Business Diary: Hands off my mate, says Gross

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The Independent Online

Bill Gross, the joint head of Pimco, the world's largest bond fund, clearly doesn't fancy taking the job on all by himself. He's certainly keen to scotch any suggestion that his co-head, Mohamed El-Erian, might be an excellent candidate to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. "Mohamed is firmly committed for the next 20 years," Gross said yesterday. "He said that he hopes that I outlast him, but I am sure that he will be there in 2031 – I am not sure about myself." Is that clear enough?

Roubini smells a conspiracy

While we're on the topic of DSK, we note that one man not ruling out a sting operation on the IMF chief is Nouriel Roubini, the economist popularly known as Dr Doom. "DSK is innocent until proven guilty," Roubini tells his Twitter followers, adding that Nicolas Sarkozy's supporters had begun to get concerned about his plans to run against their man for the French Presidency. "One cannot rule out a set-up as a smear campaign against him had started in French press close to Sarko."

Osborne is not a man of letters

We detect a split at the highest level of economic policy-making. The Governor's latest letter to the Chancellor on the Bank of England's missed inflation target is "topped and tailed" in thetraditional way, with Mervyn King taking the time to write out "Dear Chancellor" and "Yours sincerely" in his own fair hand (in addition to his name, of course). George Osborne, however, could only be bothered to scrawl his signature in reply. What can this breach of etiquette imply?

The one the big four missed

So here's a quiz question for you. The Office of Fair Trading's referral of the auditing industry to the Competition Commission yesterday pointed to the often-quoted statistic that 99 of the companies in the FTSE 100 Index use one of the Big Four auditors – so who is the exception? The answer, to put your minds at rest, is the mining company Randgold Resources. It appointed BDO Stoy Hayward as its auditor in 2007 – it replaced Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, which had held the post since Randgold first listed in 1997.