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Fund managers showed they were happy to take more risk in order to boost their performance, with 100 top industry names gamely climbing down the outside of a 33-storey City skyscraper last weekend.
The sponsored abseil from the top of Janus Henderson’s office building, the Broadgate Tower, was organised by Cascaid, the industry charity. Asset managers from across the Square Mile raised tens of thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK.
As the captain of the “home team”, Andrew Formica, joint chief executive of Janus Henderson, was the first to descend, but was nearly blown around the corner of the glass tower by the force of the wind. Following closely behind him was non-exec Sarah Arkle, suitably dressed for the occasion in a Superman outfit with a flowing red cape.
She was “roped in” after asking at a board meeting how she could sponsor those crazy enough to take the plunge — only to be offered a place on the team. “I had hoped it would involve scaling the Henderson office, which is in the connected smaller building next door,” she said.
Not to be outdone, Mark Evans, a Jupiter analyst, completed his descent dressed as Spider-Man, attracting cheers from the crowd of friends and families on the ground watching the breathtaking feat.
Hendrik du Toit, chief executive of Investec Asset Management, brought along a giant zebra head to wear, but this was banned for health and safety reasons (falling from a height of 500 feet, even cuddly zebras could prove fatal).
Investec’s Rodger Kennedy was remarkably laid back, zipping down the side of the building in nothing but a T-shirt, shorts and a pair of moccasins.
Team Schroders, led by chief executive Peter Harrison, raised more sponsorship money than rival teams (and were ribbed for saying so). Phillip Middleton and Samantha Gold from distribution plus head of multi-manager funds Marcus Brookes all helped swell the coffers.
Ross Teverson, Jupiter’s head of emerging markets, made the fastest descent (hopefully this is not an omen for the funds he manages), while JPMorgan analyst Sean Daly got stuck half way up the building for 20 minutes thanks to a tangled rope.
High winds meant that Jasper Berens, head of UK funds at JPMorgan, had to wait a while before he made his descent. Famously late for meetings, Mr Berens has a separate fundraising challenge with Cascaid where he is fined £5 for every meeting he arrives late for in 2017. “I am making strides on my challenge no doubt, but it’s a struggle,” he said.
In the end it got so windy that 40 fund managers had to abandon their attempt, but Cascaid is hoping they will be brave enough to come back for a second go later this year.
With nearly £900,000 raised against a target of £1m for the whole year, these plucky fund managers are clearly delivering some serious outperformance. Let’s hope they have the courage to double their annual target to £2m.
If you want to help them on their way, go to: http://vmgiving.co/CASCAID