Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The City Bonus-Baggers and a Tale of Two Halves; Perks of the Job: From Heaven's Gate (Left) to St George's Hill in Surrey (below Left) to the Cartier Watch (below Right) That Clocks in at a Cool [Pounds Sterling]123,000

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The City Bonus-Baggers and a Tale of Two Halves; Perks of the Job: From Heaven's Gate (Left) to St George's Hill in Surrey (below Left) to the Cartier Watch (below Right) That Clocks in at a Cool [Pounds Sterling]123,000

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS BLACKHURST

DO YOU ever feel like you live in another country?

Two magazines are sitting on my desk. One is StyleJournal, produced by The Wall Street Journal. In it, there is a watch costing [currency]182,794 ([pounds sterling]123,000).

Apparently, the Cartier Tortue XL Tourbillon Chronomonopoussoir, for that is what it's called, "marries the highest technical requirements with a jeweller's aesthetic". Whatever, it's a watch.

The other is the current edition of Country Life magazine. It contains a thumping 117 pages of property adverts. They include Heaven's Gate at Holmbury St Mary in Surrey. With five receptions, eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, a coach house, staff flat, swimming pool, formal and walled gardens and stables, it looks the real deal at [pounds sterling]5.9 million.

Or there's something a bit more modern at Hale in Hampshire.

Occupying "one of the finest positions in the New Forest", it comprises six reception rooms, seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, a gym, swimming pool, tennis court, practice golf hole and putting green, stables and lakes (note the plural). It could be yours for [pounds sterling]4.5 million. Or how about a steeland- glass palace for [pounds sterling]3.65 million on the St George's Hill estate in Surrey (it's not so space-age that it doesn't have what the blurb charmingly describes as a "chauffeur's room").

Wading through the country estates, mansions and town houses is an exhausting process. If that's not bad enough, there's also an insert on Switzerland, with a further eight pages of chalets, houses and apartments.

Who buys this stuff ? Putting aside Premiership footballers, the odd lottery-winner or someone who has sold their business or come into a fortune left to them in a will, what sort of people have such sums to burn?

The answer, of course, is the City bonus-baggers. It's impossible to underestimate, since Big Bang and the influx of wallet-waving Americans into London in the late 1980s, the impact of the bonus culture on the top end of the luxury goods, art and property markets. …

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