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Business Diary: Amlin a winner at jargon game

Insurance, eh. It's really a simple concept – you pay the company a premium, they cover your costs if the worst happens. What's made it look complex is a talent for obfuscation that is even now plumbing new depths. There was a real humdinger from Amlin, which does much of its business at Lloyd's of London, as it tried to explain why profits have been falling. "Downward rating pressures," it sniffs. In other words, premiums are getting cheaper. Surely a contender for this week's inexcusable jargon award. On a Monday.

Give us a rest please UBS

Stop the Press! A portentous email arrives from UBS, the one-time star of the Swiss banking industry which nearly became a supernova during the credit crunch. Now run by the former boss of its bitter rival Credit Suisse, the bank wants us to know that it is back to health and a safe place for client's money again. "The core of UBS's identity is the focus on long-term relationships. The slogan 'We will not rest...' expresses the attitude that is required to achieve this." Looks like we're all going to need a rest from this campaign before too long.

Off to a bang with Formula 1

As (presumably) part of the campaign the old UBS banger has announced a tie up with Formula One. Kind of obvious, if you think about it, given Switzerland's long established connections with the motor industry. Presumably it's down to the bank wanting to make use of F1's global reach and such like and to show it's now swift and sleek like a Formula One car (or something,) in branding speak, you understand.

The canny Sir Stuart Rose

So Sir Stuart Rose is (finally) stepping down as chairman of M&S on 4 January. Our more eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that there's another event scheduled for that day that is likely to have no small impact on Marks & Spencer's prospects and the way his successor will be perceived: It happens to be the day pencilled in by the Chancellor for VAT to rise from its current 17.5 per to 20 per cent. Way to go Sir Stuart.