CITY DIARY

If the Swiss Bank Corporation raid on Warburgs proves successful there will be one banker who will sigh a breath of relief.

Piers Von Simson, the Warburgs corporate financier, was heavily criticised for the role he played as adviser to Enterprise during its botched takeover attempt of Lasmo. If the Swiss start slashing at Broadgate bodies he can feel more comfort in the knowledge that his brother, David, who is a corporate financier in charge of the French operation at SBC, might put a good word in for him.

Dr Bob Hawley, the stamp-collecting chief executive of Nuclear Electric, seems to have underestimated tartan objections to the idea that Scottish Nuclear should be required to merge with Nuclear Electric.

He recently asked his press officer to send him comment on the matter from a Scottish newspaper but, after he was sent the first batch of 22 pages decided he had read enough.

Shareholders at the Schroders annual meeting yesterday were subject to a love-in concerning the departure of George Mallinckrodt as chairman. The newly-appointed chairman, Winfried Bischoff, and other shareholders paid tribute to Mr Mallinckrodt's considerable achievement in building up the Cheapside-based bank and increasing the share price nearly 20 times during his tenure.

Of particular note, Mr Bischoff concluded, was the constant pressure on cost control. A few moments later, as the meeting broke up, a huge trolley laden with champagne was wheeled in. "There goes my cost-control," joked Mr Mallinckrodt.

Where did the bizarre rumour about Smith Barney taking over Warburgs ever spring from? Apparently an American journalist took possession of a top secret internal document from Warburgs which reffered to the mystery bidder as "SB". Of course the parochial transatlantic hack took this to mean Smith Barney. He had probably never heard of Switzerland.

Following on the success of Reminiscences Of A Stock Broker by Edwin Lefevre, which proved a bestseller in the City last year, John Wiley & Sons is re-publishing a book by Fred Schwed whose subtitle is "A Good Hard Look At Wall Street" and which features illustration by Peter Arno (right).

The main title is inspired by story told by Schwed about an out-of-town visitor who was shown around New York many years ago. When the party arrived at the docks, he saw a row of handsome ships riding at anchor. "Those are are the bankers' and brokers' yachts," explained the guide. "Where are the customers' yachts?" was the naive reply.

Robert Fleming, the City merchant bank, has made an unusual decision in its appointment of a journalist and frog-lover to spearhead a new inititiative to widen its business on the Continent. David Marsh, 42, is the European editor of the Financial Times. As director of European strategy at Flemings, Mr Marsh will be using his contacts in the Continental finance world to boost Flemings' business. Future colleagues may be interested to know that he counts amongst his hobbies "tadpoling", which is apparently the collection of tadpoles from the village pond near his house in Wimbledon and the cultivation of young frogs in his garden pond.

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