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  1. Wealth
September 23, 2009

Awards address

By Spear's

Last year, a thousand BlackBerries beeped at once and a thousand faces fell as news arrived that Congress had rejected the bailout package

Welcome to the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards 2009

I remember that while I was making my speech at last year’s Awards, a thousand BlackBerries beeped at once and a thousand faces simultaneously fell as news arrived that Congress had rejected the massive bailout package. I just can’t wait to discover what’s going to happen in the rest of my speech.

By the way, if anyone here was at the Spear’s Book Awards back in June, I can assure you that we’re not about to list the shortcomings of the nominees, as our esteemed deputy editor did there, garnering more publicity for that than the Samuel Johnson Prize which was on the same day.

Spear’s has never been a magazine which follows the crowd: a year before the world fell in, Spear’s Economics Editor Stephen Hill had already called the credit crunch, and Marcus Gregson, accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, was presciently pondering on London’s precarious financial future.

Spear’s has had a ringside seat for the spectacle of the past year. Senior Editor Josh Spero (one of the Observer’s 100 rising stars for this year) liveblogged from the G20 and our writers have covered every angle of the recession from Mayfair to the City. We have praised and criticised the financial sector when it was deserved, not when it was popular; and now – when risk aversion is received wisdom – Spear’s has become independent once again and has big plans.

After our management buyout, we intend to expand with more international editions, move into book publishing and develop the holy grail of the media industry, a website with premium content. We will also be launching the Spear’s Research Unit to provide the magazine with unique content, so if you have a drawer overflowing with the CVs of recently-redundant analysts, send them our way. We aim to turn ourselves into a wealth management cross between the Michelin guides and the Moody’s agency.

We are even hosting a debate at the Henley Literary Festival – ‘the bonfire of the bonuses’ – and a series of Spear’s lectures.

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For media entrepreneurs today, there has never been a better time to be taking such risks and investing money as today. The whole media landscape is about to change with the revolution that is about to occur in the next two years with premium paid-for content online becoming the normal business model for media brands. And the media brands that will be leading the way will be niche titles – exactly like Spears – that provide specialist information that readers cannot get elsewhere.

As in Spear’s, so in the industry: these awards tonight recognise those who have made and followed their own bold plans, whether that meant keeping stability at all costs when all around have been losing their nerve or striking out in important new directions. The nominees tonight in all the categories have demonstrated strength, innovation and success, and we applaud them for this. They are the dynamic people who will restore London’s tarnished reputation as the financial capital of the world.

I hope you enjoy the ceremony. Our thanks go to the sponsors of individual awards; Sebastian Dovey and Graham Harvey at Scorpio Partnership; Zoë Couper at Carte Blanche Communications; Wealth Monitor; and our hard-working judges, only rewarded for their time with lunch at the Walbrook Club. I would also like to thank Ketel One, Merchant Inns Out and of course Christie’s for generously hosting tonight’s event.

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