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    London Clubs Rebuff `Braying' Bankers, Favor Style Over Wealth

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    sang_garuda
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    London Clubs Rebuff `Braying' Bankers, Favor Style Over Wealth

    Post by sang_garuda on Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:19 am

    Jonathan Downey, the owner of the East Room club on the edge of London's financial district, says bankers are the last people he wants as members.

    ``We don't want the archetypal City idiot, waving his cash about at the bar and braying like a buffoon and annoying women,'' said Downey, 42, whose club charges men an annual membership fee of 350 pounds ($655). Women pay 150 pounds.

    Financial workers, who make up 85 percent of employees in London's City square mile, are being shut out of the most exclusive clubs. Passed over by centuries-old establishments such as White's and Brooks's, which prefer nobility, military officers and politicians, bankers aren't welcome at the newest venues either. They're not cool enough, said Mark Wakefield, U.K. head of clubs at the Quintessentially concierge service.

    ``If you work in the City, unfortunately this is something money can't buy,'' said Wakefield, 25. ``Lawyers, bankers, even property developers they're not that keen on. They want creative people.'' Wakefield advises clients on which clubs would suit them as well as favor their applications.

    London is a city of two private-member club scenes, one established, the other developing.

    The first, which emerged as early as the 17th century, is centered in Piccadilly, in the West End. The Duke of Wellington was a member of the Cavalry and Guards Club and Winston Churchill belonged to White's. Such clubs offer libraries, butlers, Georgian antiques and the company of landed gentry.

    `Brought Down to Earth'

    The second club scene, pioneered when the Groucho opened in Soho in 1985, is made up of venues dotted about the city. Membership now is ``mostly geared towards media and creative industries,'' said Cecilia Stainow, spokeswoman for Soho House Group, the largest operator of private members clubs in London.

    ``I feel hurt, well not hurt, but I just feel brought down to earth,'' said Daniel Hernandez, 24, who works in equity derivatives sales at Commerzbank AG. He said he's considered applying for membership of Shoreditch House, operated by Soho House Group. ``It's a club so I guess everybody has the right to decide which clients they want to have. They'd rather have a client that's more into arts than money.''

    Shoreditch House, east of the financial district, opened in June 2007. Supermodel Helena Christensen has visited, while Kevin Spacey, the actor and artistic director of the Old Vic theater, has been to Soho House, in the West End, the Guardian reported on March 17. The clubs don't divulge identities of guests or members, Stainow said.

    Soho House provides wine-tasting sessions and private film screenings, Shoreditch House has a rooftop pool, and Bungalow 8's main offering is exclusivity.

    `Funky People'

    As far as the 300,000 people working in London's financial services industry are concerned, the clubs are about style, not wealth, said the East Room's Downey. Bankers are known for ``acting with this kind of sense of entitlement, like, `Because I've got money I can do what I like,''' he said.

    Clubs sometimes do admit financiers, according to Wakefield. Bankers who get into Bungalow 8, in Covent Garden, ``have a great time looking at all these great funky people and, really, people are looking at them thinking, `What's happening to this club?'''

    Bungalow 8 spokeswoman Kate Atkinson declined to comment.

    ``To reject only on the point that they're coming from a banking background, it's like discrimination,'' said Georgios Ouzounis, 24, hedge fund analyst at Kyte Capital Advisors LLP.

    `What Makes You Laugh?'

    At the entrance of Shoreditch House, the guest finds a photo of a Damien Hirst print -- a man in a suit crossed by a red bar and the words ``no suits'' written across the image. Two traders who were invited by members to sip cocktails at the pool one day last month were told by a receptionist to take off their jackets and ties.

    Soho House Group's aim is ``to create a haven'' for members ``to relax and be with each other,'' Stainow said. The group owns Soho House, Electric House, Shoreditch House, High Road House and Babington House, as well as properties abroad, with a combined membership of about 15,000.

    At a Soho House club, an applicant must fill out a form with questions including, ``What makes you laugh?'' (in 10 words) and ``How do you think your friends would describe you?'' (in 25 words). Answers are judged by a panel. Membership of all the clubs is 900 pounds a year. Joining one costs 600 pounds.

    ``I wouldn't be a member because I wouldn't talk to anyone because I wouldn't be cool enough'' said Jake Turner, a 24-year- old trader at Citigroup Inc. ``I just think they want to have their own clubs and not be encroached on.'' Turner said he was speaking for himself, not for colleagues or his employer.

    Quintessentially's Wakefield gets the most inquiries about membership of Soho House Group clubs and Bungalow 8, which has a questionnaire that asks for a paragraph about the applicant and his or her profession. U.K. membership to the bar is 350 pounds annually, or 100 pounds for overseas members.

    ``You have to respect the club's wishes,'' Wakefield said. Also, ``be quite honest'' with the would-be club member.


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    Re: London Clubs Rebuff `Braying' Bankers, Favor Style Over Wealth

    Post by Prodip2007 on Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:10 am

    ------||------------||------nice sharing bro.Tq u bro...Tq u very much...Keep up bro------||------------||------

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