Business Diary: The Richard and Judy of banking

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The Independent Online

We know the pressure is on banks to come up with less risky revenue streams, but JP Morgan Chase's move into the book club business is a little curious.

Yet there it is on the bank's home page: "The JP Morgan 2010 Summer Reading List", complete with a click-through to Barnes & Noble. Recommendations include Hank Paulson's tome about the financial crisis, On The Brink, which is rather close to home. And will Fine Wines: The Best Vintages Since 1900 include anything affordable for those of us who don't work on Wall Street? Still, proceeds go to charity, so let's not be mean.

BBC cans its own pension exposé

Members of the BBC pension scheme, facing management proposals for comprehensive cuts, were looking forward to a special in-house edition of Money Box, the popular Radio 4 programme, which was going to major on the reforms. But presenter Paul Lewis has told staff he has had to pull the programme because management has insisted on pre-approving it.

Free will, but not free speech

Pseud's corner award of the day goes to Bruce Packard, the banking analyst at Seymour Pierce, who yesterday passed on some thoughts to friends around the City. The note was entitled "Buridan's Ass" – a reference to the rather knotty philosophical paradox about free will. The effect was only marginally spoiled by a second round-robin from Packard entitled "Buridan's Donkey" – the first missive fell foul of people's obscenity email filters.

Putting passion back into retail

The most common phrase in the shop trade is "retail is detail", but not at the value chain Wilkinson. Its annual report suggests "passion equals profit" is more apt. "Passion is a way of life at Wilkinsons," the company explains, listing a string of things it is really passionate about. Like "passion for our biggest-ever 388-page Wilkinson Plus catalogue". The chain's top dog this year is Keith Rooms, from the Yeovil store, who won its "Be Passionate" award after 29 years with the company. Our passionate congratulations.