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Opinion

Yodeller of the year

Asia may be crumbing, and rumours of losses on several investment banks' proprietary trading desks are beginning to do the rounds, but that doesn't appear to be hampering the desire to splash out on lavish Christmas parties.

Literally, in one case. Five houses have revived last year's idea of having a joint party, and this year have chosen the London Aquarium as their venue. Goldman Sachs is again running the books for the deal, and is the only one of the five which is still in the same shape as last year. CSFB has just bought parts of BZW, Morgan Stanley merged with Dean Witter, Salomon with Smith Barney, and SBC Warburg bought Dillon Read. Could this be the time to throw some of the unwanted scraps to the sharks, or will a sense of decorum and festive spirit prevail?

Bankers Trust has chosen an altogether more cultural venue, Shakespeare's Globe theatre, no less, to fete its guests a week later. Others, though, started early. Barclays Capital, the bits of BZW which Barclays kept, staged their relaunch at Vong, a swish Knightsbridge restaurant specializing in a cross between French and Thai cuisine. "It's been a very successful evening," said one senior manager on the night.

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