City Diary: The weight of world golds falls on NationsBank

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The Independent Online
NationsBank has had the weighty job of storing the 1,844 Olympic medals at the Atlanta Games until the award ceremonies. The baubles weigh a total of 1,518lbs and were transported to NationsBank's vaults in Atlanta by UPS.

Over 10,000 athletes from 197 countries are competing for the medals. It doesn't look as if Great Britain will be making many withdrawals from the NationsBank vaults, on present form, at least. Come on Linford.

It is surely a significant moment in the gender wars when a woman who once appeared in a pantyhose advert can send world stock markets crashing simply by saying a correction is overdue.

Wall Street strategist Elaine "Go-Go" Garzarelli, who rose to fame after predicting the 1987 stock market crash, said the market could fall by 15 to 25 per cent below the June highs.

Ironically Garzarelli acquired her nickname "Go-Go" in the 1980s for her bullish stance. She has run her own show since 1994, when Lehman eased her out because her $1.5m pay package was too heavy a burden.

Garzarelli isn't alone in forecasting doom, but she seems to be unique in her impact. Five weeks ago Gail Dudack, senior US equity strategist with UBS, forecast a 16 per cent sell-off on the Dow. In April, Byron Wien, a markets strategist at Morgan Stanley in New York, predicted a 1,000 point fall.

But it was Elaine the markets listened to yesterday.

There is only one thing to be done. Someone must persuade George Soros to announce that he is buying equities.

Howard Davies, deputy governor of the Bank of England, had great fun teasing management consultants Arthur Andersen yesterday, as the Bank announced a big expansion of its supervision department.

Andersen had helped on planning the move, and Mr Davies told journalists at the start of the press conference: "We're all available to answer questions. But I have to warn you that in our experience, Andersen may well charge you for any answers they give."

Which drew a laugh, and caused some discomfiture for the Andersen partner on display, John Tiner. When one Observer journalist subsequently asked Mr Tiner a question, Mr Davies interjected: "You are prepared to pay for an answer? With the Observer you're never quite sure about the money side."

Mr Davies got his just desserts when he was asked: "OK then, how much did you pay Andersen?" At which point the deputy governor refused to give any answer at all, paid for or not.

One of the more important appointments announced yesterday by the Bank of England was that of Paul Tucker, a 38-year old high flyer who has been fast-tracked through nearly every department in Threadneedle Street.

A spokesman for the Bank describes Mr Tucker depressingly as "one of the brightest people in the Bank, actually".

A Cambridge maths graduate, Mr Tucker moves from heading the gilts division to take over the monetary assessment and strategy division from 1 January next year. He has already spent three years as former Governor Sir Robin Leigh Pemberton's private secretary. A tip for future Governor, perhaps?

Described by colleagues variously as a bon viveur, very sharp, a good operator, fun loving, a workaholic, tough, a fanatical Scottish rugby supporter and a genuinely nice guy - Graham Kane yesterday joined the board of investment regulator Imro.

Mr Kane, 39, is managing director of Morgan Grenfell Investment Funds, and his retail experience n the investment bank's unit trust operation is what drew Imro's notice. Before joining Morgan Grenfell three years ago, he was managing director of Societe Generale Touche Remnant UTM, but left when it merged with the Henderson group.

If ever the shine comes off Mr Kane's career - which it shows no sign of doing, I hasten to add - he is well placed to bounce back, His wife runs her own head-hunting agency.