City People

IN THE continuing reaction to the anticapitalist riot in the City a month ago, City fathers have demanded that there be no repeat of traders "spraying the demonstrators with Champagne, throwing copies of pounds 50 notes out of the window and shouting `I have a Rolex'".

The Square Mile was awash with rumours of such incidents on the day, 18 June. According to a survey of international investment banks within the City published yesterday, the sprayers and throwers came from Liffe.

One senior banker told the survey's compilers, City law firm Eversheds: "I think the behaviour of financial institutions' staff was inappropriate and likely to incite further actions. That reputedly happened with the Liffe boys."

With an eye on the possibility of repeat demos, the banker added: "Financial institutions should ensure that staff don't do that again."

A spokeswoman for Liffe responded yesterday: "Liffe traders were not involved (in provoking the demonstrators). The Liffe traders were trading."

The spokeswoman added that it was physically impossible for traders to have thrown anything "out of the window" from the Liffe building, since it has no windows.

u

WE HAVE been deluged by calls from readers eager to know the web address of the Canadian satirical magazine Frank, which contains photos of the new Barclays Bank boss's ex wife in the buff. As a service to readers, I can reveal that Matt Barrett's former wife Anne-Marie Sten can be viewed on www.Frankmag.net.

(Be careful not to download it at work. You might get sacked.)

u

CADBURY SCHWEPPES half-year profits weren't the only things limping along yesterday.

Sir Dominic Cadbury, chairman, was also hobbling, with the aid of a walking stick.

The plucky chairman said that his stick was "nothing to do with keeping the board in order under the Cadbury Code Mark Two - or dealing with the unruly Press."

In fact, Sir Dominic is recovering from having a kneecap replaced. He was a squash Blue at Cambridge and, like his brother Adrian Cadbury before him, a rowing Blue as well. He suffered ligament problems from an early age, hence the need for the new kneecap.

u

ALAN GREENSPAN,chairman of the Federal Reserve, was pretty blunt about forecasts of huge government surpluses: "Things are happening which we call technical factors, which is another way of saying we don't have a clue and they could just as easily go in the other direction."

u

THE GOVERNMENT has just launched a campaign to improve the promptness with which government departments pay their bills. The Trade Secretary Stephen Byers says: "Late payment is a serious problem, particularly for small business."

Such a pity then that the Department for Trade and Industry failed to reach this year's target for repayment on time. It managed to pay 96.3 per cent of its bills within the standard 30-day period, compared with the target of 97 per cent.

Even worse, the Treasury came came next to bottom in a table of 50 government departments, with just 93 per cent.

Mr Byers admitted these results were "disappointing" and there was "no room for complacency". Time for a new trade minister, perhaps?

u

TOM WINSOR, the Rail Regulator, yesterday welcomed Paul Plummer to the post of chief economist and director of economics and finance at the ponderously named "Office of the rail Regulator".

Why can't they just call it "Ofrail"?

Anyway, Mr Plummer was previously an assistant director at NM Rothschild, where he advised on utility regulation and privatisation.

Before joining the investment bank in 1997 Mr Plummer spent nine years at National Economic Research Associates (Nera), an economics consultancy. According to a former Nera colleague, he was remembered there chiefly as a fanatical hockey player.

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