The Banker Boys: South London's finest get suited and booted
The Banker - the75-year-old member of the FT Business group - is currently celebrating turning out the biggest issue of its long career.
The May issue of the title carried three supplements, increasing ad revenues by 83% compared with May 2000 and taking revenue to an all time high.
The magazine has traditionally attracted a core client base of banks that want to communicate with other members of the banking community.
"We're a global A-Z of banking, with banks from Austria to Venezuela," says Neil Barwick, head of sales for FT Business' institutional finance group.
The Banker has long attracted spend from financial institutions ranging from Bank Austria to Brazil's Bank Itau, as well as technology companies including IBM and Seimens, which provide technologies such as ATM machines to banks.
However, the five-strong sales team has worked hard over the past two years to break into new markets and during that time has trebled the The Banker's ad revenues. The mag is also pushing up the official ABC figure for its global circulation to 32,000 per issue from 19,000.
The team has concentrated on attracting new business from the multi-national corporations looking to exploit the capital investment market, such as Merill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
"It's been a challenge to break the mould of a magazine that's 75 years old and seen as quite traditional, and to show it's fresh and will include people who are reading it and want to get involved in the market," Barwick says.
But the desire to crack new markets doesn't just mean pestering agencies and advertisers. Barwick says the team will not approach clients unless it has an intelligent business solution.
The team sells everything from straight space to sponsorship of the magazine's annual awards, The Bank of the Year Awards.
The regional managers are structured according to geographic territories and specific business sectors - Ricky Penny handles the Asia Pacific, for example, while Simon Blackmore works on Northern Europe, Scandinavia and investment banks.
Barwick also heads up the other institutional finance titles, Pensions Management, Pensions Week, FT Mandate and European Pensions and News, having been promoted from international sales manager on The Banker.
After hours: straight down to the arse "The Arse" for the boys from The Banker
The regional managers spend a few weeks on business trips to their key territories about three times a year - Philip Church recently covered six South American countries on a three- week visit to the continent.
However, when the team members are at FT Business' office in Maple House on Tottenham Court Road, they can wine and dine clients at Charlotte Street restaurants such as Elena L'Etoile.
If it's just a drink after work, though, it's down to Warren Street's The Prince of Wales' Feathers - known as "The Arse" by workers at FT Business who frequented the establishment before its refurbishment.
The team members' schedules mean their socialising often revolves around occasions such as marriages or people's leaving dos.
Unusually, team-bonding sessions don't venture anywhere near go-cart tracks or race courses, but Barwick says a trip to a restaurant is on the cards to celebrate the recent bumper issue.
The team are mostly South London boys, says Barwick, and they might bump into each other on Clapham High Street on a Saturday night. "Then the better of us would head off to the Clapham Grand and the worse of us to The Swan in Stockwell," he says.
Better hope you don't bump into them on a Saturday night.
Neil Barwick, head of sales for the institutional finance group; Ricky Penny, Simon Blackmore, Philip Church, Jamie Hickman, all regional managers.