PEOPLE & BUSINESS

Its an ill wind, so they say. The turmoil in Asian financial markets and the collapse of the Peregine investment bank has British receivers licking their lips.

After all, the UK's liquidators have got sweet fanny adams to do over here at the moment, since company receiverships in the UK are at their lowest since the mid 1980s. In contrast, most observers expect Peregrine to be just the first of a rich crop of corporate casualties out East.

Big names in British bankruptcy that sprang to prominence in our last recession, and who have been spotted in various part of the Far East recently, include Colin Bird of Price Waterhouse, Stephen Adamson of Ersnt & Young, Murdoch McKillop of Arthur Andersen and Gordon Stewart of Allen & Overy.

It makes sense. They all have loads of experience of cross-border crashes, and the current Asian crisis has been sparked off by cross-border lending to places like Thailand and Indonesia.

Neil Cooper, a partner with Buchler Phillips in London, who has spent a long career specialising in multinational company collapses, said: "These days there's a wealth of [insolvency] talent in Hong Kong, which will be supplemented by shipping in more talent from London and Sydney."

"In the early 1980s it relied on immigrant labour, with people like me flying into Hong Kong to do the biggest jobs. I did three receiverships in Thailand once," Mr Cooper added, with a hint of nostalgia in his voice. Buchler Phillips is opening an office in Thailand via its associate Ferrier Hodgson specifically to deal with the expected avalanche of insolvency and restructuring work, Mr Cooper said.

It's an old saying that timing is everything. I've just received a report from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office on the six months after reunification with China, which starts: "1997 was a momentous year for Hong Kong. There were sceptics who thought that it would bring changes to Hong Kong that would fundamentally alter its nature. How wrong they were." Stick around. They might be right in 1998.

Just to put Hong Kong's problems into perspective, how about this sound bite yesterday from Japan's Ministry of Finance: "Japan's bank bad debts now total 76.7 trillion yen." Even in yen that's a lot of money.

A "totally bald" lawyer is to run a marathon in the Sahara this year for charity under the banner: "Fat cat turns desert rat."

The self-deprecating chap in question is Robin Spencer, a partner in the insolvency group at Lovell White Durrant. The barrister turned solicitor will run the145-mile Marathon des Sables this March, and aims to raise pounds 50,000 for the Variety Club Children's Hospital at King's College Hospital, London.

The run will take six days and will cross the sand dunes, river beds and palm groves of southern Morocco, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mr Spencer, 39, is anything but a health nut, having only taken up running seriously last April. Since then he has been running 30 to 50 miles a week, a routine which has already brought his weight down from 13.5 stone to 11 stone and his resting heart rate down from 70 to under 50. Makes you sick, doesn't it.

He is also the only bald participant in the race. Mr Spencer's baldness is caused by the condition alopecia totalis - Duncan Goodhew, the swimmer, has the same condition. Mr Spencer believes it will be a positive advantage in the Sahara: "There are no hair washing facilities in the desert. Hirsute competitors may find this uncomfortable, given the heat and dust, whereas I will be restored by a quick wipe from a damp cloth."

The new money market rate for the euro, which will replace Libor if we ever get round to monetary union, will be called "Euribor", according to Paribas yesterday. How very appropriate. I think we all know a few Euribors....

As the graduate recruitment season begins, the questions asked at interviews seem to be getting more and more bizarre.

The Diplomatic Service appear short of jokes, asking young hopefuls what makes them laugh. Management consultants are getting a particular reputation for mind-bending posers. According to Nicki Henrion, head of consultant recruitment at Boston Consulting Group, "Each person is asked how many petrol stations there are in south-east London."

Surprisingly, Ms Henrion claims interviewers know the answers to this type of question and they expect reasonably accurate answers, too. Sounds to me like taxi drivers have a bright future in consulting.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
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