To celebrate 40 years of the BRIT’s, Kames Capital make four special awards to commemorate the occasion.
The Samantha Fox / Mick Fleetwood gong for least successful combination – the duo co-presented the awards in 1989 in what has widely been acclaimed as one of the oddest combinations in the awards’ history – would go to Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN Amro. RBS paid £45bln to buy ABN Amro in 2007, a move that was largely credited as one of the first steps in RBS’s ultimate nationalisation, with the value of the acquisition effectively written down to zero within 18 months of the deal being completed. Thirteen years later and the RBS brand has been quietly retired, much like the aforementioned presenters.
In 1998, Jarvis Cocker took exception to the content of a Michael Jackson performance at the awards ceremony and promptly stormed the stage, halting the show and perhaps signalling the beginning of the end of a 30 year career. The Jarvis Cocker Whistleblower award goes to Sherron Watkins, Vice President of Corporate Development at Enron. In August 2001, she sent an email to CEO Kenneth Lay, outlining what she called an “elaborate accounting hoax”, which included inflating income and hiding epic losses. Despite the company’s concerted attempts to humiliate and punish her, four months later Enron filed for bankruptcy, becoming the biggest corporate bankruptcy in history.
The self-confident tone of Noel Gallagher’s acceptance speech for Oasis’s award in 1996 – when the band accepted the best video award from Michael Hutchence with the quip “Why is a has-been presenting to the gonna-be’s?” – is widely viewed as a “changing-of-the-guard” moment, which Hutchence struggled to recover from. Although Tesla regularly features as one of the most shorted stocks in hedge funds’ portfolios, the company’s current market cap of $146 bln makes it bigger than Ford, General Motors and Daimler combined. These figures – combined with Elon Musk’s relentlessly bullish marketing and self-promotion – ensures Tesla receives the Noel Gallagher Self-confidence award.
Finally, the Robbie Williams award for Biggest Winner – Williams holds the record after collecting a grand total of 15 Brit awards – goes to the Gilt market, which has a total return of 200% over the past twenty years, and 13% since Williams won his last award in 2017. Much like Robbie’s prospects for future glory, it would be difficult to foresee such triumph for government bonds over the next few years, although its capacity for reinvention should not be underestimated.