Pembroke: Tune to interest bankers

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The Independent Online
Much jollity at the Banqueting House at Whitehall the other evening, where the King's Singers entertained delegates of the International Monetary Conference. The ensemble amused the crowd with a tuneful self-penned ditty on bankerly matters, which included the lines: 'What's the diference between a bank deposit account and Euro Disney? None. There's little interest in either of them.' Banking's glitterati roared with laughter. Surprising, really. For as one senior banker muttered: 'Most of Euro Disney's bankers and equity-holders are in this room.'

It is well known that Mohammed Fayed, the chirpy chairman of Harrods, is keen on Scotland. This presumably is why he despatches a bagpiper to circle the store every day and regale shoppers with Highland 'tunes'. But now his penchant for matters Caledonian have taken a further step. I hear that the window display at Harrods this Christmas is to have a Scottish flavour with a tartan backdrop.

Not any old tartan, mind, but Hunting Ross, a green- based design that is the tartan of Balnagown Castle, Mr Fayed's baronial dwelling in Easter Ross near Inverness.

The City was at play at the Royal Acadamy of Arts last night as guests wandered around dressed as sunflowers or wore cardboard pen nibs on their heads. The occasion was the Sears art treasure trail held as part of the academy's summer exhibition. Champagne- quaffing brokers and bankers scampered around the exhibits deciphering cryptic questions.

Top of the City's new Art Index was Robert Fleming's 'Tartan Terriers' who sported tartan berets and Russ Abbott- style orange wigs. Fancy dress prize went to the Pentland Group, or the Paintland Group as the team called themselves, for their costume of large coloured pencils.

They'll be calling Ray Hamilton 'the Thesp' over at the London Broking Company. Mr Hamilton, who has joined the broker's UK institutional sales team, is returning to the City after a three-year sabbatical during which he earned a crust writing songs and doing a spot of acting. 'I signed up with an agency and got a few small parts playing unsavoury characters in The Bill,' he says.

Mr Hamilton, 44, says the creative life proved hard work. 'If anything, it was even more competitive than a bond desk in the City,' he says.

Chinese voices are heard in the City as broker Smith New Court introduces a group of Chinese stockbrokers to the UK's financial hub. Officials and businessmen from Shenzhen have swapped their Mao- esque overalls for M&S blazers and paisley ties for a get-to- know-you tour of potential investors. The culmination of the trip yesterday was a kind of Cultural Revolution 2: lunch at the House of Lords.

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