Male bankers collecting the best bonuses for years are spending some of their new wealth on plastic surgery to reshape their noses or slim their flabby stomachs.
One of the largest cosmetic surgery companies says it took 40 per cent more bookings from workers in London's financial district in October than its previous record month early this year.
Rising mergers and acquisitions activity and a soaring stock exchange in 2005 have contributed to the highest amounts of bonus money sloshing around the Square Mile for four years.
But financial traders, analysts and lawyers are realising that the "live hard, play hard" ethos which may have earned them their fortunes has also given them craggy faces and bulging waistlines.
With cosmetic surgery becoming more acceptable and money no option, many are choosing to go under the knife. According to the Harley Medical Group, bookings from financiers at its City clinic soared above its previous high in January last month. It believes that City professionals are now opting for "body tailoring" in the way that they used to favour real tailoring in Savile Row.
The group, which has 11 clinics nationwide, says that the most popular procedure for bank workers (45 per cent) is liposuction - a fact which may not diminish the City's reputation for extravagant lunches. It is followed by rhinoplasty (a nose job) (32 per cent) and "injectable treatments" (15 per cent), mostly botox, to smooth facial lines.
Tammy Campbell, the manager of the clinic off Cannon Street, said: "Most of the male patients we see are bothered about stubborn fat on their stomach and flanks and say that they feel terribly self-conscious and uncomfortable in the gym."
She added: "City patients tend to be well researched when they come in for their first consultation with a specialist cosmetic surgery nurse. If accepted for surgery, a high proportion of City boys opt to go ahead with surgery. The most common question is 'When will I be ready to go back to work?'."
Clinics can charge a minimum of £3,000 for liposuction and £4,000 for rhinoplasty.
Money is unlikely to be a problem in the City this year. A survey by the Morgan McKinley recruitment firm in September found that nearly three quarters of City employees expected their bonuses this winter to be higher than last year. Payouts for many will be in the hundreds of thousand of pounds but some may get between £5m and £10m.
Adam Searle, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said that wealthy male clients in their forties and fifties thought no more of spending £10,000 on a nose job than they would of spending £10,000 on a coat.
Of City workers, Mr Searle said: "They are often people for whom many aspects of their life are sorted. They are successful at work, they have high incomes, they have a home life but they are worried about their saddlebags. They assume that they can buy a better body in much the same way that they would buy a fast car.
"A lot of them live hard and play hard but now that they are 44 to 48 their bodies are not what they used to be and many find that difficult to live with."
Many middle-aged patients had over-optimistic expectations of what surgery could achieve, he added, saying that some would be better off exercising and "eating fewer crisps and drinking less beer."
The consultant surgeon warned that cosmetic procedures, especially liposuction, were often less successful for men than for women.
Leading plastic surgeons warn that patients should think carefully before having any surgery and to check the record and standing of the clinic and surgeon. Mistakes could be disastrous and worsen the problem supposedly being remedied.Reuse content