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February 14, 2023updated 14 Mar 2023 10:11pm

Hedgehog news: Savile Row, Goldman Sachs and Premier League sponsors

By Spear's

Our nocturnal news-sniffer reports on HNW matters including private schools, fine wines, potential Premier League football sponsors and an unlikely Savile Row saviour. Edited by Alec Marsh

Squid does it again

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak worked as a junior analyst at Goldman Sachs from 2001 – 2004. Shutterstock

Congratulations to Goldman Sachs, which can count yet another prime minister among its alumni.

To date the bank has chalked up two Italian PMs – Romano Prodi, also a president of the ECB, and Mario Monti. Rishi Sunak makes it a G7 hat-trick. And don’t forget it also had Malcolm Turnbull, lately prime minister of Australia, on its books, plus central bankers such as Mark Carney and government ministers, including the economist Jim (now Lord) O’Neill, who was in the Treasury under David Cameron and Theresa May.

O’Neill tells Hedgehog he remembers seeing a young and very junior Sunak around the office when he was at the bank – but the younger man didn’t leave much of an impression: ‘I think he seems very much like an investment analyst – not sure he has a huge vision as to what the UK should be like in an ideal world.’

Doesn’t Sunak deserve some credit for addressing the financial mess left by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng? ‘It was sorted by the new chancellor, pretty quickly,’ states O’Neill. ‘Hunt did a great job.’

Who says ink is thicker than water…

Educating Starmer

Keir Starmer
Keir Starmer plans to impose VAT on independent schools if he is elected as PM in 2024. Getty Images

If elected in 2024, privately educated Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will impose VAT on independent schools, ending an exemption he derides as ‘trickle-down education’.

Regardless of where you stand on claims in a report by education consultant Baines Cutler that this would cost the government £400 million more than it would net in tax (because of the need to fit 90,000 more children into the state system), it’s feared that 200 schools would go under as a result. Top schools, however, will carry on regardless, since high net-worth parents are likely to have strong cash reserves.

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‘VAT on fees will kill off a lot of the middle-ranking boarding schools,’ warns Hugh Dickinson of Concept Education, which owns the Marist School in Ascot. ‘The reality is that this would make private schools even more elitist. Maybe that’s what Labour wants – it will make them less easy to defend.’

Miami advice

Philip Thomson and Don Johnson in Miami Vice
Will the opening of Stonehage Fleming’s Miami office prompt a shift in work fashions? Philip Thomson and Don Johnson in Miami Vice – Getty

In other HNW news, Stonehage Fleming is celebrating its 150th birthday this year; the merchant bank to which its roots can be traced was founded in Dundee in 1873. But the multi-family office has other reasons to be cheerful.

In November the Suffolk Street outfit opened its second US office, in Miami, which it describes as ‘the undisputed gateway to Latin America’. Then, in December, it announced profits of £11.1 million for its UK business for the year to March 2022, a rise of 15.6 per cent on the previous year, of which a handsome £9.9 million was handed out in dividends.

And that’s not all: ‘Revenue growth is forecast for the next financial year,’ say the directors. Many happy returns!

Cheque-in time

Arsenal Emirates shirt
Arsenal Football Club is sponsored by airline Emirates. Shutterstock

With no fewer than eight major gambling firms emblazoned across the shirts of Premier League football clubs – each firm paying up to £50 million in multi-year deals for the pleasure – how will the league plug the gap when it finally agrees to phase out gambling advertising, perhaps as soon as 2024-25?

Airlines are waiting to pile in,’ says my money man on the inside. Let’s hope so – for lovers of the great game at least. As is stands, just two clubs have an airline as shirt sponsor – Arsenal and Manchester City, with Emirates and Etihad, respectively – so there’s plenty
of opportunity if airlines are game.

Bournemouth, Brentford, Everton, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham… form an orderly queue, unless one of you already has speedy boarding.

La reine Margaux

Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos
Château Margaux’s Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos

To Mark’s Club, for an event to celebrate the establishment’s 50th anniversary – hosted by the Birley Wine Club. For the evening Clement Robert, head wine buyer at Birley Clubs, partnered with Château Margaux’s Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos, who steers the iconic Bordeaux winery with her mother, Corinne.

Guests were treated to several of the vineyard’s vintages from across the decades since 1972 – including two Premier Grand Cru Classés from 1989 and 2009.

Fifty years on, the exclusive Mayfair hub, now owned by Richard Caring, has moved with the times, says Robert, confirming it now has a roughly 50/50 split between male and female members. What better way, then, to celebrate its 50th than with a partnership with one of Bordeaux’s most powerful female players?

Suits you

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group bought Gieves & Hawkes in November. Getty

News that the future of Gieves & Hawkes, the 250-year-old colossus of British tailoring at No. 1 Savile Row, has been secured thanks to ‘tracksuit billionaire’ Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which bought it in November, does not faze the tailoring fraternity.

‘Losing No. 1 on the Row would have left a monumental void,’ confirms Ollie Cross, formerly chief cutter at Benson & Clegg and now running Ollie’s, his own bespoke outfit at the Oxo Tower. ‘It’s going to be really interesting to see how it all evolves.’

Given Ashley’s involvement, should Gieves & Hawkes move into leisurewear…tracksuits ‘Why not?’ replies my man with the tailor’s shears. ‘So long as they’re cut well and made sustainably.’

You read it here first.

Golden sands

Blue Waters villa Mustique

Far from London’s golden postcodes, there is a corner of the super-prime real estate market that seems impervious to geopolitical and economic woes. On the sun-kissed isle of Mustique, Boris Johnson’s favourite Caribbean destination, there’s been a glut of sales while prices remain ‘robust’. In 2020/21 no fewer than 14 houses on the island changed hands, out of a total of around 100. (That’s compared to a usual turnover of just two to three annually.) Prices ranged between $6 million and $34 million.

Newcomers include American morning talk show hosts Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa, while Tommy Hilfiger is said to have sold one of his two houses there. Buyers are split 45/55 per cent between the US and Europe.

‘We are aware of “summer in the Hamptons, winter in Mustique” emerging as a trend among our US guests,’ says Hedgehog’s local source. Should you be interested, two houses are currently on the market, priced £6.5 million and £13.3 million. Get away!

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