Firms tone down Christmas celebrations because of terror attacks and recession

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Square Mile has grown accustomed to lavish parties to celebrate Christmas and bumper profits, but this year's events are likely to be sombre affairs – if they take place at all.

The Square Mile has grown accustomed to lavish parties to celebrate Christmas and bumper profits, but this year's events are likely to be sombre affairs – if they take place at all.

The terrorist attacks of 11 September and increased fears of a global recession have combined to ensure that having fun is the furthest thing from the minds of employees in London's financial sector.

A senior investment banker said yesterday: "I don't know if we're having a bash. But I'd rather have a job than a party."

Commerzbank, a German retail and investment bank, announced it would not hold an event this Christmas, but would instead donate money to the New York relief fund.

JP Morgan Chase told staff on 8 October that parties would be cancelled because of the attacks and "the slow conditions in many of our businesses."

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which lost staff in the attacks, has not yet decided what to do.

Richard Harden, publisher of Harden's London Party Guide, said: "There's no doubt things have changed this year." A spokesman for the Dorchester Hotel said many Christmas bookings by financial houses and banks had been cancelled.

Lady Anson, the owner of Party Planners, said she had advised clients not to host events as "people are in no mood to party". Mike Kershaw, the director of The Ultimate Experience, which often organises events for City firms, was keen to paint a less bleak picture. "Somewhat surprisingly we are still on target. A couple of companies from the financial sector have cancelled, either because of the economic climate or what happened on September 11. It's a depressing time to cancel a Christmas party, people will see it as the nail in the coffin."

Fran Cutler, co-founder of 2 Active party planners, said: "Life has to carry on. We live with terrorism every day. They're not going to cancel Christmas, are they?"

Comments