CITY DIARY

A row has broken out between Anne Robinson, presenter of BBC's Watchdog program, and Garry Heath, chief executive of the Independent Financial Advisers Association over last week's critical Watchdog programme.

Mr Heath says the show contained inaccuracies and a distorted interview with himself. He has threatened legal action and has written to Marmaduke Hussey, chairman of the governors of the BBC, to complain. Ms Robinson is unimpressed:. "I am hardly surprised to read the response of the IFAA," she said. " They have tried every which way to wriggle out of their responsibilities. They are the very people who misrepresented the benefits of certain pensions and are now deliberately thwarting the compensation process."

A new satirical magazine is set to hit the streets on April 24. The Insider is the prodigy of Tim Satchell, a journalist. Backed by Time Out and a group of anonymous City types, the publication seems to mix the editorial styles of Hello and Private Eye. "For too long readers have been subject to profitable but dull publications," said Mr Satchell. "We will put the fun back into life."

David Cranston, Northumbrian Water's chief executive, is having a tough time defending the company's lacklustre diversification policy. This included two companies engaged in "underground asset management" - looking after pipeline networks.

They were bought in 1991-2 and subsequently merged - but poor performance meant they had to be sold off in November 1993, incurring a £8.9m exceptional charge. Asked to explain why he had bought them in the first place, Cranston's best explanation was: "It seemed a good idea at the time."

While Nick Leeson awaits his fate in a German prison cell, younger aspirants are entertaining a sneaking respect for methods. Options Direct is offering a new service run by John Thwaytes, former Liffe trader, and Bill Newston, former derivatives expert at Charterhouse Tilney. For no subscription the general public can gain access to traded options, equities and fixed interest stocks.

The stars hold good news for Carlton's Michael Green but bad news for John Major, according to Financial Astrology, a new quarterly guide to stocks, currency and commodity markets. Edited in Hong Kong by Rebecca Nolan, a mathematician with a recent interest in the stars, the newsletter predicts a fall in British unemployment, a short-term rise in property prices, and opportunities for investors in hotels, restaurants, amusement parks and the entertainment sector. Rupert Murdoch is set to launch a new education venture in Asia and is thinking of selling Star TV in 1996, predicts the mysterious Ms Nolan - but only if he survives the health problems he will suffer in the summer. The newsletter makes Mystic Meg's lottery advice look scientific.

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