Credit Crisis Diary: 14/03/2009

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The Independent Online

So who does what at the FSA?

Niall Fitzgerald, the deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters, was Hector Sants' host when he gave his landmark speech this week promising a regulatory crackdown. Mr Fitzgerald quizzed the Financial Services Authority chief executive on governance and whether there was a clear division between Mr Sants' role and that of Lord Turner, his bustling new chairman. "Er, completely," Mr Sants replied with a fixed grin that seemed to hint otherwise.

Mandy beefs up his firepower

Never mind bankers being afraid of the FSA, it's the Bank of England which should be running scared after its spat with Lord Mandelson. The trade magazine PR Week reports the Business Secretary has substantially beefed up his department's team of spinners since returning to government. Expect to see some snide stories about Mervyn King and friends any day now.

At last, a use for Michael O'Leary

There's no faulting Ryanair for its imagination – it has started to pay passengers to come up with new ways in which the airline might charge them. Ryanair is offering a €1,000 prize for the best idea for a new fee it could use to boost profits (or subsidise low fares, depending on how you look at it). We like one passenger's idea in particular – charging extra for toilet roll with pictures of chief executive Michael O'Leary, left, on it. One idea also put to Ryanair is that the airline might charge for oxygen masks in the event of an emergency. With this lot, you never quite know.

Oxford staff miss out on the celebrations

To the PLC awards dinner, where Oxford Instruments was given the much-coveted trophy for best technology. Sadly, many of its staff are no longer around to bask in their company's glory – the high-tech engineer has just been forced to let almost one in six of its employees go.

Boom time for one type of business

At last, we've found a growth sector in the UK's ailing economy. Adult- oriented retailer Ann Summers says sales of sex toys are soaring, thanks to the recession. As we know, staying in is the new going out, and when couples – or singles for that matter – get bored with the telly, they've got to pass the time somehow.