December 11, 2008 / 4:04 PM / 10 years ago

Prince Harry "seals" $15 billion deal for charity

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain’s Prince Harry has defied the credit crunch and sealed a 10 billion pound ($15 billion) deal via a major London trading firm in the name of charity.

Britain's Prince Harry (R) closes a 250 million euro deal with broker Amanda Hartnell (L) at the offices of city traders ICAP in London, December 10, 2008. REUTERS/ Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

On a visit to electronic brokerage firm ICAP in London on Wednesday, the 24-year-old royal took to the phones and confirmed the deal with a major client, in the process raising money for charities around the world.

Surrounded by financial workers dressed in costumes, the prince spent the day at ICAP for its annual Charity Day, when staff dress up and the day’s takings are donated to aid projects in places such as Mumbai, Sydney and Bogota.

Harry celebrated his successful trade with the traditional shout of “Yours!” to cheers from ICAP employees in various get-ups including Amy Winehouse, gospel singers, and a doughnut.

John Herbert, ICAP’s managing director of foreign exchange and money markets, guided the prince through the deal.

“I was dressed as (traditional pantomime character) Widow Twankey, so I naturally didn’t have much credibility in front of him or my staff,” Herbert told Reuters.

“His initial reaction upon meeting me was to look aghast at my Panto Dame outfit and say, ‘that’s absolutely wrong!’”

Herbert set Harry to work negotiating a complex deal called a Sterling Overnight Index Swap or “Sonia.”

“We got him on the line to a client and told him what to do,” explained Herbert. “He said three times, ‘I’m nervous about this deal, I hope I don’t mess it up.’ But he was word perfect and the deal was done. Not bad for a beginner!”

In spite of poor current market conditions, ICAP said the day’s trading had raised around 11 million pounds (US$16 million) for charity, up from 9.2 million pounds in 2007.

The money will be donated to projects around the world, including one helping deprived children in Mumbai, and Crimestoppers, which works against crime in London.

“Prince Harry left everybody with a nice warm feeling,” said Herbert. “Hopefully we won’t have any problem with the Financial Services Authority doing those deals — he’s not an authorized broker!”

Editing by Luke Baker and Paul Casciato

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