City People

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The Independent Online
HSBC USED to have the biggest in Europe. Then last month Deutsche Bank claimed its was bigger. Now CFSB says its got the biggest of all. Obviously size matters to investment banks.

We're talking trading floors, of course. HSBC used to boast that, at 48,879 square feet and 30,941 square feet, the two trading floors in its building in Lower Thames Street were the biggest outside Wall Street.

This year Deutsche completed its plush new City offices off London Wall, with capacity for 1,800 traders over three floors of 44,000 square feet each, making a total of 134,000 square feet.

Now CSFB has upped the stakes. The bank is moving its fixed-income traders into an extension to its existing offices in Canary Wharf, which boasts a single trading floor of 104,513 square feet.

That's a big one. But it only has 975 trading desks and work stations - less than Deutsche.

Warburg Dillon Read keeps its end up respectably with a 99,000 square foot trading floor in the Broadgate development.

But wait, there's more. Merrill Lynch is currently building two linked floors of 67,000 square feet each, with capacity for another 32,000 square feet, totalling a mighty 166,000, all at its new site next to the Old Bailey. More than 1,800 equity and debt traders will be accommodated.

NICK WELLS, the former County NatWest dealmaker who heads up corporate finance at Rae Brothers, will not be joining his colleagues following the merger with fellow merchant bank Close Brothers, I hear.

Mr Wells, a figure in the Blue Arrow saga of the 1980s, has decided to leave once the integration has been successfully completed.

There's nothing mysterious about the move. Close Brothers liked the look of Rae Brothers' private banking and fund management business, but it already had a head of corporate finance in the shape of John Llewellyn- Lloyd.

Mr Wells has not disclosed what his next move will be. Watch this space.

BRITISH WORKERS get more stressed out by last minute panics, unrealistic deadlines and too few staff than they do by personality clashes, being too busy or lack of communication.

So says the Royal Mail Special Delivery's Business `Blues and Views Survey', which quizzed more than 500 employees on the top five causes of anxiety at work.

Seven out of 10 employees put last-minute panics at the top of the list.

Three in five blamed unrealistic deadlines and 57 per cent cited too few staff to cope with high levels of work.

Messy and disorganised filing (56 per cent) and poor time- management practices (53 per cent) are fourth and fifth on the list of gripes.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming, is the venue for today's symposium on "New Challenges on Monetary Policy" sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Our very own Mervyn King, deputy governor of the Bank of England, is giving the keynote speech on the challenges facing central banks.

In his text Mr King suggests that the progress of Internet banking will mean the successors to Bill Gates put central bankers out of business. Is this a dream or a nightmare, he asks?

He takes comfort from a quote from Walter Bagehot who wrote in Lombard Street (1873) that: "Nothing would persuade the English people to abolish the Bank of England; and if some calamity swept it away, generations must elapse before at all the same trust would be placed in any other equivalent."

Perhaps. Mr King then comes down to earth with a bump by mentioning his favourite football web site - Heroes and Villains - which is run by Aston Villa. Central bankers should be viewed as neither heroes nor villains, he concludes, but simply as "modest technicians".

IS THE Body Shop about to undergo a radical change in strategy and start serving booze? The green shopping chain has just hired Jack Keenan, a director of Diageo, as a non-executive director.

Mr Keenan, 62, has been chief executive of UDV, Diageo's wine and spirits division, for the last two years, after a 30-year career with General Foods Group.

Disappointingly, Gordon Roddick, co-chair of the Body Shop, says they have gone for Mr Keenan for his "valuable experience within brand management". Shame.

OFFICE WORKERS chained to their terminals used to complain of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). The trendy thing to talk about these days according to the BSI (British Standards Institute) is WRD (work station related disorder).

Perhaps I could suggest a cure - SIB (Stay in Bed).

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