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Financial Focus

FOR many, yesterday was like the hangover one suffers after an excessive night out. The Games are over, the post-Games post mortem has begun.

The arguments are many. How do we inspire children to take up more sport? What will happen to the Olympic Park once the Paralympics Games finish in a few weeks’ time? How do we as a nation recreate and hang on to the tremendous goodwill and sheer exuberance that overcame us all during the past few days against a background of economic austerity?

There are so many questions and as ever, so many answers, not all of them facing in the same direction.

One thing on which there can be little dispute is that the UK as a whole needs more than ever to pull together in order to wrest the economy, on which we all depend, out of its current malaise.

There are undoubtedly issues of regulation, taxation, political uncertainty etc that can and are holding businesses back at the moment. But the Olympians have shown above all else that often what seem to be insurmountable barriers to progress can be overcome.

Here at City A.M. we are building up to the equivalent of our own Olympics Ceremony in October – our third annual awards ­– at which we celebrate exactly the sorts of people who have helped to drive our economy forwards despite the obstacles in their way.

There is a certain symmetry here, for it was at the inaugural event, now nearly two years ago, that Lord Coe as the keynote speaker shared with us his vision for London 2012 that became such a spectacular reality in these past few days.

Not surprisingly, Lord Coe is one of those shortlisted in this year’s awards to be Personality of the Year for his tremendous work as chairman of Locog, the Games’ organising committee.

Our high powered panel of judges, which includes CBI president Sir Roger Carr and Katherine Garrett-Cox, CEO of Alliance Trust, will have to assess his work against the achievements of others such as Richard Scudamore of the Premier League, who secured a mouth-watering rights deal for his clubs, and Helena Morrissey of Newton Asset Management, whose tireless campaigning to get women better represented in the boardroom is beginning to show results.

In other categories, some of the City’s best known bankers are pitted against each other, as are marketing campaigns, insurance companies and investment banks.

The awards won’t take place at the Olympic Park but they will be staged centrally in the City, at the St Paul’s Grange Hotel. And the crowd will be generous in its acclaim of the City’s very own Olympians.

For further information and details of how to secure a place for the event on 17 October, visit www.cityam awards.com.

There’s much debate in the banking world about the performance of Jefferies, the US-owned broker, on the Manchester United flotation at the end of last week.

In kicking the flotation of the UK’s most popular football club over the line in New York, Jefferies has achieved something its larger rivals, such as Morgan Stanley (who failed to take the club to market in Singapore) couldn’t achieve.

But there’s talk that Manchester United stock, even if issued at a below expectations $14 a share, was massively overvalued and has only traded half decently due to considerable financial support from the underwriters. It will be a few weeks yet before we can judge this one.


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