Business Diary: The Lord Mayor's dancing stick
Wednesday 10 November 2010
Many Londoners look forward to the second Saturday of November, when the Lord Mayor's Show celebrates the appointment of a new Lord Mayor. But don't forget that civil engineer Michael Bear, this year's man in the hot seat, also has an important job to do, representing the City of London (so effectively the financial services industry) on a national and global stage. His participation in a Zulu dance this weekend, complete with "shield and dancing stick", can only enhance his credibility as he prepares for the job.
Stick to sterling please, chaps
Well done to Rolls-Royce for yesterday's big contract win in China. The company was naturally keen to trumpet its success and chose to quote the value of the deal in dollars, in order to take it above the magic billion mark. By the time the business department was announcing the deal a little later yesterday, it had changed Rolls-Royce's $1.2bn back into £750m. The deal was won by a delegation led by a British Prime Minister, after all.
RBS misses out on ambassador's role
As the bank in which the British taxpayer has the biggest stake, it seems only fair we should get every last penny of value out of Royal Bank of Scotland. What a pity, then, that of the big four British banks, it is the only one not to be represented in the group of "Business Ambassadors" for the country that David Cameron unveiled yesterday. Barclays is providing Marcus Agius, while HSBC is offering up its adviser, former CBI man Digby Jones. Even Lloyds got in there via former chairman Sir Victor Blank. RBS couldn't even manage a connection as tenuous as that.
US namesake that Pru must envy
Tuning in to American television last night, the Diary noticed a commercial from a "financial company" that "grew and protected clients" during the crisis. Adverts always feature such grandiose claims, of course, but these ones from the US company Prudential made us smile. After blowing millions of pounds on advisers who failed to sell an Asian mega-merger, the British Prudential would surely find itself in front of the Advertising Standards Authority if it tried to get away with something similar.
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