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Abigail Hofman: Planet Banker

IFR awards; HSBC cocktails; the US banks' Q4 reporting, or, a party without the punchbowl.

January is the cruellest month. Christmas cheer is in the rear-view mirror. Everyone talks about new beginnings but with snow and slush on the ground it feels like "same old same old". I don’t know about you but in January I am normally fatter, poorer and more curmudgeonly than in other months. The annual IFR awards dinner in London in mid-January is therefore something of a relief, as hordes of financiers, in fancy evening attire, gather at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Like moles emerging from their burrows after a hard winter, most bankers feel compelled to put in an appearance. Yet they grumble incessantly as they squeeze into their tuxedos. After a long day in the office, it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time to spend four hours in the company of colleagues, especially as feuds over the bonus pool usually escalate during January. I was invited to sit at one of the Credit Suisse tables. Credit Suisse won IFR’s Bank of the Year award.

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