City Diary

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Mike Crawshaw, head of pan-European research at Schroders Securities, is cock-a-hoop at luring Tim Adams, a top-rated engineering analyst, away from his home at HSBC.

Mike Crawshaw, head of pan-European research at Schroders Securities, is cock-a-hoop at luring Tim Adams, a top-rated engineering analyst, away from his home at HSBC.

Mr Crawshaw said yesterday: "Tim resigned this morning, and we saw him for lunch. He's very pleased he's coming to us, and so are we."

Mr Adams was part of Charlie Burrows' engineering team which came top in the latest Primark Extel survey. Mr Adams is an extremely experienced stockbroker, says Mr Crawshaw, having helped found Gerrard Vivian Gray (a broker which subsequently sold up). Mr Adams then joined James Capel, which in turn was swallowed up by HSBC. "He was looking at small cap stocks there, but he will be able to look at whatever he wants here," says Mr Crawshaw.

The Schroders man adds: "After one more hire tomorrow our line-up will be complete."

Several grand bank head-office buildings in the City are coming under the roving eye of the property market at the moment. Bank of Scotland says that if its bid for NatWest goes through it will leave the London- based bank with just a "brass plate" in the City. This has prompted interest in NatWest's Lothbury head office.

All this speculation reminded a senior City property agent of the time in 1992 when he showed Jacques Attali around Midland's own head office, opposite the Bank of England and a hundred yards from NatWest's own edifice.

My informant was showing Mr Attali around Midland's magnificent Lutyens- designed head office just after HSBC had acquired Midland, prompting a rethink on the future of the building. Mr Attali was scouting around London in search of a suitable building to house his fledgling European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The Midland building is a warren of lavishly wood-panelled offices, and even has special cupboards for traditional City top hats. It boasts a vast, pillared executive dining room, reminiscent of the Raj. The whole thing was built before the Second World War when the Midland was the biggest bank in the world.

Mr Attali gazed longingly at the huge room and murmured "perfect, perfect". At which the property agent remarked that, yes, it was a perfect dining room. The Frenchman turned and declared: "No. This would be perfect for my office." As it happens HSBC decided not to sell after all and Mr Attali had to install his gold taps and marble loos elsewhere. And the Midland building will even survive HSBC's imminent move to Docklands - it's being kept on as a "flagship branch", a spokesman tells me.

Companies have used all sorts of wheezes over the years to spice up their results press conferences, but I can't recall anyone doing a live demonstration of a medical laser on a "dummy head" before.

Scotia Pharmaceuticals is in the process of getting its cancer laser treatment, Foscan, approved by the authorities in the United States and Europe. Hence Robert Dow, Scotia's chief executive, will be showing off the device and Doctor Richard Dean, a senior development scientist, will actually wield the laser in action.

A spokeswoman for Scotia says that the dummy head " is quite odd looking - with a very large mouth." The demo is followed by a buffet lunch. I think I'll pass.

Comments