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「配股怎么操作」全球公关中心在哪里?

  CENTRE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS GRAVITY SHIFTS TO LONDON

  “A good reputation is worth more than money,” judged the Roman maxim. But that was before public relations was invented and the rich and powerful could have both.

  As financial and media industries have become more international, another dilemma has emerged for the jet set. Where do you manage your reputation from?

  The US is the world's largest public relations market – worth $4bn (�bn, £2bn) in 2005, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the private equity firm.

  Yet the flow of Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese companies raising money in London and the city's role as a media hub has strengthened its claim to be a shaper of global reputations.

  David Gallagher, CEO at the PR firm Ketchum London, said: “The centre of gravity has moved from New York to London, and I say this as an American.

  “It's partly the same factor which has seen a lot of banking move to London, namely being in the right time zone to reach Russia or China during the working day.

  “British agencies are among the best-run and trained in the world. And then you have to factor in some degree of anti-American sentiment which means people want advice from somewhere outside the US.”

  Some sceptics scoff at the lack of data proving a shift from New York to London. Indeed, most agencies are coy about confirming reputational work for individual clients from any country.

  “You have clients whose definition of success is to make sure you keep their names out of the press,” says one senior industry executive.

  But there is acknowledgement that London agencies have benefited from the same underlying trends that have spurred the growth of the city's financial markets.

  Russia and the former Soviet republics have been a particularly fertile source of clients. Ketchum advised on media relations during the Russian presidency of the G8, subcontracting some work to Portland, a London firm run by Tim Allan, the former UK government spin doctor. Champollion, a small London outfit, represents Akhmed Zakayev, the London-based Chechen resistance figure.

  On the business front, Russian companies such as Polyus and Rosneft hired local advisers when planning or completing London listings or other transactions.

  The migration of Russian oligarchs to London has also seen many move into the public eye and find themselves in need of PR advice.

  Oleg Deripaska, the metals tycoon, has a link to two London agencies. Financial Dynamics advises Rusal, the aluminium producer that Mr Deripaska built in the late 1990s, which is involved in a deal to merge with rival Sual and the alumina assets of a third group, Glencore.

  Separately, Finsbury, another London agency, advises Basic Elements, the holding group for Mr Deripaska's investments.

  Lord Bell, the former aide to Baroness Thatcher who chairs the PR firm Bell Pottinger, is a long-term representative of Boris Berezovsky, the exiled Russian billionaire.

  Arguably, of all the city's PR figures, Lord Bell is the most associated with advising prominent figures whose reputation is taking a battering in the press.

  He looked after the case of Alexander Litvinenko, the poisoned former Russian spy and friend of Mr Berezovsky. Bell Pottinger has been used by both BAE Systems and the Saudi government – the parties affected by last year's controversial decision by the UK government to terminate an investigation into allegations of corruption in a £10bn (�5bn, $19.6bn) arms deal.

  Though it will not confirm it, Bell Pottinger is also believed to have acted for governments in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

  One senior industry executive said: “Using Tim Bell is the communications equivalent of dialling 911.”

  Some predict that as London-based former oligarchs try to realise their assets, more will need advisers for personal interests as opposed to corporate assets.

  Over time, emerging markets are also likely to challenge London for business. When trade associations in several countries were asked to predict where a “future global PR hub” would be situated, the most popular answers were China, Singapore or Hong Kong. And the sheer size of budgets in New York, and in Washington can still dwarf London fees.

  Charles Watson, chief executive of Financial Dynamics, which was bought by FTI Consulting of the US for an initial $260m, said: “London is the absolute global capital for doing non-domestic deals now, and every company is concerned about how its reputation is seen with investors.

  “But the work that is being done behind closed doors on Capitol Hill is probably absorbing just as much money and effort in absolute terms.”

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