Financial Times: City blows £6m on Christmas parties in spite of flat bonuses: “Even companies such as Shell, the energy group forced to restructure earlier this year, have been hosting parties. Mario Tomkins at Shell said: "The staff at Shell all had an excellent time at Lindley Hall, the venue and food was fantastic and everything was organised perfectly." (ShellNews.net) 24 Dec 04
By Anne-Marie O'Leary
Published: December 24 2004
Bankers and fund managers across the City of London spent more than £6m on their Christmas parties this year despite knowing their annual bonuses were going to be flat.
City workers splashed out an average £101 per head on celebrating with their colleagues, according to research from party experts The Ultimate Experience.
During December, more than 38,000 bottles of champagne, 74,000 bottles of wine and 250,000 beers were drunk and about 200,000 canapes eaten at parties thrown by the corporate events specialists at nine London venues.
Even companies such as Shell, the energy group forced to restructure earlier this year, have been hosting parties.
Mario Tomkins at Shell said: "The staff at Shell all had an excellent time at Lindley Hall, the venue and food was fantastic and everything was organised perfectly." It is the first time there has been a party atmosphere in the City since the collapse of the dotcom boom and the equity capital markets in 2001.
Last year, weak profits at investment banks and hundreds of job cuts meant Christmas celebrations were put on ice. Last week Morgan Stanley's 'Snowflake' Christmas ball for more than 2000 staff was held at Old Billingsgate Market hall. As well as a free bar, food and live music, staff were treated to complimentary manicures.
UBS held its Christmas party for traders at the recently reopened Titanic, one of London's more glamorous restaurants.
CSFB, the investment banking division of Credit Suisse, chose the same venue for its European managing directors.
Given the hundreds of job cuts that CSFB announced this month as part of a restructuring at the bank, the irony of the venue has not been lost on employees. The investment bank asked its European MDs to contribute £820 each to attend the party - and that's before they received any year-end bonuses.
A Christmas carol concert held at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, was attended by scores of City professionals. Rubbing shoulders with the Countess of Wessex and serenaded by Pop Idol Will Young, the event in aid of the Haven Trust - a breast cancer charity - was sponsored by independent investment bank Cazenove, among others.