Out of the Woods
Seen and heard in the corridors of the Annual Meetings
•/ Sustainable & Plastic: Ratings colossus S&P’s sales stand at the IIF conference offered passers-by a conundrum. On the one hand, the strawberry smoothies they served up came with ocean-friendly paper straws. On the other, all the packaging, including the drink cups, were very much of the stuck-up-the-turtle’s-nose plastic variety.
•/ Hogarthian hecklers: Meanwhile, a stone’s throw from the White House, two weathered gentlemen were offering a new take on street theatre. The first sat underneath a big yellow umbrella, calling Donald Trump what sounded like “a [expletive-deleted] crumpet”, while 10 yards away, a man with faraway eyes and a Muppet puppet on his hand, intermittently belched. Who says satire is dead?
•/ Out of the Woodfords: Wonder why the implosion of star fund manager Neil Woodford’s empire gripped Britain’s press so tightly? At a closed-door briefing with the UK’s financial regulator, it emerged two leading business hacks had invested in his funds — and had some strong feedback for the unfortunate FCA boss.
•/ Holidays from hell: Robin Brooks seems to be suffering from a bad case of vacation whimsy. At a panel at the Ronald Reagan building, the IIF’s chief economist would not shut up about his holidays, moaning that every place he went was mired in some kind of currency crisis. Memo to Buenos Aires: forget about fiscal stability and US-dollar debt. Just bung Brooks a few quid to stay away and the peso will be golden.
•/ International Monetary Funk: When IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva stepped up to deliver a keynote speech on Saturday, she surely didn’t expect to be audio-bombed by an audience member’s phone blaring the song Baby Shark. On and on it went... Daddy Shark, Grandma Shark, do-do-da-do-doo, full-on big-time earworm.
•/ Big bash: Out of the Woods was delighted to find Mizuho’s annual bash at the St Regis had survived the frightening new world of bank budget cuts. The Japanese lender always puts on a good show in the nation’s capital and insiders reckon that even if climate crisis, cryptocurrencies and social protest shake the global financial system to its core, Mizuho’s will be the last shindig standing. Trebles all round!