Column Eight: Like son, like father at Electra

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A TOUCH of nepotism at Electra Investment Trust. Defence Secretary Tom King is joining the firm - where his son Rupert toils in the unlisted investments department - as a non-executive director.

Michael Stoddart, chairman, denied family relationships influenced the appointment. 'We do not have anybody who has got Cabinet experience and sometimes opinions in that area are very useful,' he said.

How Mr King's political experience will benefit Electra's backing for the proposed management buyout of Mirror Group Newspapers, the country's leading left-wing newspaper group, remains to be seen.

IN AN attempt to destroy the myth that accountants are really boring, Professor David Tweedie, head of the Accounting Standards Board, was on fine form addressing the annual Extel analysts survey lunch. 'Earnings per share are like haggis,' said the Prof. 'If you knew what went into them, you wouldn't touch them.' Like all the best accountants he is Scottish.

WITH memories of the time a Ratners press release went out on Bond Corporation notepaper, one was interested to receive a letter from NFC counselling caution about the Spanish economy. What, you might ask, do the haulage people know about Spain?

The answer is not a lot. It seems that St James Public Relations confused NFC with another client, Spanish stockbroker FG Inversiones.

INVESTING in biotechnology companies is an all or nothing game. Hopeful institutions give a bunch of scientists several million pounds to spend on research in the hope they discover the cure for cancer or Aids. Success is rewarded by riches, but should the scientists fail everybody loses a packet.

Not surprisingly, British Bio-technology, the first of its kind to come to the UK stock market, was keen to warn investors that its shares were high risk.

Sadly its best intentions were thwarted 'at the printers'. The risk warning and other key information was omitted from some of the copies.

IT IS sad that the Securities Institute, a new professional body welcomed by the Governor of the Bank in a Guildhall speech last night, is destined to fall short of its ambitions. It hopes to restore the comradeship of pre-Big Bang days. But a spokesman confides that its new premises will have neither restaurant nor bar.