CITY DIARY : Foreign blood sends City head-hunters into frenzy

Money, money, money. The bonus season in the City has always been followed by a head-hunter's version of musical chairs, and the addition last year of a series of new foreign owners of investment banks seems to have increased the frenzy. The tantrums and walk-outs at what used to be Smith New Court, recently swallowed by Merrill Lynch, is the most obvious example.

Annual bonuses were announced last month, and now both Bruce Davidson, head of UK research, and Richard Dale, deputy head, have stomped off to pastures new, with further defections rumoured. Inside Smith's building on Farringdon Road, central London, the central hate figure seems to be Andre Sharon, the American who heads up European research.

Sharon received unexpected support yesterday, however, from one former Smith's analyst, who observed: "Analysts are a notoriously fickle, sensitive bunch. It certainly doesn't feel like a melt-down. I can't think of a worse job in the world than managing a bunch of analysts. Merrill Lynch is very bureaucratic, and it was absolutely inevitable that some people would leave. But they're not panicking - yet."

More greed and fear. Rumours are sloshing about Kleinwort Benson, the blue blooded merchant bank gobbled up by Dresdner Bank last year, that when bonuses are announced next week they will be disappointing. This was denied yesterday by a spokesman.

There is also a rumour that Kleinworts' engineering research team, headed by Colin Fell, may soon jump ship, as did the utilities team under Simon Williams, which went to Deutsche Morgan Grenfell for a reputed tanker- load of dosh. This was also denied.

One thing is certain. John Duncan Grimstone, seventh Earl of Verulam, is retiring as a director of corporate finance at ING Barings, at the tender age of 44. The Earl's Who's Who entry is short: Eton, Christ Church, something in the City. The classic silver spoon ascent, it would seem. Sadly, the Earl was off ski-ing yesterday and thus was unable to comment.

However, some family history; The Verulams (from the Roman name for St Albans, Verulamium - where they still live) have a rebellious streak. The earldom was created in 1815, but the family really made its money though Enfield Cables (now part of Delta) in the first World War. The fifth Earl, John's uncle, was into philanthropy, building the Brynmawr rubber factory after World War II to bring jobs to the South Wales coalfields.

After making stuff like "non-sticky, sticky tape", Brynmawr was taken over by Dunlop (now part of BTR) and renamed Dunlop Semtex (we kid you not) in 1952. The factory was finally closed in 1986 and battle royal now rages over whether to demolish its grade II listed concrete shell dome.

The current Earl now can retire to his neo-Georgian pile. He has never showed much interest in Brynmawr but, with more time on his hands, you never know...

A bizarre man-hunt, US sources tell me, went on at the weekend for Ron Sandler, the new chief executive of Lloyd's of London, who was on a trip to the US. Californian prosecutors were scouring the country, posting lookouts at airports (such as these examples of LA's finest) after the state's decision last week to throw in the kitchen sink and go for 103 firms and individuals for alleged securities fraud by Lloyd's.

State troopers, it is understood, were on standby to serve Mr Sandler with a summons if he showed up. All to no avail: "You had the spectacle of Lloyd's CEO disappearing. Nobody knew where the hell he was," one US source said. And to no purpose. Lloyd's accepted a summons on his behalf last Thursday, served by lawyers Wedlake Bell. Chairman David Rowland and departed chief executive Peter Middleton were also targets in what US prosecutors gleefully call "the great Lloyd's round-up".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living