CITY WHISPERS: That’s an idea to pep up London’s stock market


CITY WHISPERS: Columbia Threadneedle boss wants return of personal equity plans which allow tax-free investment in stock market

Jeremy Smith, Columbia Threadneedle’s head of UK equities, has warned that British firms looking to the US that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

According to Smith, only a handful of British companies have ever made a success of the move across the Atlantic, adding that most have made no impression whatsoever.

Instead, Smith believes there is plenty of life in the London stock market but he acknowledges that the rules need shaking up.

Old school: Jeremy Smith has called for the return of personal equity plans

Old school: Jeremy Smith has called for the return of personal equity plans

Smith has called for the return of personal equity plans, or Peps, which allowed people to invest tax-free in the stock market, and in particular encouraged direct ownership of shares over holding funds.

As Chancellor, Gordon Brown got rid of them, thereby undoing Maggie Thatcher’s efforts to turn the country into a shareholder democracy.

Sir Howard Davies’ Ann Widdecombe connection

Little-known fact: NatWest chairman Sir Howard Davies lived in the same north London house as politician and Strictly star Ann Widdecombe four decades ago, when both were in their salad days.

Before the gossip-mongers go into overdrive, the pair resided in two separate flats.

Whispers hears that Widdy, now 75, was in those days much admired by Islington gents for her smart outfits and her shapely calves.

Horta-Osorio in Lakes restaurant

Who should be spotted at the Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside – whose 12-course tasting menu for £165 a head has restaurant critics salivating with delight – none other than suave banker Antonio Horta-Osorio?

A fellow diner tells Whispers that the former Lloyds Bank and Credit Suisse supremo seemed to be less than delighted with the fare on offer at the foodie haven in the Lake District –unlike the rest of the clientele who were tucking in with gusto.

Vaizey does it 

Ed Vaizy is in the market for another banking role after leaving the New York advisory company LionTree.

‘Lazy Vaizey’, as the Tory peer is dubbed by some of his rivals, joined the firm in 2016 to hunt down tech deals across Europe.

LionTree, founded by Aryeh Bourkoff, has advised on mergers including Verizon’s take- over of Yahoo. 

Bourkoff is known for the company he keeps over lunches in New York, who include the glamorous former White House communications director Hope Hicks.

How many deals Vaizey got over the line during his stint is unknown.

                                                                       Contributors: Ruth Sunderland and Anne Ashworth 



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