No pity for Citi Some say that Justin Hemmes’ Ivy Bar on George Street in Sydney is the height of bull market folly, up there with Neil Perry’s second Rockpool (due to open in the buoyant economic times of January 2009).
Indeed, many would be hoping that the successor to The Establishment, with its daft pool and its beautifulpeople- only door policy, gets comprehensively smacked down by the looming global recession. But trust Hemmes to have it both ways. When Citi chief exec Vikram Pandit announced last month that 52,000 of his workforce were no longer required, it was inevitable that in Australia, the Park Street crowd’s all-staff Christmas party would be canned.
Back in happier months, the entire Ivy had been booked for the event, which last year was said to have cost $400-500,000. But there was no way the bar’s management were going to cut Citi’s demoralised employees a break. The $110,000 deposit won’t be returned, leaving the bar well ahead if it finds a replacement hirer, even at recession-inspired prices. The price ain’t right if it’s rising Here’s another reason not to worry about inflation any more.
An operations manager at one of the big funds told Unbalanced that his custodian’s head of sales and relationships had phoned him up for the annual fee negotiation last month, and requested an increase in line with CPI. The response of our operations guy is not printable here, but let’s just say it was enough to have us piling into Treasury bonds. Security slapstick at Deloitte, ATO The markets might be stealing everybody’s money but the real thieves are also getting a leg-up, thanks to sloppy security breaches at some organisations you’d expect to know better.
Back in September, a Deloitte auditor in London had a laptop stolen from their handbag which contained personal details of 150,000 members of the Railway Pensions scheme, including national insurance numbers. Vodafone employees’ pension details were also on the laptop, which was security encrypted but is yet to be found, which must be scary for those involved. But our own ATO takes the cake.
The Tax Office lost an unencrypted CD last month, containing the tax file numbers and personal information of over 3000 self-managed superannuants, when its approved courier company managed to lose the disc – supposedly before it even reached one of the guys in lycra. The disc still hadn’t turned up at presstime, but the ATO has offered everyone on the disc a new TFN. We reckon they should throw in a refund as well. Praemium chairmen forge a bond The chair of Praemium’s UK board, Lord Norton Brabourne, visited these shores last month and his local equivalent, Don Stammer, wanted to get him a gift that epitomised the ‘Australian’ sensibility.