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A shaw thing

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
If anyone thought that Jason Wyer-Smith would disappear from the social radar when he left Virgin Money to set up 42PR, they were very much mistaken. He is batting about London on behalf of clients such as comparison website GoCompare, so it was good to catch up with him on Wednesday. He was meeting up with Pathom’s Phil Thomas who runs the website – no, not the stock exchange or the university but a handy little site called London South East which he has cleverly turned into a financial services resource.

After a quick coffee with Jace near Liverpool Street, it was time for me to depart for St Germain in Clerkenwell for lunch with Ashton Berkauer and Charlotte Nunes from uSwitch, both reeling from the effects of a recent TV programme urging customers to change energy providers, which nearly blew the gaskets at the site’s call centre. It is comforting to hear that business is booming for some people in this gloomy market.

Nevertheless, money saving seems to have gone to the pair’s heads, as the lunchtime conversation ranged from buying trainers on eBay (frowned on) to sourcing baby equipment and clothes in charity shops (the jury’s out).

Next was the Resolution Asset Management Axial party at the Coq d’Argent in Poultry. Have there ever been so many suits assembled in one place? And so crammed together? The rain bucketed down outside and the glorious roof garden was shunned for the warm haven of the restaurant, much to the disappointment of Resolution sales and marketing director Jonathan Polin.

There were, of course, some ladies among the crowd of Champagne sippers and one of the first to sparkle against the wall of worsted was the indomitable Louise Hatch of M:Communications. There was some mystery talk about an Axa fund that is not an Axa fund. Is a life insurance brand such a no-no these days? Gongs were distributed during the evening but it was much too noisy and crowded to hear who the winners were.

Number of Halifax press personnel who failed to turn up to work on account of “mud poisoning” in the aftermath of Glastonbury this year (well, that’s their story): at least one.

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
First to a rather wet Hyde Park to join Abbey’s likely lads, David Stewart and Charlie Ansdell, for some summer festival fun. On arrival in a rather wet VIP area, I joined the thirsty press team and a select gathering of MM’s finest for a glass of Moet or two while we watched the grey clouds gather. Undeterred, we made our way through the crowds and into the shelter of the royal box to bop along to Powderfinger and Ben Harper.

A few hours later, on receiving a begging phone call from the Sunday Times’ Liz “It’s wet out here” Colman, we conjured up a cunning plan to exchange VIP wristbands and smuggle her into our safe haven. However, being the top hack that she is, dear Liz had already managed to talk her way in and her valiant efforts were soon rewarded with a glass of Moet and a vodka monster as we sang along to our hearts’ content to the Counting Crows’ Mr Jones.

Just a few days later, it was time to don the dancing shoes again at Summer Swing in the beautiful surrounds of Kew Gardens, courtesy of Britannia Building Society. I found myself sat beside PR manager Toby Nelson who seemed surprised that I was such a spring chicken. “You look about 60 in your picture,” he informed me, before trying his very hardest to get himself out of the hole he had just dug. But I am not one to bear grudges and we were soon engrossed in conversation about mortgage rates and dating etiquette.

Fortunately, the rain just about held off for the evening which meant that after dinner we were able to take our drinks outside and shimmy along to the fantastic Jools Holland. We were joined once again by Abbey’s press team who had just about recovered from Sunday’s antics, along with the usual personal finance suspects, including freelancer Harriet Meyer and ThisisMoney’s Alan Sullivan.

Number of celebs who are sharing a hotel with New Star’s Jamie Legg: at least two, including Ronaldo and Donatella Versace.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Nicole Blackmore at telephone: 020 7943 8190


Keep it in the family

My wife and I want to buy and move into my parents’ home so that it frees up some capital for them to build a smaller house in the garden. We do not presently have a mortgage and do not know if we could get one in the current climate. How much would it cost and could we afford the repayments?


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