City People

Happy belated birthday to Robin Burns, one of the City's oldest working stockbrokers, who celebrated his 70th yesterday.

Jimmy Herbert is of course the "father" of the Square Mile - he celebrated his 88th birthday with fellow brokers from Hichens Harrison in January. Obviously there's something about buying and selling shares which is good for longevity.

Young Mr Burns works for private client stockbrokers SP Angel, whom he joined in 1988. A colleague is unsure exactly how long Mr Burns has been in the City, saying: "I've only been here 20 years myself."

Mr Burns' wife, Loretta, has an electrical company named after her. Well, half-named. Her father's switches-and-plugs business is called "Lorlin" after Loretta and his other daughter Linda. Robin and Loretta's own daughter Melanie married Mike Sherwood of Goldman Sachs.

Mr Burns was treated to a surprise tea-dance at the Savoy yesterday by colleagues and friends. As for retirement, a colleague tells me, "he says he'll have a look at the idea at the millennium".

Richard Branson is planning a hotel in space and has registered a company called "Virgin Galactic Airways" to ferry guests into orbit.

"We're looking at various things that could enable people to go to space for a reasonable price", the Virgin boss told Internet users in an online discussion group on Wednesday.

The bearded balloonist said: "I hope in five years a reusable rocket will have been developed, which can take up to 10 people at a time to stay at the Virgin Hotel for two weeks. I'd love to do it and I hope the dream will become a reality." He added: "I would be on the inaugural flight, of course."

n Werner Rey's case comes up in a Berne court on 31 May, more than eight years after the collapse of his Omni group. Mr Rey's colourful past includes five years with Bernie Cornfeld's IOS company at the end of the Sixties. He managed to bail out of the IOS debacle unscathed and in the early Eighties was reckoned to have made a profit of SFr27m on selling his majority stake in Bally, the shoe group, to Buerhle. He took Omni Holding public in 1987, very successfully, later taking major stakes in Sulzer and Hermes.

Then came the fall, and Mr Rey was arrested in the Bahamas last June on suspicion of balance sheet falsification, and sent back to Zurich. The costs of winding up Omni so far have been SFr20m. Creditors are owedSFr1.7bn but have so far received only SFr150m. Observers expect them to end up with about double that, making it one of Switzerland's biggest collapses.

"Well it's-a one for the money ..." The lead singer with the City's best- loved rock'n'roll band Gordon and the Gekkos has changed jobs. Eden Riche is moving from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette to be DLJ's "Managing Director, Head of International Investment Grade Debt Capital Markets". Incidentally, is it just me, or are job titles in investment banks, especially US ones, becoming more and more cumbersome?

By day Mr Riche deals in the origination and syndication of bonds. By night he fronts the Gekkos, named after the antihero of the Eighties yuppie film classic "Wall Street", which starred Michael Douglas as the baddie Gordon Gekko, whose slogan was "Greed is Good".

The band is made up of investment bankers, and has been going for a dozen or so years, playing mainly at charitable luncheons. I'm still waiting for the Gekkos to issue a "Bowie Bond" based on their back catalogue.

There can't be many people who run a law firm and a sheep farm at the same time. John Winkworth-Smith has done it for years, but now wants to write spy novels as well.

Mr Winkworth-Smith has just retired as regional managing partner of the Leeds office of law firm Dibb Lupton Alsop after 37 years with the practice. He also runs his own sheep-farm in the Derbyshire peak district. This has meant for many years getting up at 5.30 in the morning, and then commuting to do the law bit. Now he intends to sit in a barnand use his leaving present - a laptop - to write science-fiction, crime and espionage novels.

"Between 1979 and 1983 I did just four cases, all huge, which involved chasing people who had stolen hi-tech engineering secrets. Some of the briefing notes I wrote went up to 200 pages. Now it's just a case of spicing them up."

John Willcock

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy