Column Eight: Advisers in the firing line

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The Independent Online
Today's annual meeting of Mirror Group Newspapers promises to be a stormy affair from the word go. Not least for representatives from Charterhouse merchant bank, who are advising the Heinz chief Tony O'Reilly on a possible bid for MGN and who have been allowed to attend.

To their dismay they have discovered that their seats will be in a very conspicuous, sectioned-off area reserved specially for Mirror advisers - the people most likely to be taking flak. How unfair.

Midland Bank has more than one eye on tumbling US interest rates. It has just lowered the rate on its seven- day dollar savings account to a couldn't-be-meaner 0 per cent.

The US discount rate already stands at a meagre 3 per cent. What will Midland do if the Fed lowers again? Charge savers?

Scottish Nuclear boasts that one reactor at the Hunterston power station managed to keep going non-stop for 305 days last year, something of an achievement by all accounts. What stopped the reactor in its tracks? A dread attack of excess jellyfish in the Firth of Clyde, which provides water for the vital cooling systems.

There can't be many 102- year-old pensioners optimistic enough to invest in a long-playing record, never mind a five-year savings plan. Still, Barclays Bank staff in Liverpool recently received one such request for a Tessa account. They won't say if they advised opening a high-interest, instant access building society account instead.

The tome on the Saatchis written by Ivan Fallon, deputy editor of the Sunday Times, has been spotted in a City bookshop, ruthlessly slashed by 50 per cent from pounds 14.95 to pounds 7.50. If the cover price traces the share price there's still a lot of discounting to be done. The stock has fallen rather faster - by more than 90 per cent since its high in the late 1980s.

Fratelli Camisa, the famous Italian delicatessen in Soho, invites a colleague to an 'informal wine tasting' at the Elstree aerodrome in conjunction with the London School of Flying. If the event goes as these things tend to, the 'tasters' won't need an aeroplane to go flying.

Estate agents now fall under the Trade Descriptions Act - no longer can they describe as 'convenient for transport' a house that backs on to a railway line. So one north London agent comes clean about a pounds 795,000 property on its books: 'A colourful past from dairy farm to brothel to grand house.' Brutally frank.

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