How to become a millionaire before your first birthday

People & Business
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David Whelan, the no-nonsense chairman and founder of sports retailer JJB Sports, is gifting shares worth pounds 28.5m to his four grandchildren. The donation, made together with his wife, will make grandson Paul, who is just two-and-a-half weeks old, the youngest millionaire in Britain. Laura aged 11, Matthew, aged nine and six-year-old David will also benefit.

"The move is designed to avoid inheritance tax. Mr Whelan is 60, and has been advised to make the donation," says Arwel Evans, financial controller at JJB. "Not that he is in poor health," he added hurriedly.

Finally the secret is out, the secret of why Gordon Brown's speeches are so similar to those of his predecessor as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kenneth Clarke.

This has nothing to do with Labour's new-found conservatism, we can reveal, but everything to do with the fact that he has persisted since he took up his new position in using the same speech writer, a career civil servant called Samantha Beckett.

She has written both of the last two Mansion house speeches, and while it would be ridiculous to suggest this 30-something high-flier has any influence on policy, she possibly does have something to do with the similarly considered tone and the semantics.

Unfortunately our Ken is too busy on the campaign trail to comment on her pedigree, but Treasury insiders describe her as an entirely apolitical animal, "very clever, very Treasury, very New Labour actually".

The finalists of the Reuters City golf open have been let down badly by the weather. Twenty two City golfers, who were taking part in the event to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, flew to the Bahamas for the final stages at the end of May.

They were the lucky ones of 400 entrants who had each paid a pounds 200 entry fee. Usually, Paradise Island basks in seven-and-a-half hours of sunshine every day in June so there was much packing of suntan lotion and floppy hats.

Sadly, brollies would have been more in order. There was only a few hours of sun but quite a bit of rain. The golfers entertained themselves at the local ten-pin bowling alley and, more predictably, at the local casino instead. Eventually, Keiichi Hirano and Hiroshi Nakano of Yamaichi pipped Kenny McBride and Andre Katz of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell to win the tournament. And pounds 62,000 was raised for charity.

A new tool for picking shares has emerged from an unexpected quarter. This one does not involve astrology or dart boards, but selects its losers and winners from the number of unfavourable or favourable mentions in the organs of the press.

PressWatch Quarterly, which coincidentally makes a living keeping track of the fortunes of 1,501 companies in the columns of the media, thunders authoritatively: "Companies that score consistently badly in PressWatch often eventually lose their independence or have to reorganised themselves drastically." It cites Ratners, Trafalgar House and British Gas as examples of those who have fallen to the jinx of the press.

The latest to be given the black spot is Scottish Amicable, which saw its rating slump from 47 to a negative 2,257 points, the worst of any company in the latest quarter as it succumbed to a bid from the Pru.

Other duffers include Sears and, surprise, surprise, NatWest Group. The winners' enclosure includes Tesco and Gartmore, the NatWest fund management arm, but the bad news is that recent high flyers Stagecoach and Halifax are also there holding up the bottom of the table - so don't say you weren't warned.

News has arrived of the appointment of Philip Rogerson, deputy chairman of BG (the old name for British Gas) as "non-executive deputy chairman designate" of Aggreko, the generator hire company soon to be demerged from the Christian Salvesen transport group.

Best known for his description of gas regulator Clare Spottiswoode's review of the gas business as "one of the biggest smash-and-grab raids ever", he should find Aggreko rather restful, even if it is not the big chairmanship he is said to be seeking.

The little local difficulties experienced recently by Salvesen with former chairman Sir Gerald Elliot will be as nothing to the travails of British Gas, but he will no doubt still be able to put his unrivalled expertise in handling disgruntled shareholders to good use.