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The MM Christmas Awards Part 2: Meltdowns, bust-ups and parties

It has been an eventful year in financial services with plenty of bust-ups, cock-ups and meltdowns that deserve to be honoured.

Yesterday we started handing out the gongs, including brass neck of the year, mea culpa and performance of the year. Read all about it here. Today we’re more interested in the meltdowns, parties, awards and fights that stole the limelight in 2013. 

Best advertising campaign: The Department for Work and Pensions got innovative to spread the auto-enrolment message by advertising on bacon roll bags and writing a pensions rap song. On the back of deputy head of news Tom Selby’s article on the campaign, pensions minister Steve Webb took to carrying a promotional bag around with him to whip out as his favourite party piece whenever the conversation got awkward. 

Career meltdown: It takes some doing to beat the Crystal Methodist and former Co-operative Bank chairman Reverend Paul Flowers to this award but we’ve plumped for Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom. Bloom landed himself in hot water over the summer when he called for an end to the UK sending aid to “bongo bongo land”. Despite criticism he hung on to his job after a making a belated apology, after previously declaring that he never apologies. 

However, the final straw came when the former IFA lost the plot at his party’s conference in October by branding Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick a racist and hitting him over the head with a rolled up booklet. The outburst came just moments after Bloom called a room full of women “sluts” and saw the colourful MEP and Ukip financial services spokesman sacked within hours. 

Best party: To avoid any suggestion of a conflict of interest, the obvious highlight of the social calendar, the Money Marketing Awards, was excluded from consideration by the judges. With this in mind the Lifesearch Charity night, which raised over £7,000 for the Willen Hospice cancer charity in Milton Keynes, was elevated to number one position. Hopes were not too high when we were told the night would be held in chain-bar-from-hell Revolution Bar but Mr Baigrie and his team pulled it off. 

Whilst most financial firms are taking a low-key approach to the party season, a special mention must also be given to one mortgage lender who really got everyone feeling like the good (ie dangerously excessive) times were truly back when it threw its Christmas party for journalists. With champagne and (very) expensive spirits flowing a new drink was even created in the form of a Jager Dom, containing a Jagermeister shot submerged in a glass of Dom Perignon. It’s a good job Bank of England governor Mark Carney wasn’t there to see the ugly effects of the housing boom in full swing as his forward guidance timetable would surely have been accelerated. 

Party-er of the year: There ain’t no party like a John Malone party it seems. The Godfather of mortgages and PMS chairman bowed out of the industry this month with no less than five leaving dos to send him off. “I’ve never known a guy with so many going away events – I’m plagarising my own speeches,” said long term friend and Sesame Bankhall Group chair John Cowan who was wheeled out to say a few friendly words at the dos which included a This is Your Life send-up with readings from Malone’s fictional biography. 

AJ Bell victory

Best Awards:The collective eternal modesty of the Money Marketing team led them to exclude the raft of media awards they landed this year from consideration. However, individual members of the team were less humble in their craving for the spotlight. Step forward Tom Selby, Paul Thomas, Sam Macdonald (until he cried off after two minutes), Devraj Ray and various members of our sales team who claimed victory in the AJ Bell 5-a-side tournament.

The victory grated with AJ Bell marketing director Billy “stick ’em in the stands” Mackay.”They all enter with a game plan, then they get hit,” bellowed the Glaswegian Sunday league veteran before getting torn apart by the MM team in the final. Through gritted teeth, Andy Bell managed to present the award to the team without kicking off (just about). 

Highly commended in this category goes to MM group editor Paul McMillan who once again displayed evidence a mis-spent youth by cruising to victory in the Schroders journalist bowling tournament. Wild allegations that McMillan was involved in a dirty tricks campaign, including tripping up head of UK intermediary Robin Stoakley as he was about to bowl, resulting in him having to use a kids ramp for the rest of the session, have been fiercely denied. 

Out of Context of the year: Again a hotly contested category but there was a stand out winner.  “We are behaving as well as we can” was the quote that saw Ivan Massow win his second award this year for assuring an MM hack of his good conduct

Biggest spat: Labour Vs the Investment Management Association. Labour laid into the IMA at its party conference in September over its lack of action on charges transparency. The IMA hit back by claiming Labour was wrong and getting bad advice from people with no interest in what’s best for consumers. Both parties seem up for the fight. Labour pensions geek Gregg McClymont looks like a bit of a scrapper while new IMA head of communications Annette Spencer is understood to be quite handy in a bar brawl. This is definitely one to watch next year.

The judges also noted that there have been quite a few testy relationships developing on twitter between various penions mouthpieces which all bodes well for next year’s awards.  

Has anyone been robbed of a deserved award? Is there any other stand out performances we’ve missed? Let us know below…..


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