Business Diary: 25/07/2009

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The Independent Online

FSA promises to end six-year IT wait (again)

An outtake from the FSA's annual meeting at Chiswell Street Brewery in London this week. The scene: a frustrated finance professional has been trying to persuade the FSA to allow electronic registration of approved persons, as is the practice in the US.

That this is not already possible may surprise you in this hi-tech age, where the Government wants its citizens to do everything from making benefit claims to submitting an income-tax return online. Lord Turner, chairman, pictured, passed the buck to Mark Norris. The chief operating officer's response: sorry, but we've been really busy. The system will be up and running by the fourth quarter. The same question was asked last year when the COO promised it would happen by Easter. In fact, the question was first asked six years ago. How the world has changed since then.

Ashley adds the 'Minus Touch' to JJB spat

There has been some debate over the opposite of the Midas touch. The best the Diary could come up with is the Minus Touch. Whatever it is, Mike Ashley, pictured, seems to have it at the moment. His football club Newcastle United were relegated in May and his company Sports Direct posted a staggering 91 per cent slump in annual profits last week. Yesterday saw another defeat as JJB shareholders backed Sir David Jones – with whom Ashley has had a very public spat over a loan. Not only that, but Mr Ashley's representative, sent to ask some difficult questions, was escorted off the premises when he tried to talk with the media. It prompted Ashley to launch a bitter response to JJB before saying the JJB directors' "extremely serious allegations against me" were untrue.

Gold members gear up for fight to the death

Talking of turning things into gold, or not... In a desperate bid for publicity, Krista Waddell, head of gold company Ounces to Pounds, has challenged rival Jeff Aronson to a fight – an organised physical fight "to the death". Mr Aronson should dismiss her challenge at his peril. Beneath the glamorous exterior, Waddell hides a warrior spirit, with a black belt in US military close combat, apparently used by the Navy Seals and FBI hostage teams. Scary.

10: Number of the day

The number of consecutive days the FTSE 100 has increased in value, two days off an all-time record.