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September 21, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 3:20pm

Elizabeth Hurley launches City Veterans’ Network’s 2016 Poppy Day Dinner

By William Cash

This year’s glitzy charity dinner will be held on November 2nd at the Hurlingham Club with Spear’s as media partner.

Elizabeth Hurley joins Citibank’s EMEA CEO Jim Cowles. Photo by Mark Allan

To the Field Marshall’s Room at the Cavalry & Guards Club in London’s Piccadilly for the launch of the 2016 City Veterans’ Network Poppy Day Dinner which brings together the top UK, US and European banks and financial services firms to support different military charities each year.

The City Veterans’ Network (CVN) helps place former serving soldiers in jobs within the UK’s financial services sector. The CVN is a charity which coordinates the hiring by City institutions of ex-servicemen and women who can bring to bear the leadership, determination and adaptability forged in often rather less salubrious surroundings.

This year’s annual dinner will be held at the Hurlingham Club on Wednesday, November 2nd. Tables are now sold out.

Spear’s is delighted to be media sponsoring this important annual military charity event which is pleased to have Elizabeth Hurley as a patron. Miss Hurley attended last year’s dinner at the Imperial War Museum.

Miss Hurley and her CVN co-Patron, Mr Jim Cowles, Citi’s EMEA CEO, both spent time introducing themselves to the crowd of financiers and veterans and charity supporters: from ministers to generals. Mr Cowles has been a generous supporter both morally and financially of the Network from its birth in 2014.

Miss Hurley herself made a sizeable donation to last year’s dinner at the Imperial war Museum by bidding for several auction lots. She said: ‘As somebody brought up in a military family, I am delighted to be supporting the City Veterans’ Network which provides much needed help to our brave soldiers through a range of different military charities each year. I am much looking forward to this year’s dinner which I am sure will be as moving and memorable as last year’s’.

The City Veterans’ Network (CVN) were launching their annual fund raising dinner to mark the start of London Poppy Day. The charity has taken inspiration from the US-based Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS), which has raised tens of millions for US military charities. VOWS was set up to honour former and current military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities.

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Through a combination of educational initiatives, mentoring, outreach to the military, employee affinity groups, and an annual conference, VOWS promotes career development, support, and retention of veterans throughout the global financial services industry.

CVN has similar objectives and goals and has quickly established itself as the leading financial services forum for military charity and veteran employment work in the UK.

Central to the mission of both organisations – supported by banks like Citi, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon and HSBC – is the recognition that many of the skills veterans developed in the military – leadership, fast and accurate decision–making, operational focus, and the drive to accomplish a mission– have a direct application on the City and Wall Street.

They also recognise that the cultural values developed by veterans in the military —passion, drive, commitment, and teamwork— mesh with the corporate values sought after and practiced in the financial services industry. Both CVN and VOWS work with military organisations, veterans’ groups, industry associations and vendors to build awareness and understanding of how these skills and cultural attributes make military veterans outstanding employees.

The launch party for the 2016 CVN Poppy Day Dinner was attended by top army generals, ministers, charity patrons and injured servicemen while senior financiers – Michael Cole-Fontayn, BNY Mellon’s EMEA chairman for instance – spoke at the launch about the benefit to his organisation of hiring former soldiers, sailors and airmen.

The Poppy Dinner event committee – including Spear’s 500 member Francis Roseman of Citi Private Bank (nominated for a Spear’s Future Leader in Wealth Management award at the 2016 Spears awards) briefed the crowd on table sales, giving a taster of some of the glamorous auction prizes which ranged from  anti-hijack driving days with the Metropolitan Police, Sniper Training Days and Guard Mount followed by lunch with the Household Cavalry, to dinner at Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street, evenings at Garsington Opera or careering down an icy slope on the Cresta Run in St. Moritz.

Francis Roseman is speaking with Michael Cole-Fontayn, BNY Mellon’s EMEA chairman. Photo by Mark Allan

The event took place on the hottest September day since before the First World War. Typically enough, the military and financial classes refused to acknowledge the record temperature in their suits and regimental ties, sweltering under the gaze of their predecessors’ portraits including some veterans of both world wars.

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