People & Business

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The illustrious City name James Capel is to follow Morgan Grenfell into the history books. HSBC Investment Bank is renaming its HSBC James Capel institutional equity broking and research unit HSBC Securities "in an effort to underscore its global brand", the bank said yesterday.

The writing has been on the wall for the name since last year, when HSBC said that as it integrated the equity distribution business with the investment banking business, it would review the use of the separate James Capel trade name.

So who was the original James Capel? In fact the firm was originally founded by two brothers, Phillip and Edmund Antrobus, in 1775, shortly after the launch of the London Stock Exchange. James Capel himself was born in Worcestershire in 1789, and came to London to work as a clerk in the early 1800s. In 1806 he joined what had become Antrobus & Wood, and in 1813 he became a partner. In 1837 he became senior partner, a position he held until his death in 1872.

Its hard to imagine such a career now in a City dominated by spotty teenage scribblers. James Capel & Co was snapped up by HSBC in 1986 as part of "Big Bang". Mr Capel's name will live on however, with the private client business James Capel Investment Management.

A 53-year-old woman brought chaos to a recent Government land auction in Hong Kong when she successfully bid HK$890m for a site in Kowloon Bay, only to reveal that she had no money.

According to the South China Morning Post, the woman, Wong Yuet-ngan, said she represented Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa group. She had to fight off fierce competition from Sino Land, which opened the bidding at HK$560m. She entered the fray when the price for the 57,000 sq ft site stood at HK$620m, and there followed a 20-minute bidding war between the woman and Sino Land and fellow developers Hong Kong Holdings and K Wah International.

When the big boys dropped out at HK $890m Ms Wong was left triumphant. This triumph evaporated, however, when she failed to produce the required HK$90m deposit.

The sale was cancelled and the woman taken to a psychiatric unit. She told police she was Wong Ong, a female Robin Hood-type hero from Hong Kong films of the 1950s.

Hong Kong's land auction procedures have since been modified.

The Annual Broker Survey from Consensus Research International leaves just seven analysts with the top position they held last year, and eight new winners.

The stayers from last year include Richard Coleman of Merrill Lynch in Banks; Robert Donald of Schroders in Building and Construction; James Culverwell of Merrill Lynch in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare; John Richards of NatWest Markets in Retail; Clive Anderson of Merrill Lynch in Transport; and Lakis Athanasiou of UBS in Water.

Roger Moore of ASBC Warburg Dillon Read in Property makes it five in a row. Obviously giving up James Bond was a shrewd move.

Simon Lewis, the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) past president, has written to me saying the search is on for a new IPR director-general to represent the spin doctors of the UK: "The IPR is looking for a new director-general to drive forward an ambitious development plan into, and beyond, the 21st century."

Beyond the 21st century? Longevity is a prime need for any candidate, it would seem.

Speaking of spin doctors, Leigh Bruce has left Salomon Brothers after seven years as its chief mouthpiece to take over the same function at Barclays Capital, the new, slimline BZW.

The smooth-talking, moustachioed American replaces the cheery Scot, Peter Baillie, who went off to GKN following the departure of BZW boss Bill Harrison last autumn.

Mr Bruce will see familiar faces at his new Canary Wharf home. He used to work with Naguib Kheraj, Barclays Capital's chief operating officer, when they were at Salomon together.

No doubt Salomon's reputation as a heavyweight bond house helped Mr Bruce's selection. Bob Diamond, Barclays Capital's chief executive, said the bank has "an ambitious new focus on the global debt markets and Leigh has exactly the right combination of skills to help us achieve our objectives and develop the firm's brand around the world".

Leigh certainly has international credentials; at one point he was a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor in Athens, and has also worked for the BBC French Service and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.