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ABN gives Deutsche run for its money

What a coup it could have been for ABN Amro. The flying Dutchman oh so nearly snaffled the top spot on IFR's charity tombstone away from Deutsche Bank just as the Germans were sitting back to admire their victory.

The ritual is now well established. Every year the bond markets publication's awards dinner features a fund-raising auction where banks pledge money and move up the tombstone according to which bids the most.

The 15-minute auction usually concludes with the winner of the best bank award sealing its victory with the largest handout ? normally whatever it takes to push the total raised over the £1 million mark.

However this year, just as the bidding closed at London's Grosvenor House, ABN Amro leapt to the top of the tombstone with its final pledge, pushing Deutsche into second place, to oohs and ahs all around the room.

There was a sudden frenzy of activity and, hey presto, a last bid from Deutsche was accepted and the bank huffed and puffed its way back to the top of the pile.

As one ABN Amro source said: "It looked like we'd done it but then they somehow managed to get that bid in ? though it did seem rather late in the day."

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