View all newsletters
Have the short, sharp Spear's newsletter delivered to your inbox each week
  1. Wealth
March 30, 2009

Spear’s quoted in Telegraph on City infidelity

By Spear's

“Like luxury cars, mistresses require a lot of time and money to be spent on them,” says Josh Spero, senior editor of Spear’s Wealth Management Survey, “so when it comes to wealthy men cutting back, the other woman is near the top of their list.”

From the Daily Telegraph:


‘When a man marries his mistress,” the late Sir James Goldsmith famously said, “he creates a vacancy.” In today’s economic climate, that “vacancy” looks increasingly likely to remain unfilled.

As men, fearful for their jobs and marriages, seek to cut back on their assets and expenditures, mistresses are facing a cull. A recent survey reports that nearly half of analysts, stockbrokers and hedge-fund managers are preparing to let the other woman go. There’s no doubt about it: these are bad times for the good time girls.

“Like luxury cars, mistresses require a lot of time and money to be spent on them,” says Josh Spero, senior editor of Spear’s Wealth Management Survey, “so when it comes to wealthy men cutting back, the other woman is near the top of their list.”

Although modern mistresses may differ from their historical counterparts – in the past, royal mistresses of European monarchs such as Nell Gwynne and Madame de Pompadour were not simply kept women but figures of immense influence – the fragrant breed exists in a variety of forms. “It may be a far cry from 18th and 19th-century France,” says Oliver James, the psychologist, “but there are different types of mistresses around today, including the ‘other women’ who describe themselves as ‘mistresses’ without feeling there are any negative connotations attached.”

Should these credit crunch squeezes survive the cull, their prospects (as for so many in the private sector) will be humbler. In America, where the recession is more deeply entrenched, newly parsimonious guidelines are already being established by prolific adulterers: according to a recent survey by Prince and Associates, a market research firm specialising in private wealth, more than 80 per cent of multi-millionaires who had extra-marital lovers are cutting back on their gifts and allowances.

Content from our partners
How Flygreen is ascending into the future of private aviation
Stoneweg, Icona, and CBH Strengthen Partnership with Cromwell Acquisition, Adding €4 Billion AUM to Stoneweg
Why investors should consider investing in nature

“Rich people are getting hit, and they’re all expressing the need to curtail unnecessary spending,” said Russ Alan Prince, the firm’s president. “Lovers are part of the same calculation.”

It is not just the wealthy: at every level of society, philanderers are being forced to make cutbacks, all too aware that, as the Telegraph reported earlier this week, divorce in this recession would be an act of financial insanity.

Sandra Davis, a company lawyer, says that fear is one of the key factors behind the enforced simplification of “complicated” love lives. “Most City workers – 79 per cent in fact – fear that their marriages are more likely to break down during a downturn,” she says.

Keeping a mistress is a risk they can do without. Even in Paris, a city where adultery is the civilised norm, hoteliers have declared a curious emptiness during the traditional “cinq-a-sept” period – those unexplained hours in between men leaving the office and appearing, smiling and dishevelled, at the dinner table. “Because mistresses have no claim against a man,” says London’s celebrity divorce lawyer Raymond “Jaws” Tooth, “the truly rapacious ones are likely to be taking a few cut-backs and being extra-supportive to their lovers at the moment.”

“All mistresses hate the credit crunch,” says Sarah Symonds, the alleged former mistress of chef Gordon Ramsay and author of Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman. “They are the first little luxury to be dropped along with those private golf club memberships. That’s why I always tell mistresses to stash a bit away for a rainy day, as all wives should, too.”

“Guilt can become a very expensive emotion,” says one blonde city PA who has been in a relationship with a married man for two years and wishes to remain anonymous. “Every public holiday, Valentine’s day and every date he breaks, you used to expect a present.”

But the past six months, she admits, have seen her “perks” significantly downsized. “He never gives me perfume or underwear any more, and instead of dining out we tend to go to the pub, or meet for tea. It feels pretty much like having a boyfriend, now, except one I never really get to spend time with. To be honest the whole thing is starting to seem pretty unappealing. As a ‘mistress’ you put up with things largely because of the pampering you get in exchange.”

That pampering factor is precisely what mistresses who are kept on may be forced to forfeit. Charge cards may have to be returned, clothing allowances scaled down and Agent Provocateur accounts closed.

“A few months ago I promised my mistress a breast enhancement and liposuction as a gift,” says one City worker. “Now I can only afford one or the other.”

Tax-deductible trips aboard the company jet could also become a thing of the past – and with the current exchange rate you can forget about those trousseau-buying trips to Paris, New York and Milan. “It is becoming less convincing for men to claim that they are going on overnight business trips while they meet their mistress,” says Josh Spero, “added to which, every aspect of the businessman’s finances is coming under greater scrutiny, which means those trips and romantic dinners à deux will be harder to pass off as tax-deductible necessities.”

Economic factors are not alone in promoting crunch-time fidelity: according to James, men’s sex drive will naturally collude in that aim. “During boom times, men – especially those in gambling-type jobs, of which there were all too many during recent years – tend to be riding high. Serotonin levels and sex drive are intimately linked, so if the business or status side takes a downfall, so does the drive.

So could this sequence of events herald the start of a new morality?

“There’s no getting away from it,” says Spero. “Fidelity now appears the vastly more attractive – and cheaper – option.” Those reluctant to ditch the pleasures of the flesh should remember that mistresses are all too often a by-product of money and success. Perhaps they should remember Napoleon’s sobering words – “Power is my mistress. I’ve worked too hard in conquering her to allow anyone to take her from me” – and focus on the essentials.

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network