Baring goes over to the gnomes of Warburgs

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The Independent Online
Our heartiest congratulations to Francis Baring, former head of corporate relations at his family bank, on his move to a similar role at SBC Warburg. After the Leeson debacle, Francis was at somewhat of a loose end, as the ING people moved in to reorganise the bank. No doubt his experience of clashing cultures will be of good use; he is moving from Britain's oldest and most blue-blooded merchant bank, which was taken over by the Dutch post office, to what was Britain's flagship investment bank, which was in turn snapped up by Swiss gnomes.

Jens Tholstrup, who was plucked from Warburg's corporate finance department post-merger to become SBC Warburg's mouthpiece, is now returning to the quieter world of mergers and acquisitions. As head of corporate communications in London, Mr Baring's understated charm should help SBC Warburg's case, particularly as it continues to suffer key staff defections.

Defections such as Michael Hammond, SBC Warburg's joint head of equity syndication, who is off to join Fleming as head of European equity capital markets. Get onto it, Francis.

There was an air of eras drawing to an close for Jacob Rothschild yesterday. The announcement that he was taking a less active role at St James's Place Capital, the financial services group he built with Sir Mark Weinberg, was overshadowed by the funeral of his stepmother, Teresa Rothschild, which he attended in Suffolk yesterday. Tess Rothschild had a glittering series of careers, one of which was in British intelligence in the Second World War, where she met her husband, Victor Rothschild, one of Britain's most brilliant scientists. Jacob Rothschild is now spending more time running the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which dispenses pounds 300m of Lottery money a year, than he is running his businesses, including his investment vehicle, RIT Capital Partners.

He said yesterday that setting up the fund, one of five distributors of Lottery money, had taken far more time and energy than anyone had foreseen. What with his other activities such as completing the restoration of Waddesdon Manor, a magnificent Rothschild mansion, "it all got a bit much." He is still keen on investing, though - "I've time to be an investor."

Talk about a damp squib. Jeff Wooller, an accountancy college chief, has been telling everyone about his Ginger Group, which was going to storm the Institute of Chartered Accountants and make it more accountable to the ordinary membership. Come the ICA's annual general meeting though, and he gets just one vote for his proposals, apart from himself and his seconder. Against - all 247 other chartered accountants at the meeting. To be fair, Mr Wooller did receive a few postal votes, but nothing to change the impression of a crushing defeat.

There was a lighter side when a member pointed out that the annual accounts explained "income - money in; expenditure - money out." Why, the member asked to loud rollicking laughter, did income and expenditure have to be explained to chartered accountants? I think we should be told.

Distribution problem: Whittard of Chelsea, the tea and coffee retailer seeking an AIM listing, has found a historic document in its due diligence investigation. A leaflet sent to customers during the Second World War said: "We regret to inform you that, through enemy action, our office and warehouse in Mansell Street have been completely destroyed, together with most of our records." The unflappable tea importers then say they are "exceedingly sorry for the inconvenience. Also it would be welcomed if unpaid accounts could be settled, as we are unable to send out any settlements." As Winston Churchill said at the height of the Blitz: "Business as usual."