Essien’s Ecobank charm offensive

Essien’s Ecobank charm offensive

Albert Essien has brought much-needed calm to the bank

Project Neptune rising…

Project Neptune rising…

… amid renewed liquidity concerns

February 2013

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And the award for spelling goes to…



Bankers don’t get a lot of love these days. The industry’s annual awards ceremonies have therefore become a very rare opportunity for them to spend an evening relaxing and enjoying themselves without having to pretend to be estate agents.

Last month Thomson Reuters’ IFR magazine held its annual bash in London at which French bank BNP Paribas was named bank of the year. As is traditional, the bank led the bidding on a charity tombstone to raise funds for Save the Children. Or did it?

Top billing on the tombstone during the event went to BNP Baribas. The Bariba are an ethnic group in northeastern Benin and northwestern Nigeria, more noted for their horse-riding prowess than their investment banking skills. Maybe they have good proofreading skills as well though.

Despite the urging of TV presenter Jonny Gould, other institutions did not bid outlandish sums just to "piss off the French", and the hastily renamed BNP Paribas was the largest contributor to the £1.054 million raised.

Special mention should also go to the European Investment Bank’s Bertrand de Mazières, who, on approaching the podium to receive the award for SSAR issuer of the year, tripped and took an unfortunate, though impressive, dive across the stage.

Uninjured, thankfully, de Mazières gracefully took it all in his stride.

Grace, however, was not something that was on display on the dance floor later on.