A sour broker's joke doing the rounds yesterday on Sears' (owner of Selfridges) less than sparkling figures: An anagram of chief executive Liam Strong: "Lost Margin". Ouch.
While shadow chancellor Gordon Brown was lambasting Britain's top accountancy firms for supposedly "peddling lies" over Labour's tax policies yesterday, there must have been several in his audience squirming. Attending the London conference "Business and Labour" to hear Mr Brown and others were at least four people from the vilified firms. Although no firms were named, Michael Fowle, senior partner of KPMG's London and South Eastern Region, must have been more irritated than most. A hullabaloo recently blew up over KPMG's 50 tax seminars across the country to advise on what to do if Labour gets in. Other high-powered bean counters present were from Coopers & Lybrand, Arthur Andersen and BDO Stoy Hayward.
More squirming at "Business and Labour". At one point Ed Balls, economic adviser to Gordon Brown, was due to chat to Dr Laura D'Andrea Tyson, national economic adviser to President Clinton, via a TV satellite link. The link, supplied by BT, failed to connect for six minutes, during which time Balls waffled on brilliantly. Finally Balls had to admit: "Now I know what it feels like to be Terry Wogan waiting for the link to Luxembourg."
Thomas Teichman announced yesterday that he will step down as executive director of Maid, the over-hyped on-line information company, in order to launch his own corporate finance boutique. Teichman helped Dan Wagner to launch Maid in 1985 after he had spent 20 years in investment banking, with the likes of Bankers Trust and Credit Suisse First Boston. Teichman's new firm, NewMedia Investors, will specialise in giving advice to on-line- type companies, "Internet companies and that kind of thing," according to a spokesman. The first client will be Maid itself. The firm will limit its advice to six clients at a time to maintain quality - "Tom's 6 Max rule", it says here.
We neglected to say yesterday that Darren Higgins, who ran the London Marathon dressed as Wonder Woman, ran the course in an impressive three hours and 40 minutes. Darren, of Ernst & Young, also wanted to point out that "the tights and black wig were hired for the occasion". Of course, Darren.
Miles Emley, chairman of St Ives, the printing company, observed yesterday that "the collapse of Barings had its bright side for us. We printed two books on the subject. Every disaster has its silver lining". St Ives also managed to print last year a biography of the Queen, an Oasis album cover, something called Rock'n'Rom for Penguin, Tina Turner's "Wildest Dreams" album and two Beatles anthologies. The busy chaps also managed to print the documents for the merger between Lloyds and TSB and all the copies of Loaded magazine. Is there a connection here?