Business Diary: One good deed deserves another

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The Independent Online

Ping. In comes an email announcing that John Varley, the former Barclays Bank boss, is to be the next chairman of Marie Curie Cancer Care, a very worthycharity indeed. Ping. Just 15minutes later, an email from the Financial Services Authority arrives revealing that Barclays has been fined £7.7m and told to pay £60m in compensation formis-selling investment products while Varley was in charge. Good to see that both Varley and Barclays are giving something back.

Biting back at the watchdogs

Still, financial regulators should be careful about who they have a go at. Take the case of Vincent McCrudden, an American fund manager, who has just been arrested by the FBI on charges that he threatened to kill 47 officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other watchdogs. Mr McCrudden is thought to have been enraged by accusations against him levied by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

RBS boss knows his subject well

It was good to see Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir Philip Hampton telling the BBC last night that rather too many bankers are overpaid, with only the biggest stars deserving the telephone number pay packets they receive. Is this the same Sir Philip who chairs the bank that last year had a big temper tantrum when it was warned shelling out £1.5bn in bonuses might go down badly with thetaxpayers who had bailed it out (the board threatened to resign)? Or the same Sir Philip as the one who earns £700,000 a year for chairing RBS?

Value-added economic analysis

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. No matter what theeconomic story, one can always rely on Howard Archer, the redoubtable chief economist at IHS Global Insight, to offer up some incisive analysis, cutting through the hype to explain what the data of the day really means. His take on the inflation figures? We thought you'venever ask. Here goes: "The December consumer price inflation data are horrible and in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, this really now is 'squeaky bums' time for the Bank of England." See what we mean? Incisive.