Caught with their trousers down

No, this wasn’t the latest City beauty parade, with dealmakers adopting increasingly desperate tactics to win new business.

It was in fact a fundraising stunt organised by Jeremy Beadle at the ICAEW corporate finance faculty’s charity quiz night. It wasn’t a pretty sight – paisley boxer shorts never did look good, least of all on middle aged City types – but it did at least raise a smile. Which is just as well, as there is very little else to smile about at the moment.

At the beginning of this year, pundits were confidently predicting a return to normality by the third or fourth quarter of the year.

But which year?Cflickers of hope, but those flickers soon expired.

The funny thing is, if you were to talk to those 30 scantily clad corporate financiers, each of them would tell you that business ‘ain’t bad actually’.

There appears to be a reasonable level of activity still in the middle market, and there will always be a demand from those wishing to buy or sell businesses.

But the big ticket deals are simply not there.

It is easy to lose count of how many redundancies there have been at the likes of Goldman Sachs. It wasn’t so long ago that the large accountancy firms aspired to play in the same league – they must be very glad now that they stuck to what they know best.

At the same time, the main stock exchanges are all but closed to new issuers, but again there is still life in the Alternative Investment Market.

The big deals are an endangered species, but at least the small companies are giving the dealmakers something to smile about.

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