intrigue, having momentarily done a double-taken on catching sight of the bullish, radio-wired bouncer, we made our way up to the reception desk where we were met politely and shown swiftly to our table along the front wall of the Pan-Asian restaurant. Within minutes we were handed two A3 menus that seemed to double in size on confronting the vast range of dishes on offer. My eyes moved from oscietra caviar to the French Gillardeau oysters and onto the langoustine tempura and wasabi blue lobster. This is fine-dining with delicacies that, although not typically Asian, raised my expectations. With my palate awash with the promise of delicious seafood, I placed my order. Before receiving our starters I took some time to soak in the atmosphere. Set across one floor with a large, open kitchen across one wall, the Pan-Asian restaurant really is quite a feat in itself. Above all, what struck me was the fact that on a Monday evening in early January the restaurant floor was buzzing. Every table was occupied and yet, helped by the low lighting and rich, minimal décor complete with ebony, jade and granite interior, the restaurant still retained an intimate and luxurious but, at the same time, subtle atmosphere. Throughout the evening a variety of guests entered, ate and moved over to the bar, obviously planning to stay in situ for the entirety of the night and some, it later turned out, till the early hours of the morning. Our charismatic waiter eagerly offered to show us the produce that Novikov was serving that evening. Ever inquisitive, we made our way over to the open kitchen where a group of Asian chefs were in full swing rolling sushi, boiling dumplings and seasoning fish. Perhaps one of the stand-out features in the restaurant is its colourful display of fresh produce which Novikov has named the Asian marketplace. Although resembling nothing like an Asian street market, it did add a nice touch and get the taste-buds flowing as we
poured over the exotic mix of herbs, spices, fresh fish and vegetables. We also popped through to catch a glimpse of the Italian restaurant which, with its scattered olive trees, wheel-sized parmaggio and Italian chefs fresh from Sicily and Rome, seemed worlds apart from the room we were seated in next door. My companion opted for tuna and salmon sashimi for his starter which came beautifully presented on an iced, sea blue china plate whilst I opted for the crispy shitake mushroom dumplings and the Saudi prawn tempura. The sashimi was an exceptional dish that comes highly recommended for its smooth texture and creamy taste and the delicate, translucent dumpling cases, packed with the rich, earthy flavours of the shitake, complimented the sashimi very well. For main we took the waiter’s recommendation and shared the peppered langoustine tempura, monkfish tempura and I took a fancy to the crispy Peking duck and green apple salad which we topped off with some baby bok choi with soy ginger. Sourced in Madagascar, the langoustine measured up against a small lobster and had a spicy pepper seasoning which, when dipped in the garlic soy butter, really sent the senses buzzing. Mixed with pomegranate and shredded at the table, the Chinese duck salad, aside from being beautifully tender, had a sweet taste, which was offset nicely by the fruity greens. Now for the highlight; whatever you order, do, without hesitation, make the truffle gunkun, one of Japanese-trained Head Chef, Jeff Tyler’s newest dishes, top of your list. It encapsulates everything that Tyler has so deservedly come to be known for. What can I say? His experimentation with texture, flavour and ingredients reaches its height in this dish with the warm quail egg and its oozing yolk, topped off with the earthy, chocolatey sensation of the truffle shaving. This article was originally published in the Gentleman’s Journal.
Review Jul/Dec 2015
Review: Russian – English Restaurant, Bob Bob Ricard By Ross Bruniges,
Luxury; a word that used alongside a restaurant musters up visions of bankers splurging their monthly bonus up the wall, of people needlessly spending high prices on ‘rustic’ food, or, as it generally is for me the kind of place I take myself for the occasional pick me up, or for a reward for getting through a tough time. Their websites says that the ‘Bob Bob Ricard Menu offers luxury English and Russian classics’ and along the way I found it also provides a number of delightful quirks and, most important of all, some damn good plates of food. Walking into the large, high-ceilinged dining room on a dark week-night I didn’t initially realise how lavish the design of the room was (to confirm – it’s very lavish) but instead I noticed that all the tables are booths, the first of many of the quirks I previously mentioned. The second one is the ‘press for champagne’ button, a button that stupidly remained un-pressed for my visit but one that likely won’t be so neglected the next time. Before even touching the menu I’m finding things to like about this place, while it’s clearly a very serious restaurant the little quirks here and there add the kind of special touches that make a dinning experience stand out. AND NOW WE GET TO THE FOOD. The people I know who have been to Russia haven’t really been that enthusiastic about Russian food but wanting to get an idea of the flavour I didn’t turn my nose up to a ice cool shot of vodka and a mini tasting plate. Stored at -18 the Russian Standard vodka was probably the smoothest I’ve ever drunk and the accompanying double-bite sized morsels provided a good variety of tastes, textures and flavours. The jellied ox tongue is likely an acquired one but the raw cured herring and mini tower of mayo-enriched potato/Russian salad while not making me want more (they’re VERY rich) certainly had me wanting a repeat tasting at a later date.
My official starter was a venison steak tartare topped with a perfectly presented quails egg and a side salad that gave the impression of healthy-ness. The raw venison had a much deeper flavour than the traditionally used steak and this was accentuated further with finely chopped onion and caper hidden in each bite. While I’ve had prettier tartare’s in the past this was close to being one of the tastiest. VENISON STEAK TARTARE As a regular single diner the Chateaubriand cut of meat is one I very rarely get to sample, and while they couldn’t confirm to me exactly how they manage it I couldn’t resist the chance to get theirs which is specifically made for one. Even though at £38.75 it is close to being their most expensive dish it’s yet another nice little quirk about the place and the menu – you don’t see these kind of things much. When the plate arrives all quirks are out of the window and you’re presented with a fairly serious looking piece of meat that has been cooked to perfection with a charred, crisp outer skin and perfect pink insides. Chips are extra, and £4.50, but you kinda need them to make the most of the béarnaise sauce and to help soak up the delicious meat juices; I also had creamed spinach (£5.50) which really wasn’t needed but you live and learn. If you’re a meat lover I would say that this is worth a travel for. CHATEAUBRIAND FOR ONE Apart from one pineapple themed aberration all the desserts on offer looked tempting but I thought it was ultimately worth trying the restaurant signature of the grandly named ‘Chocolate Glory (mark II)’. This is a real showy dish, one unfortunately not captured with my photo as a grand golden ball of meringue is presented at the table and melted away with the application of some melted chocolate. It looks out of this world and is certainly one for
the chocoholic but I didn’t think the passionfruit orange jelly when placed amongst the meringue shells inner chocolate mousse and chunks of brownie added the best complimentary flavour and could have been replaced with maybe a different flavour or texture of chocolate instead. CHOCOLATE GLORY (MARK II) The wine list is fairly serious and while there are some pricy bottles nearly everyone comes with an additional note of how much more expensive it is served for in another of Londons top restaurants. It doesn’t stop it from being expensive but it was another nice little quirk that made me smile. The front of house staff while dressed in suits and jackets with white gloves are enthusiastic and more than happy to talk about the food and the restaurant history, they also didn’t bat an eyelid at my dress of a very bright yellow t-shirt in a dinning room with a reported dress code of ‘elegant’ (I missed that part of the website when I made my booking). Thinking back to the word luxury you would expect a luxury restaurant to have attention to detail, expensive food, highly skilled staff, a touch of class and touches special to the restaurant you don’t get else-where. Bob Bob Ricard hits all of these with the addition of the food also being bloody fantastic. I’ll be back, I’m very much wanting to try the beef wellington; and yes the press for champagne button.
Bob Bob Ricard 1 Upper James St London W1F 9DF Bobbobricard.com Bookings - 020 3145 1000
Media in an increasingly digital age Phil Hall, former national newspaper editor and Chairman and founder of PHA Media, gives his views on the current state of the media and the impact of the digital age. There is no denying that the surge in digital consumption has had a huge impact on the mainstream media. It has long been a major talking point within the industry and has often been revered and indeed misunderstood by many traditional media journalists and outlets. While national newspapers sales have declined, for anyone to suggest that print media is entering its twilight represents a far too simplistic and naïve view. There will always be a space for print media. The merging of traditional and digital media can only be a good thing and ultimately makes content more accessible to the wider public. It is a far cry from my time as a national newspaper editor when the online team would be largely ostracized and almost deemed inferior to those producing content for the print edition. Nowadays, the online team can be viewed as the main hub of operations as journalists seek for content that lends itself to being shareable and instantly gratifying for readers. The figures don’t lie, traditional titles’ sales have waned over the last decade but they should most definitely not be ignored in favour of ‘Buzzfeed journalism’. Traditional titles still remain the shop window for online outlets and people are more likely to click on an online subject if it has initially appeared in a newspaper or magazine. The industry is definitely on the verge of a major crossroads, as most news websites feed off newspapers, therefore if newspapers fail, where will they get their stories from? Innovation is most certainly the key word. The music business was rather complacent in its approach to access online and merely presumed that people would always want to buy music on the high street, while newspapers were slow and reluctant to embrace the digital
age. Magazines appear better prepared in terms of complementing strategy. For that is the essential point; online is a fantastic tool and can enable stories to be easily shared but it is not a replacement for the authority of print media. I still have many friends in the industry who tell me of an increasing drive from those at the top of our leading titles to hire skilled staff who can not only carry out the more traditional journalistic tasks, but also to have a deep understanding of digital content and multimedia. They want the whole package; quality stories, skilfully enhanced, shareable content. The demise in newspapers sales has of course led to some of the most popular nationals charging for their online service. The Sun, Sun on Sunday and The Times and Sunday Times (all under Rupert Murdoch ownership) now employ a subscription service for their online content, an act which was widely expected to deter audiences away. The Times, however, at the back end of last year, announced they had experienced an operating profit of £1.7 million, the first profit in that quarter in 13 years. The implementation of the paywall was cited as a key factor in this, which reaffirms the old adage that ‘content is key’. It is interesting viewing things from a PR perspective. When our clients feature in an article l online, it will be seen by far more people than it would if it was only in print, yet the first question people ask remains ‘Will it be in the paper?’. Seeing yourself in the hard copy of a traditional title, even if just for purely tangible reasons, does remain the ultimate ambition for the vast majority of people who are looking for positive press.
quickly, even if it is to say nothing at all. It is far better to be on the front foot and as proactive as is feasible. It is crucial to inform your PR agency or individual of the situation so they can begin the ‘fire-fighting’ process. Employing a PR who knows the high-level journalists and editors is of huge benefit as it enables them to cut through the layers of journalists and executives on a newspaper and get to the decision maker. As a result of the digital age, news is now a 24 hours service which places added importance on acting quickly to a media storm. Stories have the ability to spread faster than ever through various online platforms and will no longer simply become ‘tomorrow’s fish and chip paper’. These stories will break, at any time night or day, and spread throughout the world at the click of a mouse or a thumb tap on a smartphone. After this initial surge in reading and subsequent sharing, these stories will forever remain online. They are often the first thing you see when searching for an individual or company, which leaves reputations in tatters long after the stories are published. I know better than most, that journalists in the UK are ferocious, which does help to keep people honest be they in authority, Government or a place of influence. It does, however, mean that clear steps are needed to help deal with any form of media crisis. The best way to protect your company’s brand or your own image from a crisis is to prepare for it. If you find yourself in the media spotlight as the result of a mistake, error, false allegation or accident the chances of avoiding a full blown media storm are greatly increased if you have a full and robust crisis communications plan in place.
This also means a negative story in the Press is seen as more damaging than an online attack. If there is a media threat to you or your company’s reputation then the secret is to act
profile Jul/Dec 2015
Bernard Fornas Chief Executive of Cartier
It is difficult to know whether to pity or envy Bernard Fornas, Chief Executive of Cartier, one of the world’s oldest and most exclusive brands of jewellery and watches. Since he took over as President and Chief Executive in 2002 the company has seen more economically bad times than good, which have driven its traditional super-rich American and European clients into unusually cautionary spending habits. For Fornas, the challenges mount as he struggles to grow the business without losing the cachet that makes his brand desirable. To do this he needs to maintain high visibility with his target clients, and globe-trotting in his private jet is an inevitable part of the job. One day he can be found opening a new Cartier boutique in Baku alongside actress Monica Bellucci, another he will be hosting a black-tie dinner at Mikhailovsky Castle in Moscow, opening museum collections in Shanghai and Japan, or attending the Cartier International Polo Challenge in Dubai. Nominally based in Geneva, Switzerland, he “spends his life in planes”, not to mention in an endless round of high society functions.
Perhaps it is this shared understanding of the value of luxury and exclusivity that enables him to speak so passionately about the Cartier brand. Referring to its ‘DNA’, he talks about the need to retain the ‘Cartier smell’ and ‘Cartier touch’ in any new designs. But while he respects the tradition of the 164 year old firm, he is also acutely aware of the need to constantly create new designs with new materials. “Luxury is innovation,” he says. “As long as I’m here, we will innovate not only on the shapes, materials and ideas, but the whole scope, because that is what the whole of luxury is about.” He is also quite clear about what defines his niche. Slapping high prices and the word ‘luxury’ on a product does not elevate it to the level of a maison like Cartier. Likewise, brands like Cartier should not be tempted to generate sales volume by producing lower value items to appeal to the middle market. He once told an audience at the International Herald Tribune Annual Luxury Conference that for Cartier, $250,000 is considered the starting point for its high jewellery collection. The middle market is the $20,000 to $250,000 range.
A graduate of Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Lyon, France and with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, Fornas began his career as an assistant product manager with Proctor & Gamble. He quickly made the transition from fast moving consumer goods to high end luxury, leaving Camay (soap) behind to join the International Gold Corporation, followed by Guerlain, before joining Cartier International as international marketing director.
Some would describe his approach to weathering tough economic times as brave. In early 2009, when parent company Richemont posted a drop in third-quarter sales with the comment, “given the current economic climate and the uncertainties facing us, we see no cause for optimism,” Fornas pressed ahead with his product innovation plans. At the 2010 International Salon of Fine Watchmaking in Geneva, Fornas introduced revolutionary new technology for watch movements that cuts the need for maintenance in about half. The cost of routine maintenance on a high end watch currently runs to well over $500 every three to five years.
Described as silver-haired, immaculately dressed, poised and polished, Fornas is clearly at home with the multi-millionaires his products are designed for. A fellow collector, he favours vintage cars and owns a collection of vehicles from the 1960s and 70s that includes a Mercedes 300 Gullwing. “From all my collection it’s my favourite,” he says. “It’s an icon.”
Cartier is also pressing ahead with ambitious plans to increase its network of high quality boutiques, particularly in new and emerging markets, and for Fornas this is a key factor in ensuring the brand is able to weather the economic storms. “Our company prepared for the worst when everything was going well,” he points out. “We are number one in China,
in Russia, the Middle East, and in the nations composing the CIS. Our past and current investments in these emerging countries enable us to compensate for the slow-down on traditional markets such as the USA and Japan. We are indeed continuing to open boutiques in these new markets to reinforce our positions.” Like all high end luxury brands, Cartier is being forced to review its marketing budgets and focus only on those activities that are expected to generate results. These tend to facilitate one-on-one sales opportunities with target clients, like the lavish excursion to Istanbul the jeweller laid on for 150 of its best clients last autumn, where guests were treated to tours, sumptuous dinners and a private viewing of 300 new high jewellery pieces displayed in a mansion on the Bosporus. But it is not all just about jet-setting, wining and dining with the very rich. Fornas takes Cartier’s position as a leader in the industry very seriously, and believes that gives him a responsibility to promote good corporate social responsibility. In 2008 he went on record in a television interview saying that as long as human rights problems continued in Burma, Cartier would not buy any rubies from that country. Cartier has also put up a public fight against the trade in so-called blood diamonds. Industry leader or not, Cartier has had to deal with some fundamental and far-reaching changes in the market. Fornas is confident that he has led his firm through the worst. “Frivolous times are gone,” he has observed pragmatically, adding, “Expensive things will still sell. It’s not that there’s no money.”
motor Jul/Dec 2015
SPOFEC Rolls-Royce Wraith The Rolls-Royce Wraith may be the showpiece that demonstrates what the modern incarnation of the famous marque can do in engineering as well as style departments, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. At least, that’s what car customizer SPirit OF ECstasy (SPOFEC) seems to think as it offers its Wraith upgrade package for the luxury coupe.
greater pressure. This squeezes out another 85 bhp (62.5 kW) for a grand total of 717 bhp (527 kW) and 727 ft/lb (986 Nm) of torque.
Named after the famous Rolls-Royce hood ornament, SPOFEC is a German company that specializes in bespoke modifications of current production Rollers. In the case of the Wraith, it offers a package of body and engine mods aimed at improving not only the aesthetics, but also aerodynamics and engine performance.
The Wraith package also boasts a stainless-steel sports exhaust about 5 kg (11 lb) lighter than the production version that SPOFEC claims improves engine performance while using an actively controlled butterfly valve for a throatier soundtrack that can be controlled from the cockpit.
For the bodywork, SPOFEC offers carbon composite replacement components, such as the bumper, tail end, and rocker panels, which are designed to give the Wraith a more imposing, aggressive appearance while blending into the existing body lines and enhancing the aerodynamics from the grille to the new boot lid spoiler lip.
The result is a tweak of the 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration to 4.2 seconds, though electronic limiting keeps the top speed at 155 mph (250 km/h).
Another feature is a modification for the Wraith’s suspension operated by a control module that lowers the car around 40 mm when traveling below 87 mph (140 km/h) and raises it again at higher speeds. Meanwhile, behind the SPOFEC SP1 wheels with ten double spokes offset in two planes are carbon-ceramic vented discs that trim the weight by 38 kg (84 lb) while optimizing handling, stopping power, and fade resistance.
Under the bonnet, the SPOFEC Wraith package enhances the 6.6-liter V12 engine with a new performance kit featuring a processor-controlled plug-and-play N-TRONIC module for the engine electronics, and an auxiliary control unit with custom-mapped injection and ignition for
business Jul/Dec 2015
What shares are really worth The stock market is no stranger to exaggeration. However, investors should look beyond the hype to consider fair value, which depends on the earnings outlook and interest rates
Investment guru Warren Buffett has said, ‘Buy cheap and hold forever.’ It’s a piece of advice that has served him well. But for the novice stock market investor (or even the experienced one), it begs the question, ‘Just when is a stock cheap?’ Analysts set out to determine whether a stock is fairly priced – fair value – and then compare this to the market price. If the stock is trading below its fair value, then it is undervalued, or cheap. Conversely, if the share price is higher than the fair value, the stock is overvalued, or expensive. In order to work out fair value, most analysts use the discounting model. This model functions on the assumption that the value of a stock depends on future amounts the shareholder will receive. Two other factors play a role: the interest rate and the risk of the stock. Both make it possible to compare amounts due at different times. To this end, a discount factor is used, made up of the rate of interest and the risk specific to the stock (see box). When an investor buys a stock, he or she buys a stake in a company, and has a right to a share of profits, which are the basis of payments to the shareholder. A company can either pay out profits in the form of dividends or reinvest them in the business. If the second option is chosen, it is generally thought that the company expects to make suitably higher profits in the future in order to eventually pay out dividends to shareholders. This explains why shares are more highly valued when the company has better profit prospects. When a stock is being valued, analysts look at the long-term earnings trend rather than the profits posted in a single year. PREDICTING THE FUTURE The problem is, however, that no one can predict the future – or know for certain how much profit a company will make in the future or how much it will pay out to shareholders. This is where analysts come in; making a judgment that takes the form of an earnings prediction using a range of factors such as business strategy, products, management
team, the company’s industry and share of market, competitors, and the state of the economy as a whole. This process is not made any easier by the fact that firms can report earnings in different ways, for example before or after tax, or before or after extraordinary items. On top of this, the level of profits can change depending on the accounting rules applied and the accounting decisions made. Because of some of these variables, analysts follow a convention that means they generally work with free cash flow rather than reported profits. Free cash flow is the amount of cash left over for investments in the expansion of a business or for paying out to shareholders. Even with such calculations, however, future earnings remain unpredictable. Something can always happen to a company or its environment that will impact earnings. This uncertainty is a risk that can affect the value of a stock. Suppose an industrial firm is expecting a profit of! 100 million provided it manages to renew a contract with a major client. If it fails to renew the contract, profits will be lower. Investors will only buy this risky share in return for a discount for risk on the price, which will improve their return prospects. If the contract is renewed, shareholders will benefit as the value of the share goes up. Where greater risk is involved, investors require higher potential returns, in an amount commensurate with the increase in uncertainty. In order to avoid such a situation and keep the risk discount as low as possible, many companies provide clear, continual information on how they are faring. FACTORS ARE NOT OBJECTIVE Interest rates also affect the value of a share. Before buying a stock, an investor will compare to possible alternatives. If a relatively secure bond offers an attractive rate of interest, the investor will probably opt for the bond. Very few investors would be willing to buy a stock that is riskier than a bond when it offers a return that is not significantly different. The price of the share would have to drop before the investor could earn substantially
more with the stock than with the bond. If interest rates go up, share prices fall. At the same time, high interest rates mean that companies have to pay more interest on borrowed capital, and this also cuts into earnings and, hence, the value of the shares. Taken all together, this explains how the earnings outlook, interest rates and riskiness of the instrument interact to impact the value of shares. By following share prices over time, you may observe that it takes some time before the price of an undervalued share reaches fair value. That is because calculating fair value is not a simple, clear-cut process. Consider the following situation. One analyst is utterly convinced by the outlook for a new product, but another feels consumers are unlikely to buy it. These analysts would calculate a different fair value for the stock. The same difficulty applies to the discount factor. There is no clear-cut, precise mathematical means of calculating a given risk or a risk discount. Instead, it is the result of statistical analysis and theoretical considerations. In contrast, the market price of a share is unequivocal for all market participants. At any given time, there is one price and one price only, a price that is shaped by the interaction between supply and demand. In real life, share prices can often appear to bear very little relation to their fair value. But, if a share is expensive despite the fact that the company is no longer making profits, investors generally notice, and sooner or later the share price goes down. Likewise, investors start to notice when a cheap company is consistently registering higher profits, and the share price will go up. Over the long term, share prices will probably hover around or increasingly move toward their fair value. If this were not the case, Warren Buffett would have had a hard time making his fortune with the shares he acquired cheap. Walter Edelman is Head of Global Investment Strategy at UBS Global Wealth Management
books Jul/Dec 2015
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THE POLITICOS GUIDE TO THE NEW HOUSE OF COMMONS 2015 Edited by Tim Carr and Iain Dale In the wake of the most unprecedented election result in recent memory, the question on everyone’s lips (apart from: how did that happen?) is: so what’s next? And who are all these new faces on the Commons benches? In The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015, public affairs consultant Tim Carr teams up with the editor of the bestselling The Politicos Guide to the 2015 General Election, Iain Dale, to present an all-inclusive and essential post-election document for academics, journalists, students and political enthusiasts alike in the wake of the poll-defying 2015 general election. Providing biographies of all new Members of Parliament from the 2015 intake, alongside details of their majorities and constituencies, with demographic analysis and lists of the defeated, the advance eBook edition gives a concise Who’s Who of the new House of Commons. It will be followed in June 2015 by an expanded print edition, looking in more detail at the campaign, the winners and losers, and the disastrous pre-election polls, amongst much else. When the expanded version becomes available, this eBook will be automatically updated to include all new material. Wide-ranging and accessible, The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015 is a must-read for anyone eager to know the details of the election result that rocked the country.
Empire, the advent of television, the invention of the mobile phone and the rise of the internet – all things he has played either a direct or an indirect part in. Whilst that alone does not single him out as unique, it is his interaction with some of the most interesting and powerful figures of his lifetime that makes his memoirs a must-read. Blessed with a social conscience and a great deal of energy, and guided by his own moral code based on honesty and loyalty, Basil Feldman always sought to contribute to positive change and progress in his country; ¬first through his successful business career, then through politics.
CALL ME DAVE By Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott After a decade as Conservative Party leader, David Cameron remains an enigma to those outside his tight-knit inner circle. This authoritative biography of Britain’s youngest Prime Minister for nearly 200 years provides a fascinating insight into the man only those closest to him know. Based on hundreds of interviews, with everyone from Westminster insiders to intimate friends, this book reveals the real David Cameron. What are his greatest strengths and his biggest weaknesses? How did he reach the top, first in the party and then as the leader of the UK’s first coalition government since the Second World War? How did he deal with everything from political triumph to personal tragedy? This unauthorised biography answers all these questions and more.
By Basil Feldman Lord Feldman has lived a full and fascinating life encompassing many of the most important changes in the twentieth century – the Second World War, the establishment of the state of Israel, the fall of the British
From Eton to Oxford, through gap-year adventures in Russia to his early days as a party apparatchik and his stint as a PR man, the book scrutinises Cameron’s journey to the premiership – and his record as the most powerful man in the land. Co-authored by Lord Ashcroft, the former deputy chairman of the Tory Party and respected pollster, and Isabel Oakeshott, the
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award-winning political journalist, this is unquestionably the most hotly anticipated political book of the year.
ENOCH AT 100 By Lord Howard of Rising Racist or nationalist? Loyal ally or ruthless opportunist? The most influential man in postwar politics? Enoch at 100 is a critical reassessment of Enoch Powell’s legacy by some of the leading political figures and writers of the current age. Originally released in the year of Enoch’s centenary, the contributions, from writers including Iain Duncan Smith, Frank Field, Simon Heffer, Andrew Roberts, Margaret Mountford and Roger Scruton, explore the enigma of a man who… Filled the House of Commons chamber during his speeches, and turned crowds away for lack of room when he spoke publicly. Electrified Parliament defending the rights of Kenyans, but delivered his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech a decade later. Resigned very openly over excessive government spending, but initiated the first NHS ten-year hospital building programme. Was credited with winning one general election for the Conservatives, but losing another. Advocated radical de-nationalisation and propounded the benefits of a free market economy. Identified the problems of a single currency and warned of the political realities of the EU. Forecast today’s problems arising from legislative devolution.
THANK YOU FOR THIS MOMENT By Valérie Trierweiler The breakdown of Valérie Trierweiler’s relationship with French President François Hollande was spread mercilessly across the front pages after photographs exposing his alleged in fidelity emerged in January 2014. Trierweiler learnt of the affair with Julie Gayet through the press – just like everyone else – and the world’s media quickly descended on the salacious details and damaging political implications of the story.
The time soon came for Valérie to tell her version of events. First published in France in September 2014, Trierweiler’s memoir promptly became the fastest-selling book in French history, sending shockwaves through the establishment for its scandalous revelations about the President’s politics, personality and private life. The unapologetic and unadulterated account of Trierweiler’s years with the President, Thank You for This Moment is a tale of love, power and betrayal that has enthralled readers on both sides of the Channel and across the world. Translated by Clémence Sebag.
STEPHEN WARD WAS INNOCENT, OK By Geoffrey Robertson QC IN THE SUMMER OF ’61 JOHN PROFUMO, MINISTER FOR WAR, ENJOYED A BRIEF AFFAIR WITH CHRISTINE KEELER… Late in the afternoon of Wednesday 31 July 1963, Dr Stephen Ward was convicted at the Old Bailey on two counts alleging that he lived on the earnings of a prostitute. He was not in the dock but comatose in hospital. The previous night he had attempted suicide, because (as he said in a note) ‘after Marshall’s [the judge’s] summing up, I’ve given up all hope’. He died on Saturday 3 August, without regaining consciousness. Many observers of the proceedings thought the convictions did not reflect the evidence and that the trial was unfair, and this book will show that it breached basic standards of justice. Geoffrey Robertson brings his forensic skills and a deeply felt sense of injustice to the case at the heart of the Profumo affair, the notorious scandal that brought down a government. The funeral of Stephen Ward, at Mortlake Cemetery in August 1963, attracted only six mourners. This distinguished osteopath and skilled portrait artist, a favourite of London’s fashionable society throughout the 1950s, had died by his own hand. At the grave lay a wreath, made up of one hundred white carnations, and a card signed by Kenneth Tynan. It bore the simple inscription: To Stephen Ward, Victim of Hypocrisy.
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Peter Wetherell’s ‘The Story Of Mayfair’ The Story of Mayfair: From 1164 onwards, is a new book co-authored by Peter Wetherell, Erik Brown and Oliver Bradbury which looks at the social, financial and physical development of Mayfair, one of the world’s most famous addresses over 350 years, with a fascinating final chapter reviewing the potential future of Mayfair up to 2030. With written contributions from leading Mayfair figures including Peter Vernon, Simon Reuben, Richard Caring, Sir John Ritblat and John Caudwell, the book provides a fascinating insight into the landowners, developers, residents, social changes, scandals and excesses of this most famous and luxurious of addresses. The book provides a dramatic insight into not only the unbelievable wealth and inward investment that has been poured over the decades by waves of “old and new money” (aristocrats, Royalty, dictators and tycoons) into the 285 acres (0.45 square miles) that form Mayfair, but also the incredible destruction and vandalism that has also destroyed several billion pounds (at today’s values) worth of palaces, mansions and townhouses. Properties ruthlessly destroyed by the wrecking ball and bombing, victims of recessions, taxation and wars. As the book underlines, by 1851 Mayfair was an international destination, the address of choice of the very wealthy from both the UK and overseas. However this global visibility also meant that global matters including World Wars and international recessions had the ability to impact on the district. What is striking, is that in recent years Mayfair has been able to surpass even this, and become seen as a “safe haven” for global wealth seeking to avoid turbulence in other parts of the world. In summary, the book’s main thesis is that Mayfair has undergone seven key “step changes”, periods of huge social, financial and physical change, influenced by global economic and political shifts, and is set to undergoe an eighth and most dramatic “step change” over the next decade.
CHAPTER REVIEW STEP CHANGE 1: 1660S – 1720S – FROM MUD TO MANSIONS Mayfair was originally unwanted, nameless, muddy fields – the River Tyburn swamps – situated to the West of what was then central London (Whitehall, Soho, Covent Garden and the City). Mayfair got its name in 1686 when King James II granted Royal permission for a fair to be held on the site of what is now Shepherds Market in the first two weeks of May. At this time Soho, Whitehall and the City were the addresses of choice for the wealthy aristocracy. It was not until 1710 and 1719, that Sir Richard Grosvenor and the Earl of Scarborough (Mayfair’s two original landowning and developer families) built Grosvenor Square and Hanover Square respectively, and started Mayfair’s building process than continues until the present day, so that by 1720, the former fields were transformed into a vast building site. STEP CHANGE 2: 1721 – 1850 – THE HEYDAY OF THE ARISTOCRATS The aristocracy departed their former cramped and outdated houses in Soho, Whitehall, Holborn and the City and relocated Westwards to the new mansions, townhouses and green squares of Mayfair. Of the initial 227 houses built, 117 had titled owners. Dukes, Duchesses, Marquesses and Earls rivaled each other to secure the best houses and dress them in lavish style. By 1850, the heart of the social scene was Buckingham Palace, with the most sought after mansions being in Mayfair, now firmly London’s top address; with Belgravia being the next address of choice, and Pimlico being the least sought after part of the Grosvenor family’s estate – an almost “middle class” place for second sons, widowed Aunts and less wealthy relations. STEP CHANGE 3: 1851 – 1914 – FROM ARISTOCRATS TO PLUTOCRATS As the Victorian era progressed the aristocrats and foreign European Royals who had until now ruled Mayfair, were to gain new neighbours who generated their money not from land
or statehood, but from business. Whilst the ancient gentry had been happy to live in relatively plain understated Georgian properties, the Empire’s business kings were not. Its probably safe to say that well over £2 billion (in modern currency) of “new money” wealth poured into Mayfair. Old houses were pulled down to be replaced by lavish mansions and townhouses not grand enough were combined with neighbours. Interiors were lavish, gold leaf, silver décor and super-flash gilt furniture became all the rage. The aristocrats were initially horrified by their new neighbours, who were flashy multiple property owners with large yachts, motorcars and private railroad carriages. They became even more jealous when they realised that their sheep farming and forestry could simply not generate the vast amounts of cash that banking, mining and railroads were generating for the newcomers, enabling the “social climbers” to outspend them at every level regarding housing, lavish lifestyles, number of servants, gambling, social events and the races. By the Edwardian era, the housing surveys showed that there were more plutocrats and newly titled living in Mayfair and Belgravia than the old landed gentry and aristocracy. Mayfair had firmly become a “new money” address. Despite this, the super-rich newcomers craved social acceptance from the Royals and the old guard, so arose the age and fashion of vast social and cultural philanthropy which continues to this day amongst the super-rich, with the new money investing in the Prince Consort’s ambitious artistic, cultural and social projects in order to gain social acceptance and nobility-titles. For further information on sales, lettings and new developments in Mayfair and London’s wider West End contact Wetherell on Tel: 020 7529 5566 or visit: www.wetherell.co.uk
From dinosaurs to Doric The Making of the Middle Sea – A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World HENRY HOPWOOD-PHILLIPS reviews an erudite contribution to an overlooked subject Cyprian Broodbank’s new book seeks to remedy four major problems plaguing an area that rarely ventures into the public sphere: Mediterranean prehistory. The first is archaeology’s fragmented (/parochial?) and myopic nature.The second is the ex oriente lux (light from the East) position, popular in the twentieth century, that simplifies the spread of civilization to a slow one-way traffic from the South East to the North Western Mediterranean. The third is a tendency to omit much of Africa, paired with a need to romanticise the Mediterranean proper (resulting in history being written backwards, through the lens of successor states). Lastly is the obsolescence of technical terms (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic etc.), each compromised by the fact numerous locations sit at various stages of development at different times. Broodbank (Professor of Mediterranean Archaeology at UCL) accomplishes the task with ease. His survey of an expanse of history that dates from Tethys, the primordial soup that covered the Mediterranean 250 million years ago, to Salamis (480 BC) unifies countless archaeological kingdoms and will doubtless become the standard text for at least a generation. The light shed on maritime mobility, Maltese temples that predate the pyramids, and Sardinian nuraghi, provides a welcome counterbalance to standard Egyptian and Fertile Crescent narratives. The history is written in chronological order, sometimes painfully so, with future Classical parallels avoided even when helpful. Finally, eschewing traditional archeological labels, Broodbank prefers to acknowledge his debt to Fernand Braudel and calibrate his history to climate-change, making the shape of the work schematically clearer than older works. The breadth of knowledge on display is really quite astonishing. Geographical, paleontological, geological and meteorological disciplines all feature. It is a brilliant compendium. Who knew that Crete broke off Turkey nine million years ago, foundered, then arose again two million years ago, or that the Nile, Rhone and Po supply a meagre quarter of
the Mediterranean’s water? Who knew that Majorca and Menorca were the last parts of the Mediterranean to be settled or that the first road was probably the Ways of Horus, a 150 mile tract between Egypt and the Levant? Its key theme, the spread of civilization has a slightly wistful and academic air about it in today’s world where, thanks to globalization, a rough parity exists. It didn’t back then. Standards of living were entirely dependent on the decisions of societies. Aegean people for instance, despite being 1,850 miles away from principal sources of tin, developed bronze far before Iberians learnt to exploit supplies on their own doorstep. Life and death were held in the balance. How civilisation spread then sits at the heart of the book, and Broodbank is unequivocal that nautical technology is crucial to the story. By the Classical period an average single day and night sail covered 60-90 miles, a huge improvement on the 10-20 miles a canoe was capable of. It took just two weeks to reach Sicily from the Aegean, while the North-South traverse of Central Europe over a similar distance remained a six week journey in the 16th century. People were often happier pushing inwards on to the sea than the hinterlands of their respective continents. Phoenicians therefore play a major part in connecting the dots that eventually create the Mediterranean. Broodbank brings a splash of humour to the fore in some of the potentially dreary literary sources. Burniburiash II of Babylon, writing to a peer, starts with the formalities And, as I am told, in my brother’s country everything is available and my brother needs nothing; also in my country it is so…however… Cyprian cheekily inserting that ‘there followed a request for a large quantity of gold’. The humour, however, cannot mitigate all of his more negative tendencies. Broodbank has clearly marinated in cloistered waters for a little too long. Prone to academese, his reference to ‘low friction highways’ for water, ‘places of liminality and promiscuity’ for coasts, and talk of things being ‘circuitously circumvented’ verges on the ridiculous. Although he escapes
many of the academic dead-end debates, occasional clangers such as ‘…recommend this as a schematic way of conceptualizing one of the principal emerging vectors’ remind the reader he still marks essays that belong to the world of precocious gobbledygook. Much of the book is a prosaic word salad. Dickensian sub-clause follows clause in an interminable trail. This has the effect of adding sawdust to oatcake. The pace taxes the enthusiasm of the reader. Slow, hesitant, halting and shuffling, it reflects its subject, the tentative creep of civilisation. Furthermore, some significant areas of prehistory are left severely underdeveloped. The emergence of ethnicity as a building block in antiquity barely procures a paragraph. Slavery is breathlessly passed over. The spread of the Indo-European languages is given cursory attention. And Europe beyond the Alps is mentioned a handful of times in a book of almost 700 pages. Perhaps the most glaring omission however is the failure to examine the relationship between civilised states and the barbarians. The surprising triumph of the latter in battles and the symbiotic relationship of both (often to the barbarian’s advantage) remains unprobed here. Instead Amorites, Libyans, Kaska groups and Cimmerians are left in the shade of history – gadflies who occasionally annoy. This oversight is all the more surprising given that a debate is ongoing. Ibn Khaldun, Arnold Toynbee, Peter Heather and Ian Morris have all spoken, yet Broodbank fails to contribute. Finally, Broodbank’s attitude to civilisation is less Juvenalian (panem et circenses – bread & circuses) than Schopenhauerian (fouettes et ennuyons – coercion & boredom) and although he’s entitled to this fashionably ambivalent stance, the tone strikes the reader as somewhat incongrous when written from the privileged position that he occupies. This book is doubtless a magisterial survey of a subject that too few pay attention to, but at times one wished that the author, like J. J. Norwich before him, had written about people, ‘not [just] rocks and water’.
Amuda Goueli, CEO i-magazine-paginated-06-07-2015.indd 156
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Doing Business with an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Europe By Amuda Goueli, CEO at destinia.com To innovate or create is synonymous to a challenge, really almost a dangerous challenge. Without a doubt, the entrepreneur must abandon his comfort zone and take a risk, both personally and professionally. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, a way of understanding the world. It is also tremendously gratifying, due to something very simple and very important at the same time, the ability to be free - freedom over one´s own life, when to come and go, even if you decide later to work at all hours of the day. It is likely that my upbringing in a small, remote village in the middle of nowhere in Nubia (Egypt) has much to do with my way of being. Without a doubt, the desert landscape that surrounded me fed the curiosity and restlessness of my spirit. This innate curiosity only continued to grow with my passion for travelling. When I was just 8 years old, I travelled to Cairo with my father who worked in the city, to attend school. It all seemed like an adventure to me. Even if I hadn´t been able to join him, I had my escape already planned in my head. Yes, my escape to discover the world. In the years to come, my personal circumstances and the lack of freedom in my country gave me the final push into the unknown world. Today I look back and am still astonished by what I have achieved. To have built an online travel agency, Destinia.com, a leader in Spain that sells in 25 different countries, services more than 2 million travellers throughout across the globe and provides work to more than 100 people, who like me, are ready to take on the world. Just a year ago, we opened an office in Dubai, a hot spot for activity and a place where economic growth and commerce is moving. However even now after 14 years, I still remember the difficult beginning and the people along the way whom have helped make my dream a reality. I think about the moment in which our youth are living today and how crisis and challenge served as incentives to drive my change. Towards the end of the nineties,
shortly after my partner and I first launched this initiative, the dot com bubble burst. We could have easily thrown in the towel - nothing would have happened and everything would have been over, all at the same time. I like to interact with younger generations and I participate in many chats with students with the goal of bringing hope and optimism and to help them navigate the waters of e-commerce. I always repeat the same message; when you start your business, getting rich should not be the only objective because you will get discouraged with the first obstacle and by the third, you will give up. An entrepreneur´s greatest obsession should be their idea, making sure their product, service or project is really good. Then they should work extremely hard in making it happen, however with an open mind to find alternatives when obstacles arise, because barriers are just part of the journey. You have to fall and get up again, it may sound cliché, however it’s the truth. Fear of failure is one of the greatest barriers and it persists and torments the entrepreneurial spirit. We have a cultural challenge here that we need to be aware of if we want our youth to jump into the world of business, it´s the fear of failure. In the United States for example, the failure stigma, so embedded in our roots, does not exist. There, people are proud to add failures to their CV, as it shows the experience they have gained. We learn from our experiences and I tend to believe that someone who has never been wrong simply has not taken a risk or truly stepped out of their comfort zone. I firmly believe that the failure of today may be the seed planted for the success of tomorrow. Given this belief, I am thrilled that in a country like Spain, the Law of Second Opportunity (Ley de Segunda Oportunidad) was just approved, ensuring that a person is not weighted down for life by the debt incurred if their business is not successful. Of course I have some doubts, as no law is perfect; however this legislative
initiative alleviates some of the burden that comes with being an entrepreneur. It is calculated that 50% of new businesses die within 5 years and that roughly 15% of those businesses fall into bankruptcy. Furthermore, only around 5% of those bankruptcies are due to fraudulent activities. The rest are honest entrepreneurs whose ventures simply did not work, however this should not make them feel as if society is pointing the finger at them. The figure of the second opportunity already exists in countries such as the United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium, among others. Entrepreneurs are going to drive a country´s economy. Spain and Europe should be able to tap into the talent of younger generations, whom are without a doubt more prepared than our generation, and kindle their entrepreneurial spirit. This movement will serve to attract youth in other regions of the world. Talent will be the most sought after good in the 21st century and not taking advantage of it would be a tremendous error. Businesses should also create the space needed for internal learning. I like to think that Destinia creates an atmosphere where one can error, learn from that mistake and do it even better the next time. I also encourage ideas to take shape alongside of the company. I myself have launched projects in collaboration with some of my employees. Ideas should not only flow from the top down, but also from the bottom up, as well as laterally between teams. While this all may sound good, it´s a philosophy that is not easy to understand and implement, as it requires a great deal of commitment and self-discipline. And again, it requires leaving the comfort zone. Welcome to the world of permanent change that keeps us on the alert and feeling alive.
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HUNTER 486 The Arch London 50 Great Cumberland Place Marble Arch London W1H 7FD Hunter 486, the restaurant located within boutique hotel The Arch London in Marylebone, is proud to announce the launch of a brand new restaurant menu concept. The new menu has been carefully developed by Head Chef Gary Durrant at Hunter 486, with Henrietta Green; food and hospitality consultant, award-winning food writer and broadcaster. Henrietta is also a well known advocate of the local food movement, and author of the much loved book ‘A Food Lover’s Guide to Britain’. The new menu is inspired by ‘best of British’ recipes, ingredients and produce, with hearty dishes featuring quality ingredients prepared honestly and simply. Dishes include delights such as: Salad of crispy oxtail with cream of horseradish; Potted duck with fruit chutney and sourdough; Peppered loin of venison with beetroot puree, turnip and potato gratin; Homemade hamburger with onion marmalade in a brioche bun with Hunter ketchup and hand cut chips; and Sticky toffee pudding with caramelised banana ice cream. The crowning glory of the new menu is the use of the stone oven. As it operates at a very high heat, meat and fish are produced with astonishingly succulent results. So try a whole Roast Norfolk Black Free Range chicken, cooked to tender perfection and served with roast garlic, roast potatoes, aioli, parsley & caper sauce and gravy, for two or four to share, just one of the many stone oven specialities. The new menu also introduces Plates, Pots, Boards and Bowls for one or two share, either at the bar over a cocktail, or in the restaurant as a starter or main course, and include homemade crisps with sage, lemon & sea salt made freshly every day. The Fish board comes loaded with potted shrimps, cured salmon, mackerel pate, smoked eel and prawns; and the Cheeseboard with British farmhouse cheeses, quince jelly and homemade oatcakes. Named after the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone, Hunter 486 has been designed with an air of nostalgic London glamour fused with contemporary touches. The restaurant features gleaming leather booths, blown glass chandeliers and statement artwork, plus an adjoining chic Salon de Champagne bar. The kitchen is delightfully open plan and airy, allowing guests to watch the skilled chefs at work amongst the gleaming selection of copper pots and pans suspended from the ceiling. Light streams through the large windows, treating guests to a charming view of the neighbourhood mews, and come the evening, the softly lit restaurant is an intimate and romantic setting for dinner and drinks. For reservations, call: 020 7724 4700 or www.thearchlondon.com
ROYAL CHINA BAKER STREET 24 Baker Street London W1U 7AB Sister to The Royal China in Queensway, the Baker Street branch is a touch larger, seating 200 at a time, yet has the identical black and gold lacquer decoration. The lengthy menu is the same too, though the actual ability to cook the dishes varies between the two branches. This branch is just down the road from Royal China Club, at 44 Baker Street, a somewhat posher take on the same food but with higher prices. Hot and sour soup here was poorer than the W2 version, a touch less spicy and the stock a little thinner (12/20). Szechuan prawns were much the same, carefully cooked with a slightly sweet chilli sauce (14/20). Gai lan, though, was a notch lower in standard than at the Queensway branch, the broccoli a little undercooked and with less garlic flavuor, though still very good (14/20). Honey-roast pork was pleasant, a generous portion of thinly sliced pork in a rich, slightly sweet sauce (13/20). The egg-fried rice was a notch below the standard it should have been, the rice a little too firm and not as fragrant as that at its sister restaurant (12/20).
The wine list offered around 60 labels, ranging in price from £22 to £1,360, with a median price of £48. Mark-up levels average a hefty 3.3 times retail price, which is pretty high even by the ambitious standards of central London. Examples were Banfi Pinot Grigio San Angelo 2013 at £29 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for just under £10, the lovely Chateau Musar 2000 at £80 for a wine that retails at £25, and Grand Puy-Lacoste 2007 at £120 for something that will set you back £36 in the high street. There is no relief in mark-up terms at the high end of the list either, with Sassacia 2007 at £600 compared to a shop price of 151. The wine list could do with a rethink, and I gather that this is under consideration. Tuna tartare (£15) was enjoyable, the fish of reasonable quality, garnished with a few salad leaves and with a subtle hint of spice (14/20). Prawn tempura (£15) arrived as four pieces, with a light, crisp batter and prawns that had good flavour (14/20). I tried sushi of mackerel (£3.50) and of eel (£4). The fish itself was fine but the rice was cold, when it should be body temperature (13/20). I was dining downstairs and the sushi bar is upstairs, which accounted for the issue. If you are to try sushi here then it is best to sit at the bar and have the sushi chef prepare things in front of you: here the sushi rice is the correct temperature. Sun Ocean is the main fish supplier, along with Atari Ya.
One area where Baker Street outshines Queensway is in the service, which was efficient and quite friendly. At the Queensway Royal China a beer order can arrive in moments or not at all, but usually takes some time – here an extra beer was swiftly brought to the table. The bill came to £34 a head, which was fair given the generally good quality of what arrived on the plate. I felt that, overall, the Queensway branch had a slight edge on the food, the Baker Street one by contrast won on the service. Both are very good restaurants.
KOUZU 21 Grosvenor Gardens London, SW1 0JW Picture Courtesy of Kouzu Kouzu opened in November 2014, the restaurant name meaning “Composition”. The dining area is set out over two levels, with a sushi bar and room upstairs and a further ground floor dining room. The entire restaurant can seat 80 people at one time. Head chef Kyoichi Kai is originally from Kyushu and worked for ten years in Japan before moving to London in 1988. He has since worked at restaurants including the now closed Suntory, for several years at Zuma and most recently as head chef of The Arts Club in Dover Street.
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Cooking with Chef Daniel Boulud Four and a half years ago, during the summer of 2011, Daniel Boulud, the New York-based French chef, told me he had been thinking about a project that we might do together. We were both in France at the time. I was living in Lyons—I had moved there in order to learn French cooking—and Boulud was visiting his family in SaintPierre-de-Chandieu, a nearby village on a wooded ridge in the open countryside. It is where Boulud grew up, on a working farm. For Boulud, the farm childhood was idyllic and not so idyllic. He was allergic to hay. (“How can you be allergic to hay and live on a farm?” his mother, Marie, asked me.) He seemed to be allergic to just about everything else as well. He remembers Easter vacation from school as the time when he couldn’t play soccer with his friends, because he had to weed the garlic field. Shortly before his fourteenth birthday, when he was doing badly in school and had become a worry to his parents, a neighbor intervened, a flamboyant figure known as the Countess. She arrived bearing a no-nonsense, let’s-settle-this-thing-now resolve and asked the boy what he wanted to do in his life. “I want to be a chef,” he said. Then he reflected. “Or maybe a jockey.” In fact, he couldn’t have known much about what a chef actually did. He had never been inside a restaurant. He had never eaten storebought food. On the farm, everything that was put out on the long wooden Boulud kitchen table—two benches running alongside, picnic style—had been produced by his family: milk, wine, cheese, vinegar, vegetables, the salads in the summer, the jars of pickled harvests or conserved fruit the rest of the year, the chicken and the duck and the fatty bacon served cold with breakfast. (Salt and olive oil were got by barter from relatives in the South.) But the Countess—she called herself Countess de Volpi—knew what a chef did. The best
restaurants in and around Lyons were then regarded as among the best in France. She had eaten at all of them. Several had three Michelin stars and a reputation for making the best food on the planet. The Countess was rich, single, brazenly modern. (In the Boulud family’s telling, she was “decadent bourgeoise.” They were paysan.) She had long platinum hair. She owned an American car, a Mustang convertible. Her lover was a wealthy surgeon. She was used to getting her way. She phoned the restaurants—Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel, La Mère Blanc, La Pyramide, La Mère Brazier—and asked them to take on an apprentice. The places were filled. She started in on the two-stars. She scored. Two months after his fourteenth birthday, Daniel Boulud entered a restaurant for the first time, and took, in effect, his first step in the direction of New York. The restaurant was called Nandron. It was off the N7, on a quai facing the Rhône river. Before the expressway, the two-lane N7 was the main route between Paris and the South of France, and many of the region’s dedicatedly gastronomic establishments were on it. Nandron was busy. It had its N7 traffic, and its locals, politicians, bankers, the mayor, businessmen—an affluent clientele, in Daniel’s recollection. He spied them from the kitchen. He wasn’t allowed into the dining room, except on Fridays, when he received his week’s earnings from Madame Nandron, who—a widow when Daniel first showed up, on a June morning in 1969—was always parked near the cash drawer. Her husband, Joannès, had been an advocate of the ancient, highly elaborate French kitchen, la grande cuisine. He had also been an early advocate of training young cooks as apprentices—one of the first in Lyons, according to Boulud. He died in the early sixties, and Gérard, the son, had taken over, but remained committed to his father’s dishes, even when he must have known that French cooking was changing. These were the last days of the
old ways. “Nouvelle cuisine”—the term that the magazine Gault & Millau later made famous, in its issue of October, 1973—was still a rumor in Paris, but it was a rumor that, according to Boulud, everyone in the kitchen was hearing. Nandron, Jr., was also chauvinistically lyonnais—the city was widely accepted as “the gastronomic capital of the world”—and in everything he taught the new apprentice there was usually one of two lessons, either the oldschool way of doing things or the local, lyonnais way. In the weekly chartreuse, a complicated dish that was a house specialty, there were two lessons in one: it was both old school and local. It was made on Mondays. That was when the birds arrived. (Lyons could also be called “the bird-eaters capital of the world.”) Gérard shot them over the weekend. He glided up to the restaurant’s service entrance, a ritual of autumn, in a Citroën DS—de Gaulle’s car, a proclamation of Frenchness and entitlement—and popped open the trunk, from which Daniel, already waiting, gathered up the bounty, removed it to the basement, and began plucking. Daniel was the restaurant’s No. 1 plucker: on a farm, everyone plucks.
Bar Boulud Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park 66 Knightsbridge London SW1X 7LA Phone: 020 7201 3899 This article was originally published in the New Yorker.
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The London Hotel NYC If it were the Bangkok NYC, you’d know to expect visual allusions to Asian temples. If it were the Rio de Janeiro NYC, you could safely assume a palm frond here, some other nod to the tropics over there. But the London NYC? What ready, easy design aesthetic can it tap? Will the bellhops dress like Buckingham Palace guards, and will a replica of Big Ben cast a shadow over the lobby? This being New York instead of Vegas, no. The London NYC doesn’t pretend that the Hudson is the Thames and get overly cute with its advertised Anglophilia. It just names itself for a European capital that’s enjoying a special international vogue right now; installs a restaurant affiliated with one of England’s most celebrated chefs, Gordon Ramsay; then follows the dictates of good taste, not geography. THE LOCATION - The Midtown neighborhood of the hotel, which used to be the Rihga Royal, isn’t particularly romantic or fashionable. But for all-purpose convenience, it’s hard to beat. A business traveler has a quick walk to offices on the Avenue of the Americas. A shopper is just as well positioned, with Fifth Avenue stores in one direction, the Time Warner Center in the other. And a righteous exerciser has Central Park close at hand — or rather foot. THE ROOMS - Accustomed to absurdly cramped Manhattan hotel rooms, I couldn’t
quite get over how much space I had at the London NYC, an all-suite property, considering that my weekend rate was less than $400 a night before taxes and other surcharges. (Standard rates vary from $399 to $899.) The octagonal living room had a kidney-shaped sectional sofa on which at least four people could comfortably sit, a round coffee table that could be elevated to function as a dining table, an enormous desk with a proper desk chair, and enough floor space left over for a Pilates session, had I been so inclined. There was a flat-screen television not only in this room, but also in the bedroom, reached via mirrored French doors. Both rooms were decorated in an understated, handsome brown-and-tan scheme. THE BATHROOMS - Again, startlingly big. Very white, too, its walls and floors made of hand-cut glass tiles. Most impressive: the long shower, with two heads, at opposite ends, so two people can shower at once, or one can do little laps between different sprays of water. No bathtub, though. AMENITIES - The hotel is building a fitness center, scheduled for this summer, and needs one. What now serves as its gym is a series of depressing fourth-floor rooms with gray carpeting, low ceilings and oddly grouped weight and cardio machines.
ROOM SERVICE - Guests can order from an abbreviated version of the restaurant’s menu. When I did, the food, including a sunchoke risotto and a peekytoe crab salad, was as good as it had been in the restaurant. It was pricey, though: dinner for two with wine can easily exceed $150. The meal arrived within 30 minutes and was arrayed beautifully on that rising coffee table. I went out without leaving my completed breakfast card on the doorknob, called the hotel and asked if someone could get it from the desk and submit it. Someone did, and breakfast came right on schedule. BOTTOM LINE - The owners, LXR Luxury Resorts, have fashioned a smartly and indulgently up-to-the-minute space. But there were lapses in the usually good service. While the hotel boasts of concierge services from the firm Quintessentially, my one approach to the concierge desk — to ask about faxing something — prompted a belligerent bark from the man on duty and an eye roll from two nearby employees who had apparently witnessed his charm before. The London NYC Hotel, 151 West 54th Street, New York, N.Y Tel: (866) 690-2029; www.thelondonnyc.com.
The Surrey Hotel By Terry Trucco At a glance: The Surrey’s 2009 deep-dish makeover cost a cool $60 million, we’re told. Costly improvements to older buildings are often hard to see, like the new heating/ cooling system in this Roaring 20s building. But the Surrey’s most delectable upgrades are in plain sight, from the suavely elegant black-and-white bar and the full-service spa to the mosaic tile insets in my bathroom’s marble floor. The splashiest investment was in art. The hotel boasts more than 30 contemporary works sprinkled throughout, from the graphic Jenny Holzers behind the check-in desk to Chuck Close’s tapestry portrait of Kate Moss by the elevators. The art is a fitting homage to this 1926 hotel’s legacy as an art world player. Though art and antiques galleries no longer dominate this stretch of Madison Avenue, plenty are still around. And Les Pleiades, a legendary art world canteen, once flourished where the Surrey bar now stands. The renovation, devised by interiors architect Lauren Rottet, is one of the most elegant, and disciplined, visual statements I’ve ever seen at a hotel. The Surrey sports a sophisticated wardrobe of black, white and gray, leavened by dashes of chocolate brown -- chic, understated hues that complement the hotel’s chic, understated Upper East Side locale and are soothing to boot. By New York standards, the 190-room Surrey is a small hotel, and there’s minimal public space. The fetching lobby, outfitted with a silvery velvet sofa and club chairs, reminded me of the good china used for special occasions – you can alight while awaiting a friend, but you don’t settle in with the Sunday papers. I didn’t care since I felt like I’d walked into a glamorous, black-and-white Horst photo upon entering. The Art Deco vibe is palpable.
Madeleines at turndown and the witty little bedside photo book entitled Sleep, delightful. Rooms: With white walls, white bed linens, a white TV armoire and sheer white pull-down shades, decorative serenity figured large in our room’s DNA. And it worked. If comfort is the ultimate luxury, my Deluxe “salon,” ie a room that isn’t a suite, had luxury in spades, with soft Sferra sheets, thick Pratesi robes, coffee table books stacked in the bedside tables and, the ultimate luxury, a king-size Duxiana bed that was truly heavenly. The luxury didn’t extend to space. Though not small, at 330 square feet the room wasn’t especially large and felt full with a sleek ebony desk, slightly scuffed, a comfortable club chair with footstool, a TV armoire/bureau and that bed eating up the space. The closet, billeted in a handsome build-in wood hutch that included a bar, was also less than large, but I liked the mirror insets on the doors. The look blended traditional elements (bedskirt, curtains, carpeting, tassels) with contemporary style (chocolate leather rectangular headboard; a white-skirted table lamp I loved). In short, the room sang in perfect tune with the classy, polished style of this Upper East Side neighborhood. Even the bathroom had perfect pitch. The look was updated Downton Abbey – white marble, a generous washstand and an elegant mosaic tile inset on the marble floor. Though outfitted with a stall shower instead of a tub, the shower was generous with a stationary showerhead and a hand shower, both excellent. I also liked the bathroom speaker so I could hear the TV when washing up.
Staffers were friendly, eager to please and less formal than at some Upper East Side establishments. (Too informal at check-in -- I waited, ahem, until the attendant had finished a chat with a friend).
Food and drink: Definitely not a poor relation, Café Boulud, the hotel restaurant, is a more relaxed, low-key incarnation of Daniel, uber-chef Daniel Boulud’s flagship restaurant. The haute nouvelle French cuisine, with seasonal inflections, is as stylish as the clientele, who tend to include more locals than hotel guests. (It’s a rich, pricey canteen if you’re having all your meals there.)
More old school was the service at Café Boulud, the multi-starred hotel restaurant overseen by uber-restaurateur Daniel Boulud (yes, they provide room service). As for thoughtful hotel touches like the oshibori on a silver tray at check-in, the chocolate-dipped
The décor marries clean, modern lines with tradition (white tablecloths, fresh flowers on the tables). I breakfasted on a superb Peeky Toe Crab Benedict ($19), one of the best, most imaginative Benedicts I’ve ever eaten. (The coffee was good, too.)
Café Boulud cooks up room service and also supplies the nibbles at Bar Pleiades, the hotel’s gorgeous black and white bar. With a spacious back room of tables whimsically numbered, elegant velvet chairs and the odd bold-face name socialite in the crowd, the bar is good looking and amusing. My companion and I gave the food a 10 (juicy beef sliders, an excellent arugula salad) but the drinks a 6 – too stingy. But the Old Fashioned is appealing if you like sexy drinks and don’t mind paying – yikes! -- $22. Surroundings: Extremely desirable if you crave the established silkiness of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Though on a residential side street, the hotel is steps from a stylish stretch of Madison Avenue populated by shops (the new Ralph Lauren, Frederic Malle’s fragrance boutique, Morgenthal-Fredrics eyeglasses, cool pharmacy Zitomers), fine art and antiques galleries and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The hotel is also near Fifth Avenue’s Museum Row, a formidable line-up including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Guggehneim, the Jewish Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt and more. Midtown shopping is walkable if you like walking (Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, etc) and easily reached by bus (stops are a block away) if not. Though most nearby restaurants are pricey, Madison boasts coffee shops like Viand and Five Guys and deli-like outposts like Dean & Deluca. Lincoln Center is a cab ride away across Central Park. The subway station is several long blocks away. But taxis cruise Madison Avenue regularly. Back story: As you surmise from its betweenthe-wars brick exterior, the Surrey was built in 1926 and started life as a residential hotel, like its chic East Side neighbors the Lowell, Mark and Carlyle. Guests included Bette Davis and Claudette Colbert. 20 East 76th Street, New York, NY Tel: +1 212-288-3700 www.thesurrey.com
The Loews Regency The Regency has a pristine location in the Upper Eastside, a mere 2 blocks from the southeastern corner of Central Park, two blocks from Bloomingdale’s, one block from Barney’s and close to the many other designer boutiques along Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. It is convenient for being near the museums, yet removed from the midtown crush. There are quite a few worldclass restaurants nearby (Aureole could be seen from my room window) as well as excellent bistros and intimate local dining spots. Specifics: I stayed in a “Superior King” Room. It was on the 12th floor. The Bathroom was approx. 5 by 7 and a half feet--probably small for a luxury hotel but it had very nice modern appointments. The bathroom had floor to ceiling polished Botticino marble tile and the vanity countertop was granite with a generous porcelain undermount sink with modern faucets. The tub was generous (deep and wide) and the showerhead was powerful. There was a wall to wall vanity mirror flanked by side mirrors. There was a magnifying “Shaving” mirror and good lighting. There was a small counter TV as well as a phone in the bathroom. Amenities included a 1600watt hairdryer, a vanity set that provided cotton balls, ear swabs, kleenex and the hotel chain toiletries which included facial (glycerine) soap, bathing soap, lotion and shower gel. The hotel provided (4) large bath SHEETS which were plump and thirsty, washcloths, hand towels, good bath mats and a large cotton bathrobe. The bathroom had convenient towel bars, hooks and a shower grab bar--very thoughtful. The only negative in my bathroom was the lack of a fan. The Hallway: had a framed, full-length mirror (great for seeing the ball gown you will be wearing to the Met!) and a lighted hall closet with shelves. The hall closet had a convenient ironing board and iron and good hangers (including padded ones for the ladies fine clothing!). The bedroom closet was kind of small 2’6” X5’, but it had a personal safe - great.
The main room was approximately 23 feet by 13 feet--generous for a Manhattan hotel. It featured a generous, chenille covered club chair with ottoman. There was a pedestal table with (2) upholstered arm chairs--great for eat-in room service. The bed was flanked by (2) generous nighttables with glass tops and lamps. The mattress was firm but comfortable. The bedding was white waffle-weave matelasse with scalloped border-- discreet, elegant and clean. It was made of 80% cotton, 20% poly. It looked brand new but the label had 2003 written in ink on it by magic marker. The sheets were crisp but I was unhappy with the threadcount-- which I was unable to verify. I usually accept nothing less than 400 threadcount and these felt like 250--this is my only serious bedding criticism, but one that a hotel of this standard should address.
board running the width of the room with thick draperies and another set of sheer draperies.
The pillows were awesome-- the hotel prides itself in giving you several options, and they were generously and attractively piled up on the bed. There was also (2) decorative Mohair neckrolls, a down comforter inside of a greycolored fabric that I could not quite identify. This fabric was probably the one design choice I would not have made for aesthetic and other reasons. Across from the foot of the bed was a large and attractive bowfront entertainment center/armoire. This unit housed the 30” Phillips TV, which had a convenient remote. There was also a mini-bar, stocked with all the usual suspects. Also provided is a goodie basket with items such as candies, bottled water, and dog biscuits--since the Regency is pet friendly. The basket items were as expensive as the mini-bar items. On the window side of the room was a wall to wall granite topped desk/executive area. This area ingeniously housed the room air conditioning unit which could be controlled by a wall thermostat. The desk area had a multi-line phone, keyboard for internet (which was interactive with the TV Screen), Regency guestbook/service guide. Best of all in this area, there was an executive swivel chair on rolling wheels with fabric upholstery. Draperies consisted of a cornice
Other comments- The hotel staff was friendly and professional. The hotel manager was also helpful and was always on top of things--he was actually managing. The only complaint I can think of was minor--for some reason, they were unable to make me French Toast for breakfast, even though it is on their breakfast menu.
These were easily adjusted by pulling a wand and sliding the draperies along the track. The bedside also featured another multi-line phone and an alarm clock/radio. Other details: the room had crown molding and attractive carpet. The walls were covered in a wallcovering that was visually soothing-- slightly textured to appear like plaster. The artwork consisted of several black and white photographs of natural themes--flowers, trees, etc. in attractive black frames. The furniture was all rich mahoganys-slightly masculine with stylish contemporary brass pulls. The overall color scheme was sandy tones/puce/taupe-- what I call Armani or Bergdorf Goodman colors. The overall impression was discrete, elegant and hip.
Overall, the Regency was an outstanding hotel--first class accommodations, service, and location. I have now found my home for when I come to Manhattan.”
540 Park Ave, New York City 10021 Tel: +1 212-759-4100 www.loewshotels.com/regency-hotel
The Plaza Hotel NY A $400-million gut renovation completed in 2008 transformed the landmark Plaza Hotel into a true five-star again after years of neglect. Guest floors were gutted down to the beams (and original hallway chandeliers), and rooms were rebuilt in a Louis-XV style echoing the hotel’s original 1907 design, down to the double-P logo doorknobs. Headboards are upholstered leather, desks are made of rare rosewood and walnut with detailed marquetry, and floors are covered in soft, blue-and-gold wool carpeting. There are modern touches, too—a wall-mounted panel allows guests to control lighting schemes or summon the floor’s white-glove butler—and bathrooms are more opulent still, with earth-toned mosaic-tile floors, white marble vanities, and 24-karat-gold-plated Sherle Wagner faucets. The Park-facing-half of the building is now comprised of condos, leaving just 282 guest rooms; more than half of those are part of the Plaza’s fractional-ownership program in which an occupant reserves the room for 120 days a year. The French Renaissance exterior and large public spaces have city-landmark status, so instead of a complete makeover, the ornate
stained-glass laylight atop the Palm Court was carefully recreated to mimic the unsalvageable original, and the gold-leaf ceiling in the foyer near the lobby (itself adorned with giant Baccarat crystal chandeliers and abstract-art prints) has been intricately restored. PROS Butlers on every floor, below-ground retail including a Caudalie Spa and Radu fitness center, plus rare ivory, mother-of-pearl inlays, and intricately-veined marble at every turn. And of course, included in your room rate is the chance to be part of old New York. CONS Don’t expect breathtaking views of Central Park. The part of the building that faces the park is taken up by multi-million-dollar condos. CLAIM TO FAME The Plaza is not only an indelible part of New York history, but a frequent backdrop in popular culture, appearing the “Eloise” book series and in films like Funny Girl, The Great Gatsby, The Way We Were, and of course, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
WEDDINGS Since 1929, the Plaza’s neoclassical ballroom has hosted legendary events such as Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball. Guests can mingle and marvel at the 4,800-square-foot space’s original chandeliers, mirrors, and sconces, while Great Performances—known for using locally grown organic produce—provides the catering. The hotel now offers a “100 Mile Menu” option for couples who want their ingredients sourced from local purveyors.
768 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10019 at Central Park South Tel: 212-549-0550 Fax: 212-759-3001 www.plazany.com
Sofitel New York Over the years since my first ever trip to New York (actually almost 10 years ago… as was in December 2004, that’s a scary thought) I’ve stayed in a few different areas of the city and in different types of place – from hostels dorms, to basic hotels, to much nicer hotels. For this latest trip we stayed at Sofitel New York so I thought it might be hand to share a bit about our stay and generally about places to stay in New York. Area wise I have a few favourites but I do always tend to lean towards staying in the midtown area now as it’s just so central and in the heart of everything – but still really easy to get to a selection of subway lines to get to other areas or boroughs. In terms of central, Sofitel New York couldn’t be much more perfect – right between 5th and 6th Avenues and just a couple of blocks up from Bryant Park and the New York Library. The hotel itself is a little taste of Parisian style in the centre of New York – Sofitel is a french hotel chain and whilst it still has quite a classic New York feel, the french touches can be found all over – from the staff greeting you with Bonjour to Eiffel Tower prints in the lifts. I’ve actually been lucky enough to visit Sofitel
St James in London a couple of times to go to the Spa so I already had a bit of a taste of the Sofitel experience so had total confidence it was going to be a good place to stay. THE ROOM Our room was on one of the upper floors and the real ‘wow’ factor came from the amazing view. I adore a skyline view and this one has to be one of the best. Our room was looking East towards the Chrysler Tower, which is actually one of my favourite buildings in New York (probably above the Empire State to be honest). The view also meant that we got some amazing sun rise shots – one thing to be happy about jet lag for. Also on the room – one of the major stand out factors for me was how insanely comfy the bed was. To the level of comfort that I find myself daydreaming about the cloud-like mattress. It had that perfect balance between firm and sink-in-softness. So comfy. The bathroom was also impressive – with both a bath and an amazing rain-head shower, it was spacious by any hotel standards and seriously huge by New York hotel standards.
THE FOOD The hotel also has a restaurant that we didn’t get chance to eat at – but it is apparently very good. It does also have a more casual bistro set up which is also the destination for breakfast. The breakfast food was good – a good range from the classic American style of pancakes/ eggs/bacon (drool) to more Parisienne style of croque monsieur (made with French toast) which is pretty epic (and sets you up well for a day of pounding the streets of the city). Service wise, we found the bistro to be a bit hit and miss each day but as an included breakfast the food was lovely and much better than the usual generic hotel buffet. Hotels in New York are typically quite pricey and as we were there for a VERY busy weekend (NYC Marathon weekend) the rooms were in quite a lot of demand. But as with all hotels – it’s always good to book early to get the better rates. SOFITEL New York 45 W 44th St New York NY 10036 United States Tel: +1 212-354-8844
The Viceroy Hotel NY I saw a pillow in John Lewis the other day that cost £85 and I thought: ‘How can that aid slumber any better than a pillow costing tens of pounds less?’ I don’t know how much the pillows at the Viceroy New York cost – but I would be prepared to pay at least three figures for just one of them. They are extraordinary.
the decor resembles that of the bedrooms, with the same tones, luxurious woods and sumptuous leather. The coffee is smooth and strong, the orange juice long and fresh, the frittata with maple bacon spot-on – and the service nothing short of exemplary.
I’d had a scout around the hotel’s website before arriving, and didn’t notice any pillow previews. They deserve their own microsite. As I lie down, the prospect of wakefulness disappears in a flash. My head sinks right into the pillow, yet it feels supported. In fact, the whole Viceroy bed is heavenly. Climbing into one is like falling into the arms of an angel.
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In the morning, the weariness brought on by transatlantic travel is banished. So I decide to inspect the rest of the ‘deluxe’ twin room that I’m sharing with my travelling companion - my mum. The beds are in a cocoon of rich wooden furnishings, from the bedside wardrobes to the writing table.
The dinner experience is similarly enticing. I’m always encouraged by menus that don’t have too many dishes on them – it’s usually a sign that quality is the priority. And that’s the case at Kingside. It is a fusion of Italian, French and American cooking, with offerings such as roasted wild king salmon with asparagus and green onion, braised pork shank with roasted shallots, certified angus 32oz cowboy rib eye and lamb chops with chickpeas and yoghurt.
It doesn’t feel like a hotel room, more like someone’s trendy Manhattan apartment. The bathroom is a work of art, with an impossibly grand round mirror above the sink. It is complemented by a satellite shaving mirror that you can swing from side to side on a metal arm. It looks very expensive. A walk-in rain shower completes the set-up. The Viceroy New York, which opened last October, has other aces up its sleeve – one being the location. For one, it is on West 57th Street, which puts you within walking distance of a whole feast of Big Apple musts. Central Park? Two minutes’ walk away. Rockefeller Center? Seven minutes south, by foot. Museum of Modern Art? You’ll measure the time it takes to get there in seconds. Carnegie Hall, meanwhile, is practically next door. Before you head out though, do not skip the Viceroy breakfast. It is served in the hotel’s bistro-esque Kingside restaurant - where
Me? I go for the Kingside Burger with white cheddar and giardiniera relish. It is tender and perfectly cooked, but does look a bit lonely on the big white plate. I’m surprised the hotel hasn’t caught on to the hipster method of burger presentation, using a wooden chopping board, given the hotel’s love of quality wood. Mother Thornhill opts for a shaved kale salad with goat cheese and toasted almonds, which also gets the thumbs-up. I wash down the burger with a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, which is suitably fruity. The quality of the restaurant is underscored by the fact that people not staying at the hotel travel here to dine. The rooftop bar is also a destination watering hole – a magnet for trendy young professionals. But it’s the view that is the biggest draw. It almost makes me gasp.
The rooftop looks out over Central Park and the whole of upper Manhattan. At 29 floors, the Viceroy is by no means the tallest building in the area, but it doesn’t need to be - because it’s higher than enough of the surrounding structures to facilitate prime cityscape gazing. The bar takes mixology seriously. House cocktails include the Espresso Martini, Mojito and Without Fear, made using Jameson Black Barrel whiskey with apricot liquer. We stay on a Monday and Tuesday, and the atmosphere is lively on both nights. There is also a bar at the front of the Kingside restaurant, at street level, which is similarly beguiling. There are a few extra snazzy garnishes at the Viceroy that raise its cool factor. I like the fact that you sign in by finger-writing your signature on an iPad at the reception desk – and that every bedroom comes with a Beats by Dr Dre beatbox - and a smartphone preloaded with information about the hotel, from room service to the cocktail menu. Very hip. Wi-fi, meanwhile, is free and very fast. Are there any downsides? Yes, but we’re quibbling here. Viceroy New York doesn’t have a lot of girth, and some may find the standard rooms a tad compromised space-wise. But for a few nights, they are perfect. There are 240 rooms in total, including some pricier suites - 43 of them - with more space for spreading out This is a hotel that inflates your ego – you’ll want to boast to people that you are staying there. It has poise, finesse and beautifully choreographed suave styling that may make you feel as if you are living in an aftershave advert. Viceroy New York rooms start at $309 (£186) per night ($309). www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/newyork To book or call +1 855 647 1619.
The Pierre Hotel If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to wake up in a classic Manhattan apartment across the street from Central Park, look no further. This silky Fifth Avenue Jazz Age Tower feels more like an apartment building than a hotel, no doubt because apartments dwarf the number of hotel rooms. Like the Gershwin songs it embodies the Pierre is stylish, polished and timeless. Quiet, too. Even when a wedding or partners’ dinner spills out of the ballroom, the building feels hushed, the pace unhurried. Following a grand-scale renovation the hotel reopened in 2009 with a high-tech climate system, 21st-century wiring and new guest room bathrooms, many enlarged. The crisp black-and-white lobby channels the hotel’s Art Deco origins and serves up modest seating on velvet club chairs. An impressive collection of modern Indian artworks offers high-brow eye candy, a nod to the hotel’s current management team, India’s Taj Hotel Group, which oversaw the renovation. It’s not a lobby for hanging out, though stacks of the Financial Times offer sprightly pink accents and invite you to settle in, at least briefly. Mostly you see people on the move, from well-heeled international travelers to familiar faces (I spotted political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin recently). The renovation ushered in notable changes on the main floor. Afternoon tea – and drinks – are served in Two East, a glamorous, windowless black and white bar carved from offices and the hotel library. And the rotunda, its walls bedecked with paintings of 1960s society figures, offers spill-over seating for the ballrooms (in other words, you can sit and check your messages in one of New York’s prettiest hotel spaces, but you can’t sip tea and champagne anymore). Rooms: Fresh from the Pierre’s 2009 renovation and awash in pale hues and thick Bangalore silks, they’re a reminder that traditional rooms, well designed and smartly appointed, never go out of style. Typical of prewar towers, rooms come in wildly different sizes and shapes (don’t expect boxes) and vary from spacious to really-small-for-$500-a-night. The two suites I saw were large, gracious and felt more like Fifth Avenue apartments than hotel rooms (besides a kitchenette,
one included a sprawling terrace crying out for a cocktail party with sculptures, planters and a sliver view of Central Park). Both suites, dressed in soothing shades of pale blue, celadon and cream, had separate seating rooms with plenty of room for a sofa and woodframe side chairs adorned with silk pillows. A king bed flanked by polished wood tables anchored the roomy light-filled bedrooms. In one the flatpanel TV stood on an antique veneered table. Bathrooms, enlarged during renovation and clad floor to ceiling in polished oatmeal-colored marble, are lovely with a stall shower, soaking tub and flatpanel TV. Modern Indian paintings and prints adorn the walls. The standard room I saw, one of the hotel’s smallest, was beautifully appointed but not very big. A long, narrow hall let to the sleeping area whose large window overlooked a dark courtyard, not Central Park like the suites. Though the marble bathroom sparkled it was snug with a stall shower but no tub. In other words, a very nice place to park the body guards or baby sitters while the family, CEO or prince, takes the suite. Cool detail: Mattresses, specially made for the hotel by Sealy, are a mix of bamboo and silver steel. Two East, the hotel’s stylish bar and lounge, serves up adventurous drinks and nibbles in a serene, windowless black-and-white surrounding. The specialty drinks menu changes seasonally and has run the gamut of barrel-aged cocktails to Micro Mixology, trends rarely seen at luxy midtown hotel bars. The bar is quiet and sophisticated but not stuffy -- a winning combination, in other words. Amenities: The plush fitness center features changing rooms with showers. A spa is scheduled to open in 2012. In the meantime, in-room Indian-inspired Jiva treatments are available. The public spaces feature notable modern Indian paintings from the Taj Paintings Collection; once a month private guided tours of the hotel’s art collection are offered by experts like Priyanka Matthew, Southeast Asian paintings specialist at Sotheby’s. Wellness cuisine menu available, complete with calorie counts, in rooms. WiFi ($15 a day). Surroundings: The Pierre perches on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park – it doesn’t get much more blue chip than this. The Central Park Zoo is steps away as is Wollman
Rink for ice skating. The Plaza Hotel with its shops and food court is also nearby. Shopping is tip top. Barneys is around the corner and Bergdorf-Goodman, Tiffany & Co. and assorted heavy-duty designer boutiques are close by as is the Paris Theater, one of New York’s last single-screen theaters (compete with a balcony). The area is filled with excellent if pricey restaurants. Lincoln Center is straight across the park, easily reachable by taxi or cross-town bus. Museum row – the Metropolitan Museum, Guggenheim, Frick Collection, etc – is straight up Fifth Avenue. Bus stops are directly across the street, and a subway stop is around the corner. And taxis, of course, prowl Fifth Avenue. Back story: Named for Pierre Casalasco, its first managing director, this 41-story Georgianinflected building stands on the spot once occupied by the mansion of Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry, grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Architects Shultze and Weaver designed the hotel in the style of a French chateau. Unfortunately, opened in 1930 on the heels of the 1929 stock market crash. Within three years, the 700-room hotel, fashioned “to create the atmosphere of a private club or residence instead of the average hotel atmosphere,” was sold at auction. Casalasco stayed on as manager until his death in 1934, and the hotel proved popular with New York society. Still, Depression prices allowed John Paul Getty to buy the hotel in 1938 for a mere $2.5 million, less than one-fifth of its nominal value. In 1950, the hotel was the first in New York with radios and television sets in every room. Nine years later, the Pierre became a cooperative, with the lion’s share of the rooms – including those with the best views – snapped up by the permanent residents. The rest of the rooms continued to operate as a hotel. Various management companies oversaw the property, including Britain’s Trust House Forte and Four Seasons, which oversaw a $15 million renovation in 1981. Keep in mind: Though the hotel overlooks Fifth Avenue and Central Park, the privately owned condominiums that comprise the bulk of the building score the best views. The Pierre Hotel 2 E 61st St, New York, NY Tel: +1 212-838-8000
The Carlyle It’s impossible to imagine certain hotels in any city other than New York. That pretty much sums up the Carlyle, a bred-to-the-bone Art Deco New Yorker, from its chic black-andwhite lobby to the urbane Bemelmans Bar. The Carlyle nimbly treads a delicate line. Built in 1930, it’s historic without being creaky, luxurious without being ostentatious and coolly nonchalant about its considerable creature comforts, from the Leger paintings in the lobby to the tray tables stashed in guest room closets for breakfast in bed. It’s also extravagantly unhip, a status that has not deterred visitors from George and Amal Clooney to Will and Kate. It’s easy to indulge in nostalgia here – the Fred and Ginger vibe is palpable as is the aura of mid-to-late 20th-century New York icons like cabaret artist Bobby Short and filmmaker Woody Allen, who shot parts of Hannah and Her Sisters here. But the Carlyle thrives in the real world. The lobby’s gold velvet chairs and spotless white walls look fresh. The deeply luxurious – and frightfully expensive – spa is of the moment. And while those polite, liveried, white-gloved attendants manning the automatic elevators seem a quaint throwback to Louis Auchincloss era, they’re providing a layer of 21st-century security. The lobby, reminiscent of the original Dorothy Draper designs, is more majestic than welcoming, and though spacious, was all but deserted, save uniformed staffers. Instead, guests, neighborhood regulars and a sampling from art and literary circles congregate in the Gallery, the heady tea room redolent of a sultan’s lounge, and Bemelmans Bar, with witty murals by illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the Madeline books (in exchange, Bemelmans and his family lived in the hotel for a year and a half gratis). As for rooms, more than a dozen come with grand pianos, and original Piranesi and Audubon prints hang in most, personally chosen by Peter Sharp, the hotel’s third owner. The Carlyle was once an apartment hotel, after all. In many ways, it still is. Renovation alert: My room was in good shape (see below), but many rooms are worn and stodgy. In January 2015, the hotel announced the leading design firm Tony Chi and Associated would be redoing the rooms. Excellent news.
Rooms: They come in all sizes and shapes and seem as if they belong in a classic prewar Park Avenue apartment instead of a hotel. My sixth-floor room could have been one of Nan Kempner’s guest rooms, at least as I’d imagine it – Chinese red wallpaper, wheat wainscoting and a whipped cream white beamed ceiling. Stylish but not edgy, in other words, and more comfortable than spectacular. Among the quietly luxurious details were the hardwood floor warmed by a large area rug, Yves Delorme sheets and an enormous walk-in closet that lighted up automatically when I opened the door. The centerpiece, a king-size bed dressed for day in a brocade bedcover folded at the foot and expertly turned down at night, lounged opposite a large bureau lighted by porcelain-based table lamps. A French-inflected writing desk perched between two large windows dressed in floor-kissing curtains and white sheers. Given the Dorothy Draper-meets-Bonfire of the Vanities setting, the electronics -- iHome clock-radio, flatpanel Panasonic high-def TV, WiFi – seemed more dutiful than heartfelt. And seriously, should a luxury hotel charge $14.95 a night for WiFi? Every precious inch was maximized in the chicbut-extremely-compact marble-and-mirrored bathroom. The white vanity did double duty, stashing the hairdryer and scale behind its doors and providing sufficient counter space for a traveler without too many toiletries. The large tub, shielded by a glass door embellished with a frosted Carlyle crest, featured a whirlpool bath. The highlight was the excellent showerhead. As for the fresh orchids, bliss. For an old hotel, the room was in good repair, though I spotted nicks on the walls. The creamy white fabric headboard, no doubt Scotch-guarded to the max, was spotless. And the mattress was divine. Food and drink: Proof positive that tradition, style, formality and comfort can still team up successfully, the main dining room flaunts classic components like velvet banquettes with throw pillows, white table cloths and a gorgeous marble fireplace. In short, the restaurant looks like what it is -- a classic high-end hotel dining room that’s beautifully maintained. I passed on the $35 breakfast buffet and opted for the $18 Eggs Benedict (selections are as classic as the surroundings) and a $7 pot of coffee, not thrilling but good. My corner
banquette was an ideal place to read a newspaper (I chose from a stack at the entry) and gaze out at my fellow diners, which included well-heeled Europeans, a good-looking neighborhood family and an amorous pair of -- yikes -- septuagenerians at the next table. Tea is served daily in the Gallery, Renzo Monglardino’s heady riff on the sultan’s dining room at Topkapi palace. It’s a terrific, over-the-top room, but it’s showing its age. Bemelmans Bar features live music nightly – pianist Chris Gillespe played smooth standards during my stay – potent drinks and an urbane atmosphere. Café Carlyle, long-time home to Bobby Short, offers sophisticated, high-end dinner theater with performers like Ute Lemper, Judy Collins, Barbara Cooke and Woody Allen. The room looks smart following a thoughtful 2007 renovation by designer Scott Salvator. Amenities: The white third-floor fitness center is light filled, strategically mirrored and well equipped with cardio and weight-training gear and machines. The spa is drop-dead gorgeous but pricey. Complimentary newspapers. Frette robes in the rooms. Kiehls bath products. WiFi ($14.95 a day). Sturdy but high-tech metal keys instead of keycards. Lemon water is offered on a table in the lobby. Pets allowed up to 25 lbs., $50 a night; dog-walking available. Surroundings: The Carlyle sits on a plush Madison Avenue block within walking distance of the best the Upper East Side has to offer. The cream of Manhattan’s museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Museum, the Jewish Museum and the CooperHewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design, are an easy walk away. Zitomer’s, an uber-pharmacy with a top-flight make-up, fragrance and jewelry selection, is across the street. Topnotch art galleries, boutiques and restaurants line the street. High-end department stores, including Barneys, Bergdorf-Goodman and Bloomingales are slightly farther afield but easy to reach. The subway is a schlep, but bus stops are steps away. And taxis cruise Madison and nearby Fifth Avenue constantly. The Carlyle Hotel 35 East 76th St. New York, 10021, USA Tel: +1 212 744 1600 | Reservations: 888 ROSEWOOD (888 767 3966)
Ian Fleming By Paul English Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, leaves a legacy as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Fleming’s contribution to popular literature and post-war Western culture cannot be overstated. Fleming singlehandedly transformed popular detective and spy fiction from the dark, middle-class heroes of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Sapper, to the elegant world of his own, seen through the eye of James Bond, secret agent 007. Bond grew from the literary world of Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, E. Phillips Oppenheim, John Buchan and Sax Rohmer. Fleming argued that he created Bond as “an interesting man to whom extraordinary things happen.” Fleming appropriated the name “James Bond” from the author of Birds Of The West Indies because he felt the name suitably “dull” and “anonymous.” In contrast to Fleming’s desire, Bond’s skill at high-stakes gambling (Casino Royale), his easy of knowledge of the best wines, champagnes, automobiles, and cigarettes made 007 an icon of class. From Dom Perignon to Morland’s cigarettes, from Bentleys to Aston Martins, James Bond defines a certain elegant taste (Bond’s original Bentley was a nod to Bulldog Drummond’s identical car). The following excerpt shows how in Bond’s world, an ordinarily generic meal like breakfast can turn into a remarkable experience:
‘’When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex, of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar. The single egg, in the dark blue eggcup with a gold ring round the top, was boiled for three and a third minutes.
doubts concerning the attraction he felt for certain women. James Bond never paused before a kiss, nervously concerned with rejection. In fact, Bond’s only real rejection in the novels (by Gala Brand in Moonraker) comes as a brutal shock. This inner confidence made both Bond and Fleming heroes of the more sexually open world of the 50s and 60s.
It was a very fresh, speckled brown egg from French Marans hens owned by some friend of May’s in the country. (Bond disliked white eggs and, faddish as he was in many small things, it amused him to maintain that there was such a thing as a perfect boiled egg.)
By 1960 Ian Fleming, James Bond, and Playboy magazine became a nearly synonymous cultural force, truly united with Playboy’s publication of The Hildebrand Rarity. The union of styles and tastes continued beyond Fleming’s death into the mid-1960’s. Fleming’s heroines, while certainly not paragons of feminism, are universally strong, and often tragic figures. Rarely damsels in distress, the “Bond women” (or more commonly, “Bond girls”) tend to have their own agendas, solid strengths, and an ability to stand on their own.
Then there were two slices of whole-wheat toast, a large pat of deep yellow Jersey butter and three squat glass jars containing Tiptree “Little Scarlet” strawberry jam; Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum’s. The coffee pot and the silver on the tray were Queen Anne and the china was Minton, of the same dark blue and gold and white as the egg cup’’ (From Russia With Love, written in 1956) Fleming’s easy use of detail and brand names to define his characters helped blaze a new style in popular literature where the real world and the fictional world collided. While the James Bond of Fleming’s writing expressed his fears and doubts about his missions and actions, Bond never expressed
Fleming’s villains provide the author with great opportunity to explore larger themes. Through the grand schemes of Mr. Big, Sir Hugo Drax, Goldfinger, Dr. No, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Fleming wages a literary - battles with the deadly sins. Sloth, vengeance, greed, and snobbery are but some of the dragons Bond must battle in human form. Fleming’s literary legacy continues to this day. Authors such as Len Deighton, Tom Clancy, John LeCarré and hundreds of others have all traveled the road Fleming pioneered.
interview Jul/Dec 2015
i-MAGAZINE interviews Ben Elliot the co-founder of Quintessentially.com, nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall, and the purveyor of “access to the inaccessible.”
Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?
Last year was an extremely exciting yet busy one for me, so it was wonderful spending the festive season in a much more low key manner. I spent Christmas with my new wife and puppy, and our families, down in the countryside, and then went to Scotland near Inverness with a group of friends to break in the New Year in true highland fashion…walking in the snow and drinking good malt whisky.
The best party you have ever been to?
I have been lucky enough to have - been to some pretty amazing parties in my life. While I have left a lot of my party days behind me, there are still occasionally some that really stand out. The Royal Wedding last year will obviously forever remain embedded in my memory. It was a truly wonderful event and one that made me very proud to be British. My wife will also jab me in the ribs if I don’t mention our own wedding last year, which was obviously the best party I have ever been to.
How do you stay on top of global trends in order to bring the best service to your discerning clientele?
Quintessentially started in London in 2000 as a small London based concierge company. We were looking after some of the city’s most prolific and discerning individuals. From the very beginning our focus has always been on service; proactive and dedicated to each individual. Quintessentially is now in over 62 cities around the world and so we have experts on the ground in every corner of the globe, relaying information on global trends to all the worldwide offices, so we’re able to intimately know the various markets and their emerging trends.
What advice would you give to New York women about British men? There seems to be a revival in your appeal at the moment...
I love New York as a city. I lived there for many years when I started up Quintessentially in the states, and I actually met my wife in the Big Apple - she is half American and her father, the singer Steve Winwood, is English. However sadly I’m not sure how much advice I can offer New York women about British men...Mars and Venus and all of that...I’m still a bit clueless myself.
Having founded a company which now has offices in every corner of the globe, any tips for young entrepreneurs?
Most beloved purchase?
Without a doubt, Clive is my most beloved purchase. Clive is our miniature dachshund puppy which we got last year. He is absolutely part of the family and I love having his company on my early morning runs.
Where do you believe the luxury market is heading? Trends you see for 2015 and beyond?
Summing up a single global trend is very difficult, as every market varies. In Europe, for example, the recent economic turmoil has caused a return to craftsmanship, where we have seen our members continue to spend but on luxury items, but those that are made to last, which are investments, and that are created with true quality in mind. In China the luxury market is booming, with a massive interest in foreign luxury brands. Our wine business, Quintessentially Wine, has been booming in recent years with particular emphasis on the Asian market as their thirst for luxury beverages continues to grow. We have also noticed a massive increase globally in requests from members interested in mind-blowing, money-can’t-buy experiences. Nowadays it seems you have to really get creative to do something that your neighbour hasn’t, so we’ve helped arrange trips for members to trek through the Antarctica to see the Emperor Penguin colonies, sky dive off Mount Everest, attend world film premiers, and have dinner with presidents.
I would say that it is important not to let anyone deter you from trying something that you have faith in. If you think it is a good idea, and you are a driven, intelligent and passionate person, then someone else might also believe it is a venture to take notice of. When we first launched Quintessentially there were hordes of people out there convinced that we’d fail in the first year, and that the idea was ridiculous. My partners and I were extremely dedicated to ensuring that we did not fail. We slept with our mobiles under our pillows, personally ensuring that every member had uninterrupted 24/7 support. The company thankfully went from strength to strength, and today we’re in over 60 cities and have an additional 32 sister businesses, including divisions in wine, travel, public relations, and real estate. It is extremely important to have the right team behind you. We’d never be where we are today without the hard work, the dedication and the creativity of the Quintessentially worldwide team. Each individual brings something new to the project, and we are passionate about nurturing each individual’s flair and ideas. I would also say that to succeed you will inevitably have a few stumbles along the way, while you iron out the kinks. But that is no bad thing. Try various ideas and if they don’t work, try something else. Learn from your mistakes. When we originally launched in China back in 2007 we went straight into the mainland, which we later discovered wasn’t’ the best idea.
Russia and The World By Lord Soley of Hammersmith
We are living through a dangerous period in world affairs. We are rightly shocked by the extreme violence of ISIL in the Middle East and the serious threat it poses in the region. Together with extreme acts of terrorism this is a real and present threat to everyone. While we have to stay focussed on the Middle East we must not ignore the threat to world peace and stability posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. How are we to manage our evolving relationship with Russia and the ever-present potential for continuing conflict in and around the former states of the Soviet Union? This is a matter which demands our attention. We should start with an attempt to understand the Russian position, and this demands some understanding of its recent history. Russia had a particularly tragic 20th century. Two world wars costing millions of lives, a revolution that went terribly wrong and a brutal dictator who exiled millions and created famines that starved millions. Then in the late 20th century the entire empire collapses into economic and political chaos. Not a happy period for any country and particularly galling for one which saw itself as a world leader. Sadly, Russia has never experienced a free and stable society based on the rule of law and democracy. From the Czar to Putin, authoritarian government has been the norm. Add to this sorry history a President who is a strong nationalist and who feels that Russia did not get the understanding it needed from the West and you have a potent mix for misunderstanding and misjudgement that could take us back into a cold war or worse. It is important to acknowledge that the EU and the USA made mistakes in dealing with post-Soviet Russia. We did sound unduly triumphant in relation to the former USSR. We did underestimate the importance that Ukraine holds in the hearts and minds of the Russian people and not just to the Russian government. We did underestimate the fear that many Russians have of attack from the West. Two world wars and Napoleon‘s invasion echo down the years in the Russian mindset and play on fears of attack from the West. All of this leads some people to excuse Putin’s behaviour. I and others beg to differ. It is not just the military force used in the Ukraine
conflict that causes concern. Military force was also used against Georgia, and with great brutality in the Chechen Republic. The annexation of Crimea – after the Ukraine had given up all its nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment from Russia, the US and the UK to respect its borders – has done great damage to the post-1945 consensus that borders should not be changed by force. Add to this the already shaky commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, and one has to wonder how many states will now feel that withdrawal of nuclear weapons puts them at risk of invasion. Why should any country with nuclear weapons give them up when Ukraine found the promise to respect its borders to be worthless? A question incidentally that should trouble the SNP in Britain when they call for unilateral nuclear disarmament. And how many states contemplating acquisition of nuclear weapons will take the view that possessing nuclear weapons is more likely to protect their territorial integrity then giving them up in exchange for ‘guarantees’?
It might be felt that the events I describe are unduly alarmist. Let me be very clear. I do not think Putin wants war. Neither do I think Russia poses a comparable danger to that posed by Nazi Germany. Analogies of that type are alarmist, but a number of commentators draw an analogy between today’s international order and the world situation in 1914 and here I too think there are some worrying similarities.
Such foreign policy issues have to be seen in conjunction with growing repression in Russia, the destruction of a free press, rampant corruption and above all, its utter contempt for the rights of opposition politicians, journalists and activists.
The real danger here is that Russia is left friendless and angry. Russia wants to be a European power but spurned by Europe she turns to the East for friends. Sadly, that doesn’t work either. Modern China has no need of Russia and the Ussuri river clashes between China and Russia in 1969 when China claimed that the treaties were forced on a weak China by the colonial power, Russia, leave the ever present danger of China reclaiming the lost territories.
In Britain we have good reason to question the policy of a Russian government that refuses to co-operate with an investigation into how Polonium 210 could be obtained from a nuclear plant, taken across Europe to the UK, used to poison someone and then leave a trail back to Moscow. You don’t have to believe that Putin is personally responsible but you do have to believe that he has a duty to citizens in Russia as well as in Britain to co-operate in finding an explanation and bringing the culprits to justice. There is a perfectly valid argument that says the EU should have been more circumspect about expanding its membership eastwards without giving sufficient attention to Russian concerns and the same applies to the expansion of NATO. But people who use this argument need to remember that most of the former members of the USSR have vivid memories of being occupied and on a number of occasions brutally repressed when they tried to achieve their independence. It is not just Russia that is fearful of attack.
Now, as in 1914, we have the dominant world power increasingly challenged by rising powers. Referring to the US and the West generally as “decadent”, Putin makes no secret of his anger at US supremacy and calls for a change in the world order. And yet Russia is too weak to challenge western political and economic supremacy. Does this mean that Russia and the US are likely to clash militarily? I don’t think that necessarily follows although it would be foolish to rule it out altogether. Nobody wants war now and nobody wanted war in 1914 when we stumbled into it.
The world is even more unstable now, much as it was when the last great power, Britain, was being challenged by other rising powers resenting British dominance culminating in the 1914-18 war. The US is currently still the dominant power but there is a real desire by many nations to challenge Western dominance. Russia is a weak but angry power with its own internal instability problems. A wise leader might try and modernise government and move it towards a more European destiny. That is not in Mr Putin’s psychology and that makes the situation dangerous. All of this provides a depressing background to our relationship with Russia. So what is the way forward? Can we restore some stability to this dangerous situation? NATO will remain our focus for defence policy and we must now improve the way that organisa-
tion works with the EU to ensure that Russia understands the commitment we give under Article 5 of the NATO charter. At the same time we must also use all our efforts to build relationships with the people of Russia – this is part of what is sometimes called ‘soft power’ and it is not an easy option in the face of Russian government policy. Following the intervention in Ukraine it was important for the West to react but we should not kid ourselves into thinking that sanctions are a good answer. They are just the least bad alternative in a difficult situation. Sanctions play into the Russian mentality of ‘the West is out to get us’. They also play into the image of ‘long suffering Russia’. “We are strong. We can take it”: so goes the conventional refrain, at the same time emphasising Putin’s policy of making Russia self-sufficient. In what he often describes as the largest country in the world Putin can call for self-sufficiency, even as it sounds a somewhat unrealistic target in the modern high tech world we all inhabit.
Ironically, the soft underbelly of Putin’s nationalistic fervour is the well-educated Russian people. Many of them do know what is happening in the outside world. They may be marginalised and at times seriously persecuted but that doesn’t mean they are without influence within Russia. Despite the curbs on the internet Russians are able to communicate with people in other countries, and slowly but surely Russia is changing. How else can we move forward? When the former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Sir Richard Shirreff asks “Where is Britain?” and a House of Lords EU committee says that Britain has not been “as active or as visible as it could have been”, we have to ask ourselves as a nation what is our role and why have we lost so much influence in Europe? And from there we have to ask how can we rebuild Britain’s influence? Our role in the EU is crucial and in the current unstable situation it is a crisis that demands
statesmanship, not manoeuvring for Party advantage. If the British government sends out conflicting signals on our membership of the EU we must not be surprised if we lose influence as a result. We used to have quite extraordinary influence in Europe and not just because we played such a crucial role in the war and in the post war period. We also had governments determined to be engaged and to lead the debates in Europe. That is no longer the case and consequently we have been on the side-lines of the crisis in Eastern Europe. If we wish to see a revival of British influence then the government has to lead in Europe and work closely with our partners. British history and experience is too important to be lost in the present unstable world. Leadership in Europe should not be left to Germany alone, and Germany more than most would welcome a strong partner creating a foreign and defence strategy that allows Europe to respond effectively to President Putin’s Russia.
Pictured Watch: Montblanc Heritage ChronomĂŠtrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph
The Bold & The Beautiful Baselworld 2015 spoiled us watch lovers, with an impressive display of new designs, movements and limited editions inspired by iconic time pieces. We have taken our pick among the offer in menâ€™s watches, concentrating in sport models reminiscing of the good old times.
The Tiffany CT60 Chronograph â€“ Inspiration from the Big Apple Inspired by the city of New York, the Tiffany CT60 Chronograph speaks of long, lazy summer evenings in the Hamptons. Manufactured in stainless steel, with a 42mm diameter, this stylish time piece has a self-winding mechanical movement. The blue soleil dial silver poudrĂŠ numerals together with the blue alligator strap tell a tale of tradition with a tinge of rebellion. www.tiffany.co.uk 25 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4QB
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms – In support of our oceans This Ocean Commitment limited edition is the first in a series of limited edition diving watches par of the Blancpain Ocean Commitment project. For each watch sold, Blacpain is donating £1,000 to support scientific expeditions. Although this watch pays homage to the original Fifty Fathoms, this limited edition showcases Blancpain’s latest movement, the F385, which runs at the high frequency of 5HZ and uses silicon for the balance wheel spiral. The blue theme carries over from the ceramic rotating bezel over to the dial. The winding rotor has been specially decorated for this series bearing the logo for the Ocean Commitment. www.blancpain.com 11 New Bond Street, W1S 3SR
GlashĂźtte Original- Senator Observer This observation watch defies the tradition of using hand â€“wound movements and instead features an automatic movement with a 55 hour power reserve. It comes in a 44mm case fashioned of polished and satin-brushed stainless steel and is available with a black calfskin strap fitted with a stainless steel fold-over clasp or with a polished stainless steel link bracelet. www.glashuette-original.com
Jaeger-Le Coultreâ€™s Grande Reverso 1931 Seconde Centrale This elegant time piece is directly inspired by the original 1935 model. The Grande Reverso 1931 Seconde Centrale watch once again showcases Jaeger-Le Coultreâ€™s rich watchmaking heritage and its flawless design. It plays homage to the idea that revolutionised the industry at the time: a watch that could protect itself from shocks and at the same time, offered a personalised engraved background. Equipped with a Jaeger-LeCoultre self-winding mechanical movement, this new Reverso combines the comfort of a contemporary watch with a timeless vintage aesthetic. www.jaeger-lecoultre.com 13 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4SX
Why Buy a Men’s Luxury Watch? When staring longingly at a luxury watch in a display counter, many gentlemen find themselves torn between the financial cost of the timepiece and the potential benefits of owning it. But what, exactly, are those benefits, and why do so many men make the plunge and invest their hard-earned money in a brand name watch? From social cues to investment advice, let’s take a no-nonsense look at why men wear luxury watches: TOP-QUALITY TIMEKEEPING Beyond aesthetics, there is a one very basic thing that every watch must do well: keep the time. While low-priced watches are typically mass-produced by unskilled laborers (often in poorer countries where “quality control” is virtually unheard of), skilled artisans are usually behind the crafting of luxury timepieces. Famous watchmaking companies like Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe employ master horologists to put together their signature timepieces in state-of-the-art Swiss facilities, where standards of craftsmanship are kept remarkably high; for instance, Patek Philippe’s timepieces are so intricate that they typically take between 10 months (for basic models) and 2 years (for extremely complex models) to be manufactured. This top-tier level of quality, in craftsmanship as well as materiel, ensures that luxury watches are able to reliably keep the time – often for decades or more – with only minor tune-ups being necessary every five years or so. Conversely, for a cheap, mass-produced watch to survive five years is nearly unheard of. When you factor in the many additional features that luxury watches include, such as water-resistance for sports watches or aeronautical gauges for aviation watches, their legendary reliability becomes all the more impressive to behold. INVESTMENT VALUE Although it is true that luxury timepieces are investments in the functional sense that they will last their buyers many years, they are also investments in the sense that they are composed of valuable substances which retain value over time. One need only
look at gold’s meteoric rise in value over the past decade to be reminded of the potential long-term value of jewelry pieces composed of such precious metals.
FROM FATHER TO SON As is already apparent, a luxury timepiece is a socially effective and intrinsically valuable investment.
Lesser quality watches, like those made of plastic or plated alloys, almost never command impressive prices in the resale market over long periods of time. The other factor in a luxury timepiece’s long-term investment value is in its prestigious brand name, which makes it all the more appealing to watch collectors, many of whom will gladly relieve themselves of thousands of dollars in exchange for decades-old Rolex or Omega models.
But for men with even greater concerns in life than peers and money, a quality timepiece can be a meaningful heirloom that lasts for generations.
A SUBTLE DISPLAY OF WEALTH Let’s be brutally honest: in this world, looks matter. Just as a beautiful woman is more likely to draw your gaze than an unattractive one, a well-dressed gentleman is more likely to attract attention. And just as a prestigious brand is held in high esteem on the market, in the social sphere, luxury timepieces are widely respected and easily recognized by people who appreciate details and luxury. Particularly when paired with other tasteful clothing choices – such as business suits, tuxedos, or semi-formal wear for casual events – luxury timepieces are accessories that identify their wearers as successful men. Such watches subtly display wealth in a manner that is quiet enough so as to not be self-aggrandizing, yet just bold enough to never be mistaken. One need only look at the prevalence of luxury watches among the world’s most successful and powerful men, from American Presidents to Fortune 500 CEOs, to appreciate this fact. Particularly discerning eyes are often drawn to accessories and, as quality attracts quality, luxury timepieces are a sure signal to cultivated women that the wearer of such a piece understands and appreciates a refined quality of life.
Tasteful and well-manufactured watches are timeless pieces that can be treasured and passed down from father to son. A young boy growing up, finally becoming big enough to wear the watch his father wore, and which his father’s father wore before that, is an archetypal tradition symbolic of the most important duty a man has: looking after his family. While monetary inheritance is often of little comfort when a child has lost a parent or grandparent, a timepiece is a personal effect that reminds those to whom it is bequeathed of its previous owner’s lifetime, success and love for his survivors, making a lasting quality timepiece an ideal gift for generations to come, even during the most difficult of times. WHY BY A LUXURY WATCH? IN CONCLUSION Ultimately, although any watch can, for a period of time, do the simplest duty of keeping the time, luxury timepieces offer those willing to invest in them more than a lifetime of satisfaction. The skilled craftsmanship that is behind these pieces and the inherent value of the precious metals that go into them ensure incomparable durability, precision and retained value. The wearers of luxury timepieces are the men who may quietly sport possessions that are synonymous with refined wealth, yet whose success remains tastefully understated thanks to a true sense of class.
While flashy cars and over-priced champagne might scream a recent payday, luxury timepieces have come to epitomize wealth with an understated confidence that has nothing to prove.
The Big Bang Unico King Gold by Hublot MARCUS watches presents the iconic design of the Hublot Big Bang with a twist, the UNICO movement . This is a fly back chronograph which can be reset at any time, and which is unique in the watchmaking industry. This powerful watch features a 45.5 mm diameter case and a bezel secured by 6 H-shaped screws in relief. The crown is screw-down with over-moulded rubber and decorated on the end with the famous H from the Hublot screw. Each watch is supplied with a ribbed natural rubber strap. Finally, the movement is revealed thanks to a skeleton dial featuring the famous indexes and Arabic numerals, hollowed out and filled with SuperLuminovaâ„˘. www.marcuswatches.com 170 New Bond Street. London, W1S 4RB
The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 â€“ designer elegance and functional performance With a diameter of 42 mm, The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 case houses a self-winding L688.2 movement. This chronograph features a design reflecting the original 1967 divers watch that inspired it. The bordeaux graduated bezel and silver-coloured tachymeter scale of this model add elegant touches of colour to the overall piece. The hands and hour markers are coated in Super-LumiNovaÂŽ while the back and crown of the piece are screwed to ensure water resistance of up to 30 bar. The watches are fitted with a steel bracelet, black leather or rubber strap. An engraving of a diver adorns the caseback as a reminder of the first divers watches produced by Longines. www.longines.com
In life and in business, if we make healthy attempts at growth we fail more often than we succeed. By Katarina Skoberne, Our culture, with the exception of the US and in particular the start-up landscape, still stigmatises failure. Until recently in certain parts of Europe the honourable thing to do if your business went bankrupt was to commit suicide. It is less extreme these days but as I failed at my third venture after two successes I was expected to feel shame despite the market having crashed. I have since been compelled to consider resilience from various angles and have seen fear of failure as one of the greatest obstacles to growth. What has concerned me, seeing both corporates and start-up businesses consider risk, is that it is too often an all or nothing game. General attitudes to failure seem to be quite binary – either avoid it altogether and not take the risks to make attempts at change or growth, or discount the possibility of failure. In other words we either shy away from an attempt, or we believe we are the exception to the probability of failure and that the statistics don’t apply to us. It is, in part, this human trait, this cognitive bias, which allows humanity to grow and discover great things and without it few attempts would be made. But on the flipside, unrealistic expectations often set us up for far greater fallout than is necessary. Yet it is the capacity to carry two conflicting emotions at once that is the crux of resilience and knowing that you have the resilience to bounce back from failure is what constitutes a healthy approach to risk. The natural answer is of course courage. Apart from natural born courage or the courage that comes from having failed and knowing the way back, there are a few steps that can be taken personally and corporately to mitigate potential failure: UÊ ,ÃÊ>ÃÃiÃÃiÌ\Ê>}Ê`iVÃÃÊ based on realistic estimates. UÊ ,iÃiVi\ÊLÕ`}ÊÌÊÃÊÞÕÊÜÊLiÊ more able to bounce back from failure and thus overcome some of the fear. UÊ ,iVÛiÀÞ\ÊÜÊÜ iÊÌÊµÕÌ]Ê>>}iÊ stress along the way so you can pick yourself up faster and better if you need to.
RISK ASSESSMENT Worst-case scenario, best-case scenario What would you do if you had nothing to lose, if you were just starting and working with a clean slate? So often people quote negative events as ‘the best thing that ever happened to them’, usually because having nothing left to lose liberates them to take risks. Look at an ideal world situation as if unencumbered by the potential consequences. Then layer the consequences on top of the ideal world scenario to understand what measure of fallout is still in line with your risk appetite.
control and those outside our control, and a differentiation as those that can be assessed with certainty and those that cannot. This sounds all too obvious, but when conducting the exercise in companies, it proves not to be as straightforward as it looks, as we are limited by our own realms of possibilities. A better assessment requires allowing for a margin of uncertainty, which is also the start of building resilience. Too often there seems to be a postrationalisation of a strategy via stretched and less than relevant facts, and that semblance of certainty alone can be the start of a failure.
Then approach it from another angle. Research shows that mildly depressive people tend to see the world more realistically than those without depression, who typically suffer Positive Illusions and Optimism Bias (terms used by acclaimed psychologists Shelley Taylor and Tali Sharot), an inclination to see circumstances as more favorable to themselves. Even divorce lawyers estimate the likelihood of their own divorce at zero on their wedding day.
RECOVERY Know when to quit Never surrender - until it’s time to. Persistence is a great trait until it persists in futility. Because of Optimism Bias we often don’t cut our losses soon enough. Once we are about to fail assessment is even more skewed so we need to set the goalposts before that happens and then actually stop when we hit them. It’s wired into human nature to persist, to make it right. So many businesses fail while waiting for that one big deal that’s going to pull it all together. The successful ones pivot earlier.
Hence, take the worst case scenario as you see it and multiply it by an optimism-bias-reductionfactor (particularly as regards timings), and assess if you and your business can deal with it psychologically as well as financially. RESILIENCE Living with uncertainty One of the reasons failure is so valued in the start up culture is that recovering from it demonstrates resilience, the ability to bounce back. If intelligence is the ability to hold two conflicting thoughts simultaneously, resilience could be defined as the ability to carry two conflicting emotions, e.g. hope and fear. That kind of resilience can be practiced by acknowledging the two potential outcomes of any endeavor, large or small, at any time. With this kind of discipline, an awareness of failure as part of success is cultivated and the bigger picture is kept in mind, on both sides of the table. The basis for any planning should be understanding which parameters are within our
There have been a number of high-profile fatigue leaves of absence recently (Antonio Horta Osorio of Lloyds, Sir Hector Sants of Barclays, Ton Buchner of Akzo Nobel) and the press stories accompanying them indicated the companies didn’t have full plans of dealing with these leaves ready. It is important to manage stress ahead of time and have processes in place to deal earlier rather than when they become full-blown. Part of dealing with uncertainty is acknowledging there are emotional components to any job, even ones we’d prefer to have unaffected by the human element. Ignoring stress, just like ignoring fear, is bound to backfire. Sure, one way of dealing with fear is walking right into it with blind faith. But that’s not courage and unless you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose it’s too high stakes to gamble. Failure can be valuable in the business world as recovery from it proves resilience. There is no failing without falling but there are steps that can be taken if you haven’t had the honour of failure itself and still need some of the learning.
Published on Jul 7, 2015
Published on Jul 7, 2015
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