Slackberry: The City Snitch: 17/01/2010

Introducing our new weekly business diary featuring the good, the bad and the ugly of the City world
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Early birth robs baby of baronetcy

I'll begin with Richard Pease – the Henderson New Star fund manager and scion of the Barclays banking dynasty – who, one day, will be the fourth Baronet Pease of Hummersknott, Borough of Darlington, Co. Durham.

Towards the back end of last year, when Pease and his girlfriend Victoria were expecting their first baby, they scheduled their wedding to pre-date the grand arrival. That may seem slightly old-fashioned (these days, almost half of British babies are born to unmarried parents) but the scheduling had a purpose: a delivery within wedlock would allow their new son to eventually inherit the baronetcy.

The best laid plans and all that. Pease Jnr made his entrance slightly prematurely, meaning he arrived before his parents had wed and so cannot now become the fifth baronet, even though his parents have since become husband and wife. Debrett's, the authority on such matters, confirms this ridiculous ruling. What an injustice.

Is it contacts or cunning, Kleinman?

To the awards dinner of financial publisher IFR at Grosvenor House, where Credit Suisse scooped the Bank of the Year gong. One guest of the investment bank was delighted to learn that he'd been seated next to James Leigh–Pemberton, Credit Suisse's UK chief executive. But by the time guests took their seats, I'm told that "Ace" Mark Kleinman, Sky News's City scoop-getter, had switched the name cards so he was perched next to the boss. When asked what was the secret of landing a story during an interview last October, Kleinman replied: "It's all about your contacts, it's all about being trusted."

Quite so.

Worrying silence on deal failures

The British Virgin Islands-registered investment fund Qadbak has long since reversed out of its combined projects to buy the BMW Sauber Formula One team and Notts County Football Club after it emerged it hadn't got the necessary cash. But I'm still hounded by worries about how Meyrick Cox, my favourite Rothschild banker and Qadbak's biggest cheerleader, is being affected by this embarrassment. "So Meyrick," my email (sent more than a month ago) begins. "The Qadbak deal to buy the BMW Sauber team has collapsed. And now the Notts County takeover has unravelled. Many people saw it all coming. But not you. So, I wonder, do you still stick by your comments that Qadbak is a 'wholly reputable organisation'?" Despite repeated attempts, Cox has yet to respond. Pressure of work, I expect.

Ex's briefs get Marco to boiling point

I see that restaurateur Marco Pierre White has been given leave to sue his estranged wife's lawyers over alleged "dirty tricks".

He claims that his mail was intercepted and personal papers seized, which would not be the first time that the former chef turned businessman has claimed to be the victim of skulduggery. In 1998, his rival Gordon Ramsay suspected that the owners of Aubergine were planning to replace him with White, so he arranged for a biker to steal the restaurant's reservations book and blamed the theft on White (who eventually sued). I wonder, what it is about White's forceful personality that attracts such determined enemies?

All bets off an iPhone trading app

Financial spread betting groups Capital Spreads and CMC Markets have both been looking to join Apple's iPhone revolution by launching trading applications for the funky device. The pair had engaged a technology firm called CDPSoft to write the software, but what's this? Rival spread better City Index took a strategic stake in CDPSoft in December. Has that derailed the headline-grabbing launches? "My understanding is this is not going forward," rues my man.

Calendar boy Chance to ogle the best in business beefcake

It may be mid-January, but I reckon I can just about get away with the launch of the new 2010 SlackBelli calendar – which (considering the spelling) is a clear rip-off of something produced far more aesthetically elsewhere.

Unlike the original, my version does attract the viewers eye to plenty of surplus tyres and fans of my topless business beauties will instantly recognise Miss January, Italian businessman and ex-Formula 1 supremo, Flavio Briatore. To come later in the year, we have Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, Sir Philip Green, the Topshop billionaire and the postie's postie, Royal Mail chief exec Adam Crozier.

It's sure to be a collector's item.

Have your say