GUEST COMMENT: An ode to the joys of headhunting private bankers instead of traders

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I was recently asked why I decided, some ten years ago, to switch from the world of headhunting traders to that of headhunting private bankers. My explanation was that, having being introduced, via a client, to the exalted world of private banking I rather enjoyed being greeted with "Hello Charles" as opposed to "watchya shag."

I also decided, or at least my liver did, that a surplus of "pink poo," Becks and cheap claret was not a long term option for a healthy Man About Town. So, I switched the delights of the City to the greater and gentler delights of St James's Street and to the far gentler and less risqué world of the private client advisor.

What did I leave behind in the City? Well the lingo here is plainer: a "yard" is likely to mean a type of mews as opposed to a billion; "handle" something on a door; and a "scalping" may simply mean a rather poor haircut. Equally, I have never heard a young lady in St James's being described as "well offered, no bid." Is there a hotel here in the West that enjoys the high room turn around as that of a certain East establishment?

Eating habits are also different over this side. The idea of "the early run" (11:30ish start) is almost unheard of and however much I enjoy the local wine bars, I have to admit that there does not seem to be anywhere that has quite the fun of the "Mithras" on Cheapside. And is there really a local restaurant that enjoys the exciting reputation of the renowned "City Circle?" I think not!

Over here, Champagne is more likely to be a strawish colour and generally not consumed by the case. I have also noticed that the "Browns" here is somewhat different to the one frequented by certain forex traders I could mention (although the traders one was undoubtedly cheaper).

Regrettably lunches are not quite so long in global wealth management world. I think that I have managed a 1:00 to 2:30, but meeting the evening shift coming in whilst you are still in the bar from the early run is either an enjoyment of the past or simply not the done thing in these parts.

Neither have I encountered the private banking version of certain sterling traders who were known to have a pint of Bass or two before sitting down to a large lunch on the bench, accompanied by a bottle or three of claret, all to be washed down by a large port or four before wandering back to the desk at about 3:30pm.

I have to say that I enjoyed my younger years in the City and still treasure the memory of, on three occasions, being invited to join the merry throng (once as a bond salesman, once as a trainee spot dealer and the third and best to run a corporate desk). However, as the years take their toll I am glad to be moving in the refined world of the wealth manager and anyway my Club is nearer St James's than it is The City. My only regret is that I never did find out if the broker who decided to have his amorous way, on a wine bar floor, with a young lady dressed as a policewoman actually knew she wasn't really a strip-o-gram. Or is this just another myth in its own lunchtime?

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