City Diary

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The Independent Online
Bernard Taylor, the ex-Glaxo man who now chairs Medeva, was waxing lyrical earlier this week about the growing market for methylphenidate, the company's best-selling drug.

Used for dealing with hyper-active children in the US, it is increasingly finding a market for adults who cannot concentrate and particularly for treating grown-ups unable to prevent themselves walking around the room waving their arms in the air.

The symptoms bore an uncanny resemblance to the animated presentation delivered by chief executive Bill Bogie, who often finds it difficult to contain his excitement when addressing City audiences. But if Bogie could do with a spot of methylphenidate to calm his nerves, he is in good company. He confided that at the company's last presentation in New York, two of the analysts attending admitted that they had been prescribed the drug.

It is hard to see how Wednesday's launch of the Chancellor's financial flag-wavers, the City Promotion Panel, could be taken seriously against the background of the recent debacle of Barings.

Oddly enough, those who brainstormed the idea to fruition, such as Pen Kent of the Bank of England and Sir Brian Pearse of British Invisibles, seem undaunted by the task, although a spokesman for the Corporation of London admits it "would not be simple". The Treasury also insists the panel is not a Barings-inspired band-aid.

The timing of the launch may have been unfortunate, but its name, the CPP, does not inspire great hope in its marketing ability. A Treasury spokesman said offers of something snappier would be welcome. Restoring the reputation damage inflicted by Barings may take a little longer.

City professionals are limbering up for next week's annual Petanque Challenge at Hay's Galleria on the South Bank of the Thames. The French game of petanque - often called boules - now has a serious following in the UK. The game inspires intense rivalry and last year's winner, Ernst & Young, will have to fight hard to retain its title. Sometimes described as marbles for hooligans, it allows those who can't stand the heat to adjourn to the bar.

Fat cats who cashed in their share options before this week's tax raid by the Chancellor could peruse chartered accountants Blick Rothenburg's helpful hints on what to do with a windfall.The accountancy firm has created a seven-point investment planner, which includes stashing your cash under the bed as one idea. It notes that this gives good liquidity although the risk from burglars is high and the potential for capital growth is nil.

One good thing, though: Kenneth Clarke can't easily get his hands on it.

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