Business Diary: HSBC cleans up its act at last

Good news from HSBC, which reports its annual results on Monday.

No, we don't have a sneak preview of the bank's numbers to offer, but we can reveal that staff sickness numbers in its US office are almost certain to be down. Public health records in New York reveal that HSBC's in-house staff cafeteria has just been given the all-clear by hygiene inspectors – a major improvement on two years ago when the establishment in question was accused of 19 separate breaches of theregulations. Inspectors foundevidence of infestations of mice and cockroaches.

The Libyans saw Madoff coming

Say what you like about the Libyans, but don't criticise their investment analysis skills. The country's sovereign wealth fund has big international holdings, as the Diary has already reported, but we can also reveal that it passed up on two opportunities. Diplomatic cables exposed by Wikileaks detail how the Libyan Investment Authority said no to investments with both Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. It is also said to have raised questions about the management of Lehman Brothers. If only they had told the rest of the world about all three.

Clifford reaches a new audience

Mutual back-slapping at the Association of Business Schools' conference for business school alumni, where the public relations guru Max Clifford was the guest speaker. Clifford, for whom leaving school at the age of 15 has been no obstacle to success, was full of praise for business students – and they were just as effusive about his willingness to share his secrets with the audience. Sadly not the secrets of his celebrity clients, however.

Well done Airbus, I mean Boeing

Embarrassment for Richard Trumka, the head of the US's labour movement, who had to reissue his press release after the award of a $35bn (£22bn) contract. Like many others, Trumka had clearly thought the contract would go to Airbus and had prepared a release on that assumption. When Boeing won the day after all, Trumka forgot to amend the headline on his announcement, which credited Airbus with the deal anyway. Cue a hasty correction.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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