CITY DIARY

John Robins, the new broom at Guardian, the UK composite, has added some heavy firepower to his board with the appointment of Sir Colin Chandler, chief executive of Vickers since 1992, as a non-executive director.

Sir Colin's duties have not been fixed, but Guardian says it is keen to capitalise on both his marketing experience and exposure to government.

Sir Colin is no fat cat but can claim to have been awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland in 1982 after British Aerospace completed a multi- million- pound sale of Hawk aircraft to that country. A spokesman for Guardian said Sir Colin's vehicular experience was 'relevant', although Guardian has no plans at the moment to insure either tanks or submarines.

Not just a case of being caught napping, the old IFA regulator, Fimbra, seems to be fast asleep. The organisation remains in existence to cater for nearly 800 financial advice firms whose applications for membership of the Personal Investment Authority, the new watchdog, have still not been processed - even after 15 months. It clearly likes to take its time on matters of importance.

So it should not be a surprise that Fimbra has only just agreed to a rule change to allow its chief executive the right to introduce guidelines on compensation for pension transfer victims, months after all the other regulators put their own rules in place. Insiders say the delay was caused by an "oversight." Time to buy an alarm clock.

Strange goings-on at the Personal Investment Authority. Adam Samuel, the deputy ombudsman in its investor arbitration system, is leaving in September - despite having joined only last April.

Meanwhile, Vanessa Peters, the PIA ombudsman's head of administration, is also leaving, barely a year after coming on board: "When I joined I came on the understanding that I was going to set the place up. I have done that," Ms Peters said.

While searching for another job, she plans to study for a post-graduate degree at the London School of Economics - a two-year course this time.

Yorkshire Water's cup of faux pas overfloweth. In an interview on Radio Leeds yesterday a spokesman, commenting on customers' anger at hosepipe bans, accused Yorkshire residents of "being culturally ignorant about the value of water." Hosepipe bans are already in force in some parts and more may follow if the hot weather continues. Pressure groups said there would be no shortage if Yorkshire Water fixed its "old and leaky" pipes.

Enough to buy everyone in the world a Mars Bar is how Cheltenham & Gloucester views its payout of pounds 1.8bn to qualifying investors following its merger with Lloyds Bank.

No doubt the C&G widows who fought for their share of the windfall will be very glad to know what they can do with their loot. The total payout may be more than the National Lottery pays out in a year, but C&G may have to work hard to erase all trace of the debacle over its '5,000 widows' - those who were not eligible for bonus payouts simply because their names appeared second to their husbands' on C&G accounts.

The finalists for the third Adam Smith Institute 'economy in government' competition, which encourages members of the public to write an essay on how they think the Government should be spending and saving taxpayer's money, have just been announced. Among the contenders is a previous winner, the ex-IBM executive, Ray Reardon.

Mr Reardon's winning paper focused on how the DTI should be downsized. Chief among his recommendations was a cut in the workforce from 12,000 to 7,000 and rationalisation of the employment and education departments. That was in 1992. The DTI now aims to cut its workforce to 8,000 or so. The Department of Employment is merged with Education. At this rate, the Government could leave running the country to the public.

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