In Brief: Just what the doctors ordered

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LLOYDS TSB is developing what it calls a "new breed" of bank manager to get closer to specialist small and medium-sized businesses. It is setting up managers to look after what it believes are the unique business needs of vets, pharmacists, doctors, dentists, accountants and solicitors. The move follows customer research revealing that members of these groups felt their banking advisers needed special knowledge of their sectors.

THE INSTITUTE of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales is collaborating with four business schools to launch a management programme aimed at senior finance executives. The initiative, effective from next month, involves Manchester and Cardiff business schools, Bristol University's graduate school of international business and Newcastle school of management. The programme, for finance directors, offers a practical focus on the key financial and non-financial functions of the finance department.

EMPLOYEES ARE being warned of the growing trend for companies to respond to resignations with counter-offers. Counter-offers, amounting to as much as 10 to 15 per cent of salary, may seem an attractive incentive to stay, but they are often in reality "career suicide", says a leading financial recruitment consultant. Jeff Grout, managing director of Robert Half International, believes the practice benefits only employers who see it as a short-term solution to staffing shortages. They are simply "buying time" to replace a member of staff who will have been tagged as disloyal or lacking commitment and will be replaced when it suits the employer, he says.

SETTING INTERNATIONAL standards for public sector financial reporting is an ambitious project and needs support from governments and standard- setters if it is to gain acceptance, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in its response to proposed guidelines issued by the public sector committee of the International Federation of Accountants. The institute's financial reporting committee welcomed the initiative, but warned that implementing a rigorous accruals-based regime was likely to be difficult and time-consuming.

ERNST & YOUNG has chosen D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles as its global advertising agency as part of its attempt to develop a global branding strategy. The firm, which estimates it will spend more than $100m next year on advertising and branding, is to launch an ad campaign in the autumn.

RISKCARE, THE derivatives-based risk management consultancy, has developed a pricing methodology that, it claims, significantly speeds up measurement of trading, departmental and firm-wide risks. It says the methodology, called the Willow Tree, enables senior traders and risk managers to make such calculations in about a twentieth of the time currently allocated to them, and hence is able to make a significant impact on the working practices of risk management teams.