Column Eight: Not quite according to plan

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The Independent Online
Nominations for the brightest financial services company are open. Unfortunately, there has been an early withdrawal from the lists.

The Securities and Investments Board has prevented Intelligent Financial Planning of Mitre House, 27, The Strand, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, from carrying out investment business because the SIB says it is not satisfied that the company is able to fulfil the regulatory body's supervision rules. Oh dear.

In other parts of the financial forest the committee of the Gooda Walker action group, trying to retrieve part of a pounds 925m loss for stricken underwriting members of the Lloyd's insurance market, are engaged in a ritual eye-gouging ceremony. If you pick up the telephone these days you can expect to hear two people claiming to be chairman of the action group.

Outgoing chairman Alfred Doll-Steinberg is trying to remove the existing committee and replace them with 'more expertise' with 'appropriate' remuneration for their services. Incoming chairman and concert promoter Michael Deeny has put the question of remuneration on the back- burner, preferring to consider how to get the members' money back as a priority. Stand by for fireworks.

One hears that an all-potato restaurant has opened for business in Hamburg. The drinks are potato-based, as is, of course, the food, and even the waitresses are dressed in potato sacks. Not so much Spud U Like as Spud, Ain't U Sick to Death of It?

Useful facts about the relationship of God with Mammon. A survey prepared by the Evangelical Alliance says there are high levels of debt among churchgoers. The alliance offers a national helpline to 'escape from debt' and offers 'Christian hope in financial chaos'. At least collection plates at the usual place of worship set an example. They don't take credit cards.

Incidentally, the survey of 1,000 Sunday sermons shows that only three were about money. Not an attractive rate of interest.

Who is the private customer at Lloyds Bank who owes pounds 21m? Some say it is a Swiss customer; others a blighted Lloyd's of London insurance underwriting member. Answers on a postcard, please.

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