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Hats off to brave Derek Wanless , who turned up to address the Chartered Institute of Bankers as its new president yesterday, less than a fortnight after his departure from the helm of NatWest.

Hats off to brave Derek Wanless , who turned up to address the Chartered Institute of Bankers as its new president yesterday, less than a fortnight after his departure from the helm of NatWest.

The entire City press corps turned out to hear Mr Wanless give the keynote speech on the first day of the CIB's annual conference in London.

Mr Wanless started by saying he had no intention of saying anything about NatWest or his own future. He added that "though the orchestra may have a new conductor, I was responsible for choosing some of its best players".

Mr Wanless then delivered an erudite lecture on risk management. He got a first in Maths at Cambridge, after all. Surely the wardenship of a college beckons?

The other main talking point at the conference yesterday was Sir Brian Pitman 's new found passion for clothes.

Sir Brian, the chairman of Lloyds TSB, was made chairman of Next, the trendy fashion chain, last year. A colleague of the 67-year-old amateur golf player said: "All he ever wants to talk about now is fashion."

Sir Leon Brittan has added a consultancy job at Herbert Smith, the City law firm, to his vice-chairmanship of Warburg Dillon Read.

The former European commissioner stepped down from his Brussels role just last month along with the rest of the Commission, and is obviously not going to go hungry into retirement.

The former Tory minister spent the past 10 years firstly as trade commissioner and subsequently as the European Union's competition man, so Herbert Smith was keen to snap him up.

As Stephen Kinsella , head of the firm's Brussels office, says: "We are trying to build a European competition practice, so we were delighted to get the man who helped build the World Trade Organisation. He's got quite a unique CV."

Sir Leon won't just be opening doors for the firm. He has a legal background, having trained as a barrister.

There are red faces in Moscow this week, and I'm not talking about communists. The Russians are hosting an international conference for the Group of Eight nations on money laundering and organised crime.

What better place? US prosecutors have just indicted three Russian émigrés accused of illegally funnelling billions of dollars out of Russia through accounts at Bank of New York. This is just one of a raft of corruption scandals that have hit Russia in recent weeks.

Vladimir Putin, Russia's Prime Minister, is undaunted. "We are interested more than anything in making sure that dirty money is not laundered in other countries," he told the conference.

Jonathan Aitken , the disgraced former defence secretary, will see his book collection go under the hammer tomorrow in Lewes, Sussex, on the orders of his trustee in bankruptcy.

Louise Brittain , a senior insolvency manager at Baker Tilly, says that Aitken's property tends to fetch more than its face value because of the association with the former politician. Gorringes, the auctioneer, reckons that Aitken's library could fetch as much as £10,000. A court recently ruled the trustees could sell off all his books worth more than £100 each.

He was allowed to keep his personal papers, however, which were defined as "tools of his trade".

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