Insider considers the downside of a lottery win, prepares to play footsie at Biba and ponders a story you couldn’t make up
Those consolidators don’t like losing their hard-won brokers. I hear certain broking giants sometimes hire private investigators to follow brokers who raise their suspicion. I was speaking to an old friend this week who said one snoop with a hidden camera followed a bunch of broker staff into a nightclub, then ingratiated himself by chatting and lighting their cigarettes. Given how much broker business is carried out over a pint, I’d say if a broker can’t trust a man in a bar, who can he trust?
And the winner is … Ibiza club mix
What is it about Sterling commercial director David Sweeney and Ibiza? Speaking at the insurer’s roadshow in London recently, Sweeney plucked Ibiza out of the air as the likely destination employees would escape to if they won the lottery. Sweeney, who was describing the insurer’s lottery indemnity product, explained to the amused broker crowd that there was a reason that Ibiza had popped into his head, but didn’t go on to reveal why. From my point of view, I have high-class tastes, and would spend my lottery winnings on the good life in the South of France. Perhaps Sweeney would prefer to spend his winnings on clubbing. Don’t be shy, David, get your whistle out and make some noise.
Keep carp and carry on
An old broker pal told me that one of the stands at the Biba conference this year will have an unusual gimmick – a pool stocked with fish that nibble dead skin from human feet. My socialite and spa-going friends tell me this is quite the fad at the moment, as the latest way to exfoliate the skin. A broker boss joked: “If most brokers I know stuck their feet in that water, it would probably kill the fish.”
Working the room with Wenger
Has anyone noticed how much Arsène Wenger and TH Marsh managing director Michael Ferraro look like each other? I thought not. At a recent industry event I came face to face with someone who I thought was the French-speaking, tantrum-throwing Arsenal boss. What was Wenger doing schmoozing with insurance execs, I asked myself? Only when one broker pal politely informed me that it was in fact Ferraro could I be convinced. Rumours that Ferraro spends his days kicking water bottles and claiming “I didn’t see it” are unconfirmed.
Eternal wealth? It must be fiction
The London market is perhaps not best known for its literary talent, despite complaints about some slips being elaborate works of fiction. However, I hear Kelly Fegan, director of client services at (re)insurance technology firm RI3K, is working on a novel inspired by the people and events of his 27 years in the insurance industry, though the story is fiction. The plot is more exciting than its inspiration might suggest: the central character, a chap called Jimmy, is offered eternal wealth in return for completing undercover jobs for a dying businessman. I can’t help wondering what kinds of characters our Mr Fegan has been mixing with over the years to inspire this tale.
With a little bit of bosom pluck
Brokers are a plucky bunch. I hear 10 staff from Essex broker Alan Blunden are taking part in a skydive next month to raise money for the breast cancer charity Bosom Pals Appeal. Business development manager James Titmuss said the group will have very little preparation before jumping from 14,000ft attached to an instructor. James said: “The problem is I don’t like heights and I don’t like jumping from a perfectly good aeroplane. I’ll probably break the world record for the longest single swear word!” Donations at Justgiving.com/James-Titmuss. IT