Baroness and entrepreneur-turned-parliamentarian Michelle Mone may not be someone you expect to read about in Wealth Manager writes Eleanor Mahmoud. But Mark Parello and Matthew Singleton from Raymond James’ Manchester branch were fortunate enough to be invited to the House of Lords to meet her.
Parello got in touch to tell me how their evening went. Always keen to hear what our readers are up to, I gave him the opportunity to tell the story here.
‘It’s not every day you’re invited to the House of Lords, so when Baroness Mone of Mayfair suggested meeting my colleague, Matthew Singleton and me there for dinner – well, how could we refuse!
‘The House of Lords has great presence; full of tradition and rules (more on that later). We ate in the main dining room, all wood panels and old paintings. Our dinner was very traditionally British and of excellent quality – I don’t know why, but before going I was expecting a menu not too dissimilar to old school dinners!
‘Over dinner, we talked about Michelle’s first business, Ultimo, and the marketing tactics she employed – one of which involved a group of people parading through central London dressed as plastic surgeons holding placards stating they were looking for a job. I understand it was this publicity stunt which made the demand for Ultimo lingerie take off.
‘We also spent time discussing cryptocurrencies and investment markets. Michelle has launched a luxury property development company in Dubai with her partner Doug Barrowman, where some of the homes are being sold in bitcoin. She has also launched her own cryptocurrency, Equi token.
‘My understanding of cryptocurrencies is very basic, and we have not bought any, either personally or for clients. My view is that currencies are a shared belief system and with no intrinsic value, since stepping away from the gold standard. Bitcoin in my mind is a classic pump and dump trade.
‘As you can imagine, Michelle disagreed and is very pro cryptocurrencies, seeing them as the future of currency. I learned that it’s not just about currency, but also the blockchain technology backing it up. Blockchain is a ledger creating full transparency for transactions.
‘This was eye-opening and I can see why it would work, but I can’t see why we don’t just apply blockchain technology to the currencies we already use – I may be thinking too simplistically…
‘I mentioned at the start of this article the rules the House of Lords have in place. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, don’t take your jacket off in the dining room and please make sure you do not take any pictures or videos, as it could get you thrown out.’