Mr Teflon is sticking to his old connections

While his name failed to appear in lights in yesterday's report from the Singapore authorities on the collapse of Barings, Andrew "Teflon'' Tuckey finds his tenuous connection with the once-proud name ever more stretched.

You will recall that the bank's former deputy chairman resigned on 3 April "as a matter of honour" while still managing to stay on as a consultant to the corporate finance arm. This in spite of a Securities and Futures Association investigation hanging over his head and an assurance from the Bank of England Governor, Eddie George, that he would need his approval to work again in the City. In a telling demonstration of the suitability of his soubriquet, Mr Tuckey even secured an office in the new London Wall headquarters which Barings moves into next weekend.

However, Teflon may yet come unstuck. "The office will probably be a broom cupboard in the cellar,'' whispers a barely audible Barings man. "This is a sort of low-profile, part-time, occasional role.''

Already under the cosh from an ungrateful public, the Serious Fraud Office has suffered the further indignity of being publicly rubbished by its own barrister. On Monday the hapless investigators came under withering attack from Jonathan Caplan QC, as he mounted the case for Ernest Saunders, the former Guinness chief appealing against his conviction.

Was this the same Jonathan Caplan who has been advising the SFO on the Barings debacle for the last six months? "Er ... he is one of the best,'' explains an SFO spokesman defensively. "It is a reflection of how few QCs there are available to deal with complex fraud.''

One can see why William Hague, the Welsh Secretary, is getting so edgy about inward investment in the principality. The announcement of a pounds 340m expansion by Ford at Bridgend and advertisements for 480 new jobs will lead to a stampede followed by the inevitable disappointment.

When Bridgend advertised 24 jobs on the Jaguar engine line it got 8,000 applications. Some from 80 miles away.

The 4,000,000th attempt to unite Britain's fragmented accountancy profession is in danger of collapse, barely months after it got off the ground. In spite of the efforts of at least 14 working parties another Balkan solution looks on the cards.

Sensing that it can never sell a merger between the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accounts (CIMA) to its younger separatist members, the increasingly impoverished ICA yesterday launched a "hard-hitting poster campaign'' to convince the public that theirs is the premier qualification. For their part the management accountants seem fairly relaxed. The CIMA stock is rising and it has again asked the Privy Council to allow its members to call themselves "chartered'' accountants.

Senior auditors now privately concede that they have lost the exclusive use of the chartered prefix.

Suggestions in the Financial Times that Freshfields, Britain's leading international law firm, was about to merge with Davis Polk & Wardwell of the US were followed by swift and vehement denials from both senior partners in the newspaper's letters column yesterday. But the clarifications came too late to stand down investment bankers on both sides of the Atlantic, who had already got the smell of merger fees in their nostrils.

Even before he could put pen to paper, John Grieves the unflappable senior partner at Freshfields, was besieged bybankers offering their services. It hardly bears a mention, but for the record it was the Americans who got to him first.

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