Business Diary: A quiet buck for Standard Life

Another one for the "good day to bury bad news" category. Standard Life quietly announced at the end of last week that it was putting up charges on seven ofits most popular investment funds, in a market where the trend is for cutting costs. Financial advisers are making a bit of of a stink about the increases, but their complaints have been lost in the storm that has blown up elsewhere. How many more companies will be slipping out something while the News of the World furore continues?


If your kids love those insufferable meerkat ads you'll be pleased to know that some bright spark in the marketing department of has finally got around to bringing out a range of toys. Unfortunately there's a catch: you have to buy your insurance through the website to get one. Meerkats, eh! As naturalists will tell you, they're not quite as cute as they look: they're predators and capable of getting into some nasty fights. Still, you could always get one of the knock-offs you can find on any market for a fiver.

Back to school – eight weeks early

Times are tough on planet retail, as we all know. But do Tesco and Sainsbury's really need to start their "Back to School" campaigns two weeks before most kids have even broken up for the summer break? Now the supermarkets have ruined them for the kids – and their teachers. Still, every little helps.

Chastening time for US bank

You think our banks are bad? Consider the case of ChaseBank in the US, whose cashiers were a little suspicious when a construction worker, Ikenna Njoku, turned up at a branch in Auburn, Washington, with a large cheque he wanted to cash. So suspicious, in fact, that they called the police, who promptly arrested Mr Njoku. Though Chase discovered it had made a mistake, the message didn't get through to the police and Mr Njoku spent three days in jail, during which time he had his car impounded (it was subsequently auctioned off) and lost his job. Just over a year later, Chase has finallygot round to apologising forthe error.