Guest blogger: Nicky Richmond, managing partner, Brecher
Again, Manchester. I actually come from Manchester and I wasn’t expecting so much of my home town to come to me, in Cannes. First off, the Manchester-sponsored “Funding the Future” lunch debate with keynote speaker Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs, billed as “the man who gave BRICS to the world”. I really wanted to hear this. I tried, I honestly did, but there were no seats, it was lunchtime and we hadn’t eaten.
Wandering into the Bunker, it was still fairly quiet and the lunchtime exodus meant that you could have a good look at the stands. Obviously, we were going to end up at the London Pavilion but, out of a sense of duty and not least to justify the unbelievable cost of the MIPIM pass, we walked round the rest of it, or at least the central aisles, trying to work out how much people had spent.
You can generally gauge how well a company is doing by the size of their stand. Big is good, although a couple of the less, shall we say profitable firms, appeared to be going for broke, looking for suitors perhaps?
One of the more surreal stands was that of AFIRE. With a bizarre display of large photo portraits of George Bush, Gordon Brown and Colin Powell, I wondered what they were actually selling. Have a look- www.afire.org. I suspect that whatever else happens at the talks given by this not-for-profit organisation, there is quite a lot of “not my fault” as well.
I picked up some of the EG lunchtime debate where David Marks, of client Brockton Capital, described London as a city state – interesting. I wonder whether he was thinking of the mediaeval Italian version. It didn’t end well for them and I’m not sure I’m going to be bandying about that description any time soon. I think it’s an interesting concept though. And he is spot on: London, certainly on investing terms, is becoming ever more distinct and separate from the rest of the UK.
Standout events : cocktails with BDO. Bearing no traces of its former life as the location for the Lloyds bank party, this was mobbed. Helped by the fact that nobody wanted to be standing in the Arctic gale, it seemed like everyone who was everyone (or at least everyone in my corner of Central London) was there. Sad to leave, I was escorted by one of my favourite bankers to the Colliers cocktail party, on their boat, then off to joint dinner with GVA. My client Chris Lanitis of Amazon Properties, whose car has just been written off (not his fault), was quite happy to find himself sitting next to Neil Dobson of Aviva, his insurers. Handy.
The MIPIM conversation? Who’s lending, who’s not, but more importantly, where can I buy a pullover.