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Behind the scenes at the ‘Oscars of finance’

It was a night to remember and Gatsby-like glitz, writes Olenka Hamilton

The crème de la crème of the Spear’s HNW universe descended on the ballroom at the Dorchester for a glamorous night of drinks, networking and trophy-giving in association with Gaggenau. Guests sipped on Villa Sandi prosecco surrounded by the lavish floral installations provided by sponsor Boadicea, whose luxury scents made by British artisans filled the mirrored halls of the Dorchester for one night only.

The host for the evening, the Sky News economics editor Ed Conway, returned for a second year running, alongside Spear’s magazine’s founder and editor-in-chief, William Cash, to present the awards which every year recognise the efforts and achievements of the very best wealth managers and private client professionals in the business. ‘No can say what the next year will bring,’ declared Conway. ‘Might we be sitting here next year talking about Prime Minister Corbyn? Will it be President Pence? Will we be at war with North Korea? And yet in spite of all these terrifying trends…markets are at an unprecedented high. These are perplexing times and I don’t envy you and the experts whose job it is to steer us through it all.’

Among the more than 500 guests celebrating the thriving world of wealth management this year were Sir Rocco Forte, Pramod Mittal, Desmond de Silva QC, Kojo Annan and the Marquis of Beaumont. Also in attendance was Sir William McAlpine, who was born at the Dorchester 80 years ago, and his wife Lady Judy McAlpine (both stayed until the very end), as well as property mogul Sukhpal Ahluwalia and high-powered property adviser Harvey Soning, and businessmen Mathew Anglan of The Sushi Chef and Wayne Bos of Progility. And from the cream of the private banking world were Chris Allen CEO of HSBC Private Banking UK and Charles Boulton MD of HSBC Private Banking UK, along with Michel Dotta, chairman of the Monaco Economic Board.

Also present were Entrepreneur of the Year-winner Angus Macdonald of SWR, and Malcolm Joyce, who was named Philanthropist of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement Award recipient Gerrard Tyrrell.

Among the winners of the awards was HSBC Private Banking, which triumphed in the UK Private Bank of the year category, sponsored by Tottenham Hotspur. ‘We thoroughly enjoyed the WMA's this year,’ said Jamie Cassidy of Tottenham Hotspur. ‘It allowed us to showcase our new stadium premium areas to a new audience, who we may not have crossed paths with otherwise.’

The evening was also a perfect opportunity to announce the launch of the Spear’s 500, our Michelin-style guide to the top-ranked players in London’s private client industry. The culmination of a year’s worth of research, interviews and data analysis conducted by the authoritative Spear’s Research Unit, the book has become the definitive guide to the best advisers, lawyers and wealth managers for HNWs and UHNs.  Launching the latest edition, Spear’s editor Alec Marsh noted: ‘In the age of the iPhone this is the one book that every HNW should have.’

The evening was topped off with a raffle, with fabulous prizes provided by our sponsors including Tottenham Hotspur tickets, which nominee Miranda Fisher of Charles Russell Speechlys – narrowly defeated in the Family Lawyer of the Year category – was delighted to win. Victoria Salter-Galbraith, from Bircham Dyson Bell, won seven nights for two at the Alphonse Island, Seychelles.

The revelry continued into the early hours when the last of the guests departed into the night, clutching goodie bags filled with prosecco, perfume and their very own copy of the Spear’s 500, which usually retails for £150.

David Crisp, CEO of perfumier Boadicea the Victorious, was thrilled to have been one of the sponsors of the awards. ‘We were very proud to be sponsor for the night and took great delight in providing the decorations,’ Crisp said. Steve Brownless, from Gaggenau, the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards 2017 headline sponsor added: ‘We’re really pleased to be involved with Spear’s and to be sponsoring the event again. It’s always a great night.’

 Olenka Hamilton is staff writer for Spear’s