The ‘City’ doesn’t have the best reputation at the moment. Memories of bankers and hedge fund bonus wielding city employees spending big on brands like Aston Martin and Sunseeker are still fresh. In January of this year, there was an eerie silence in the motor yacht hall of the London Boat Show. Those who still had jobs in Canary Wharf – just up the road from the Excel exhibition centre, barely had spare change for a drink at the Guinness Bar, let alone sign on the line for a 50, 60 or 80 metre yacht.
But perhaps UK financial company Tullett Prebon knows something we don’t. The company will put its name to the 2010 London Boat Show in a sponsorship deal announced last week. Of course the marine industry needs the financial sector to come back – thousands of jobs were built on boom bonuses being spent on big boats. But to some, the deal may be seen as a sign that the ‘City’ plans to go on as if nothing ever happened.
The contract was agreed this week between NBS Managing Director Andrew Williams and Tullett Prebon Chief Executive Terry Smith and will see the Show become known as the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show.
Terry Smith, Chief Executive of Tullett Prebon, said:
“The London International Boat Show is one of the most prestigious and well-recognised events in the UK marine industry’s calendar, and that industry, much like the industry that Tullett Prebon is a leader in, is world class. Our two brands go well with one another. Many of our clients are customers of the UK’s marine industry and we believe both Tullett Prebon and the London International Boat Show will benefit from association with each other.”
NBS Managing Director, Andrew Williams is naturally delighted to welcome Tullett Prebon aboard.
“This is fantastic news for our Show and the marine industry as a whole. For the first time we have sponsors for both of the Boat Shows at once – with PSP sponsoring Southampton – which underlines how businesses are recognising the value and impact of the opportunities provided by these high-profile events. It also comes at a time when interest and investment in the two Shows is strong – to date we have over 80% of the space for London committed and ticket sales for Southampton are already well above last year.”
The PR didn’t go all Tullet Prebon’s way last week though. The Sunday Times reported that the company was in a dispute with several of its own people about unpaid bonuses. The paper reports that traders at Tullett Prebon, the City brokerage, are threatening legal action against the firm over unpaid bonuses worth up to £23m. It says that about 30 bond dealers handed in their resignations last week after complaining about the payouts and are poised to join Tullett’s arch-rival, BGC Partners.
The traders claim Tullett, headed by Terry Smith, owes them millions in unpaid bonuses under the terms of an earn-out agreement. The team was recruited through Tullett’s acquisition in 2007 of Chapdelaine, a New York trading house. Tullett, however, is arguing that the conditions of the payout have not been met.