Each year, as October approaches, the prospect of LME Week can be quite daunting. With events kicking off on Sunday and lasting throughout the first half of the week, it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.
This year was my second LME Week. In 2011, I had been with FastMarkets for little more than a month and it was definitely a case of “sink or swim”, as I whole-heartedly threw myself into the deep end to party with the big boys. Luckily, I have a mentor in our Chief Correspondent Martin Hayes, who, as many of you will know, is a fixture in the metals industry. Indeed, if you are with Martin, it can take you half the night to walk from one side of the room to the other, as everyone wants to stop him for a chat.
This year I was more independent, having been in the industry for a year, I soon found my diary filling up for lunches, meetings and parties. Meanwhile, our physical reporters, Perrine Faye and Yoke Wong, were a force of nature – you could hear their high-heels clicking up and down London as they met with producer and warehouse big-wigs to bring FastMarkets subscribers the hottest news.
It has been said that not much business actually gets done during this week, but in my opinion that is beside the point. As with most things in life, it is not what you know, but who you know, and LME Week gives an unparalleled opportunity to meet with people all around the globe. In fact, I was talking to one senior director who told me that a chance encounter with someone at a party had resulted in a potential large bit of business. Additionally, as LME becomes ever-more global, particularly after its purchase by HKEx, it is a vital tool to discuss the industry, find potential business, re-establish old contacts and make new acquaintances, all in one location.
For me, LME week culminated in the Sucden Financial party, who used the event to celebrate their 60th birthday on Wednesday. Held in Old Billingsgate Market, with no expense spared, there was a replica LME-ring – which doubled up as a dance floor (something I have always wanted to do, when I am at the Leadanhall exchange), fantastic entertainment and free-flowing champagne until the early hours. Being born and bred in Croydon, the opulence and luxury was a far cry from my younger nights out at the local Blue Orchid nightclub.
I won’t lie, Thursday morning was a struggle, and I did toy with the idea of staying in bed. But there is an unspoken rule in this industry. You can stay out and party to your heart’s content, but EVERYONE has to be in the office, on time – no excuses. Knowing that everyone else was in the same boat was some consolation, there is something quite comforting about a collective hangover as you discuss the exploits of the night before – of which I am not at liberty to discuss here!
See you all next year.