Timothy Jones: Obituary

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The appointment of Brian Peppiatt and Tim Jones in 1981 as joint chairmen of the leading stockjobbers Akroyd & Smithers was warmly welcomed in the City. Such an arrangement could only have worked between individuals of complementary gifts and equal sensitivities. Later, when their merger with S.G. Warburg was in prospect, David Scholey, their chairman and a firm believer in graphology, was advised of Jones's handwriting: "This man will make you the perfect partner." Nothing could have better described him, at work or at home. He had a unique blend of intuition and sympathy, increased by generosity of spirit.

Jones's mother died when he was very young and his father, to whom he became devoted, when he was 17. After school at Shrewsbury, he did his National Service with the Rifle Brigade, a formative experience on which he looked back with gratitude and pride. By the time he went up to St John's College, Cambridge, in 1951 he seemed unusually mature for his age.

The Cambridge generation of the early 1950s, having grown up in wartime and austerity, were only too thankful for the better times they had begun to enjoy. They knew that a Third Class degree would guarantee them employment in industry or commerce at around pounds 500 a year, a living wage for the time. Jones shared in the general confidence which filled the Pitt Club and the Rex Cinema more regularly than the lecture-room. He caught the eye of the father of one of his friends, Ian Macpherson, of the stockbrokers Buckmaster & Moore, and, on going down in 1954, he joined them.

In 1955 Jones married Mary Nicolle, a daughter of Arthur Villeneuve Nicolle, a Jerseyman whose proudest achievement had been the turn-round in the fortunes of the Sheepbridge Engineering company. In his retirement he taught himself Greek, averring that Thucydides was as great as any that had lived. Mary had inherited her father's wit and, from her mother, formerly Alice Cobbold, good looks and a more emollient style. The marriage, which lasted for more than 40 years, was without a blemish of any kind. There were three children, one of whom, David, is himself a stockbroker with SBC Warburg.

In 1957 Jones moved to Akroyd & Smithers, where he had caught the eye of another shrewd judge of coming men, Hugh Merriman. He remained there, through the transition from partnership to private then public company and finally the merger with Warburgs, Rowe & Pitman and Mullens, until his retirement from the City in 1986. Most of the time was spent on the floor of the Stock Exchange, where his acumen, integrity and companionability were prized in equal measure.

In 1964 Jones and his family moved to a Victorian rectory on the Sussex Downs. There he consolidated his reputation as a host, filling his cellar with wines of such quality that the house became known as "the Iceberg", eight-ninths of its value being below the surface. Later, he and his wife turned their attention to the garden, achieving a spectacular effect on the inhospitable downland chalk. Especially after his retirement, he did good service to his country of East Sussex, being High Sheriff in 1987, Deputy Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant from 1992.

In appearance Jones was rather below the medium height, with a fine head and brown eyes. The neatness of his dress, the cut of his suits, the mirror- like quality of his shoes were legendary among his friends. The light- heartedness of his Cambridge days, when he was much in thrall to Sidney Bechet and P.G. Wodehouse, never left him. With noble indifference he shrugged off the illness of his last years.

Timothy Fraser Jones, stockjobber: born Liverpool 15 July 1931; staff, Akroyd & Smithers 1957-84, joint chairman 1981-84; director, Mercury International Group 1984-86; Vice Lord- Lieutenant of East Sussex 1992-96; married 1955 Mary Nicolle (one son, two daughters); died London 6 July 1996.