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A Shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing

I have just about recovered from shock, having bumped into a very dear old sixth form friend at Positive Solutions’ annual forum last week (Dan Cole the IFA, who’d have thunk it?) who had just joined the firm. Having not seen each other for many years, we spent lunch chatting about old friends, new loves and, well, Positive Solutions.

I had to leave ahead of the event’s gala dinner but my liver and health are thankful as a little bird tells me that some were still going strong at 2.30 am.

Cut to this week when gala event number two of what has come to be known as conference season (can’t you distribution groups spread them out a little? We can only rotate the cocktail dresses so many times, you know?), at the magnificent resort of Cannes, courtesy of Bankhall. Before you all say it, yes, I do have a fabulous life and, yes, I do know how spoilt we all are. But it is all fully appreciated, you can be sure of that.

Surrounded by millionaires but avoiding the mini bar and designer shops as, clearly on a journalist’s salary, I am not one of them, both liver overuse and sleep deprivation were more than made up for with two nights on the trot sampling the delights of the hotel bar. And then some.

Millionaires bagged: zilch.

Designer stores gawped in: loads.

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

Taking oneself off to the remotest part of the UK – a mile and a half from a main road, not far from Land’s End – does not mean escape from all things financial. This week, I am working as a volunteer for a classical music charity in the presence of world-class tunesmiths such as cellist Steven Isserlis and tenor Mark Padmore. I am delighted to report that IFA Money Matters of Cambridge is digging deep into its pockets to sponsor one of our concerts.

Also lending a hand here in Cornwall is the delightful Laura Cleobury from the marketing department of architects Skidmore Owings and Merrill, which devised the master plan for Canary Wharf and is currently cooking up the new Broadgate Tower.

Browsing through the books in our own holiday retreat I find a copy of Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker. The book relates the story of the invention of securitisation of mortgages by Salomon Brothers in the 1980s, sowing the seeds of the current credit crunch.

It was only a month or so ago that I was at the Commons celebrating the imminent passing of the Butterfill Bill, which will allow building societies – mutuals owned by their members – to access a greater proportion of their funds from the money markets instead of being restricted to the terra firma of having half their funds raised from savers. The step, supposedly intended to help them to offer longer-term loans, will launch them into the same choppy waters as their demutualised cousins Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley, Alliance and Leicester and Halifax.

Number of people at a recent party who were amazed to learn that Sam Shaw and Esther Shaw are NOT my daughters: a horrifying five. Do I really look that old?

Esther Shaw is deputy personal finance editor at the Independent on Sunday

After a rather animated Friday night out in Farringdon – where I chanced upon the latter stages of the birthday celebrations of luscious Lansonette Lisa Stanley – it was an early start for the Blenheim International Horse Trials courtesy of Invesco Perpetual.

Lansons’ Katie Hayward had invited the “horsey” hacks along to the day although, on arrival at the beautiful Blenheim Palace, I found myself, along with The Observer’s Jill Insley, curiously drawn to the ferret racing and unable to drag ourselves away until we had seen whether favourite Crazy Jack won his race. He didn’t. We enjoyed lunch in the main arena pavilion with Invesco’s Jane Bland – who admits she isn’t the world’s biggest equine lover – although she did seem to take quite a shine to UK event rider William Fox-Pitt when he came to chat to us.

From Blenheim, I headed back into London and out to Twickenham to join Halifax’s Paul Fincham and Carol Wright for a bit of “walking on the moon” and “de do do do, de da da da” at the Police concert, where, I must say, the rather chiselled Sting is not doing so bad for 55.

IFAs who have been circulating a story that I went “hot air ballooning in my glad rags”: you know who you are, Kevin Carr from Lifesearch although I believe the Telegraph’s Ian Cowie may have had a hand in this tale, too.

IFAs who think cupcake is rather a good name for me: Hargreaves Lansdown’s one and only Ben Yearsley.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Sam Shaw, email: sam.shaw @centaur.co.uk or telephone: 020 7943 8042

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