Column Eight: A penny for the Bob?

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The Independent Online
Please to remember the 4th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot,' might become the amended version of the rhyme that usually acknowledges Guy Fawkes on the following day. As all City people and a few thousand pensioners know, 4 November 1991 is the day Robert Maxwell was last seen in public.

The Institute of Directors is marking the first anniversary of the entrepreneur's final swim by dedicating a conference to company pension schemes.

'The Maxwell pensions fraud wreaked havoc in the pensions world last year,' says the institute, with commendable understatement. But is it really wise to have on the conference agenda 'special arrangements for directors'?

Another blow to the long 'working' lunch. The City public relations firm Streets Communications is no longer in business, and many of the staff have decamped to the rival firm Ludgate. The last lunch at Streets was held yesterday. A legion of financial journalists mourn Streets' passing, as it always provided the best hospitality, particularly around the yuletide season. No talk yet of a traditional Fleet Street memorial service at St Bride's.

Drab men in suits at Arthur Andersen, the accountants, might sport more colourful plumage soon. The BBC's The Clothes Show has been filming in Andersen's Strand headquarters. The subject: business suits and work clothes. Andersen's accountants might have difficulty convincing their clients that they are a serious firm if they decide to adopt some of the more exotic creations.

Nice to know that the ultimate regulation of Britain's insurance industry is in such safe and decisive hands at the Department of Torpor and Indolence. Amid all the chaos surrounding the affairs of the ailing Municipal Mutual Insurance company, the country's largest insurer of local authorities, a DTI spokesman offered the following reassurance: 'We are keeping closely in touch with the situation.' Phew, that's a relief.

At last, a chance to reassert the position of sterling against the mark. The highest-denomination German banknote ever issued, 100bn marks, is to be sold next week at Sotheby's.

The note was issued by the Reichsbank on 15 March 1924, during a period of hyper-inflation after the First World War. At the time the note was worth some dollars 20. Sotheby's expects it to sell for up to pounds 2,000.

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