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  1. Wealth
September 15, 2009

Spear’s Awards: Dispatches from the Front

By Spear's

The Awards were introduced by Viscount Linley, Chairman of Christie’s, who eloquently pointed out that those who left without an award could still go home with one of the twentieth-century prints (from Picasso to Tom Wesselman) which adorned the walls.

Christie’s, King Street, hosted the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards last night as CEOs and philanthropists, bankers and lawyers saw the best, brightest and boldest in finance and luxury rewarded. HSBC Private Bank won UK Private Bank of the Year, Credit Suisse European Private Bank of the Year and Olivier de Givenchy of J.P. Morgan Private Banker of the Year.

For a full list of winner and nominees, click here.

Other winners include Schroders Private Bank (Asset Manger for High Net Worths), AlphaOne (Asset Manager for Ultra-High Net Worths), Payne Hicks Beach (Family Law Firm, accepted by Fiona Shackleton), Speechly Bircham (Private Client Law Firm), Sir John Madejski (Philanthropist), Lucy O’Donnell of Lovedean Granola (Entrepreneur), and Hermès (Luxury Retail Brand).

Guests in attendance included Viscount Linley, Sir John Madejski, Balthazar and Beanie Fabricius, Fiona Shackleton, Rona Fairhead (CEO, Financial Times Group), Caspar Hobbs (CEO, Merger Market and Wealth Monitor), Alexander Hoare, Michel de Carvalho (vice-chairman of Citi), Jamie Murray Wells, Adam Dant, Ali Spencer-Churchill, Anton Bilton, Charlie Methven, Alan Miller, Lady Emily Compton, Fritz von Westenholtz, Ivan Massow, Count Manfredi della Gherardesca and Orlando Hamilton, as well as the CEOs and managing directors of London’s top private banks, law firms and asset managers and some of Britain’s wealthiest individuals.

The Awards were introduced by Viscount Linley, Chairman of Christie’s, who eloquently pointed out that those who left without an award could still go home with one of the twentieth-century prints (from Picasso to Tom Wesselman) which adorned the walls.

He was followed by William Cash, Editor-in-Chief of Spear’s, who assured guests that there would be no repeat of the scene at the Spear’s Book Awards where Deputy Editor Christopher Silvester listed, in excruciating detail, the shortcomings of the nominees. William also laid out Spear’s ambitious digital and international expansion strategies. He also said that, since he was standing at the Christie’s podium, he would try and flog some of Spear’s cover artist Adam Dant’s illustrations. William was delighted that Spear’s official wine was (aptly for the economic times) Rickety Bridge.

Then CNBC anchor Ross Westgate took to the stage to announce the nominees and winners, battling on with some time-trusted banker jokes. (Sample: What’s the new definition of optimism? A banker who irons five shirts on a Sunday.)

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As in previous years, it was a combination of a new-term cocktail party, a major networking event and a glitzy awards ceremony, with bankers reconvening after long summer breaks. Much of the conversation and many of the speeches concentrated on the theme of how a good crisis should never be wasted.

The canapes were provided by Merchants Inn Out, while Ketel One supplied the vodka and Berry Bros. and Rudd the champagne.

BSkyB won the Family Business of the Year Award and James Murdoch sent an acceptance speech:

‘I am very sorry not to be able to join you tonight but I wanted to thank you very much for honouring me with this award. At News Corporation, we have a history of innovation and of taking bold decisions. It is a unique history of which we are very proud and we believe that it is this willingness to break new ground that sets us apart from the competition.

‘Twenty years ago, Sky began with a set of powerful ideas. The belief that bringing more choice to more people was fundamentally a good thing and the confidence that customers would respond to new opportunities. People told us that pay-TV would never work in the UK, that the British public wouldn’t pay for television but we held fast to these ideas. We invested billions and took some big risks to bring this vision to life and today, customers have never had so much choice.

‘Sky has consistently pioneered not only more choice in what to watch but more choice in how to watch with innovations like Sky+ and HD revolutionising the customer experience.

‘This innovation can also be seen in our journalism businesses. The Wall Street Journal has pioneered charging for content online with over one million paid for subscribers already. A digital all-media market poses real challenges for newspaper businesses but we believe that we are in a strong position to lead the development of new models and new attractive propositions to customers.

‘At News Corporation, we never overestimate peoples’ satisfaction with the status quo. We will continue to believe in better, to believe in providing better choice and better quality.

‘Thank you again for this award.’

Rupert Phelps, director of Family Office Services International, BNY Mellon, won the Outstanding Achievement in Wealth Management Award and concluded his acceptance speech by saying that private client advisers should be proud of what they do:

‘Ultimately, all private clients have only three choices of what to do with their assets: consume, contribute or conserve. They can enjoy their own life, they can give asets away, they can seek to pass wealth on to their heirs. Most clients combine all three, it is the blend that reveals their character. Our role is to advise them on how to do it.

‘There are legions of decent and honourable people who work in our industry; some of you are also positively charming, and we can be proud to be among those who assist clients in the management of their assets. Private capital, lawfully accumulated, is not just a result of a free and open society: it is a foundation.’

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