Credit crisis diary: Insight, the manager banks can count on

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The Independent Online

The corporate governance group Pirc was rather gentlemanly in not revealing the name of the fund management group which has never voted against a single resolution put by a UK-listed bank to its shareholders. Pirc was making the point that shareholders ought to be doing their bit to hold bank bosses to account on issues such as pay. The Diary can square the circle on this one: the fund manager in question is Insight Investment, owned by Halifax Bank of Scotland. Guess it has more reason than most not to hold banks to account.

Feeling blue

Things must be bad when respected City investment houses start publishing notes with titles pinched from The Smiths, the band of choice for tunes of misery. Credit Suisse's latest tome on economics is entitled "Stop me if you think you've heard this one before", after the Morrissey track. Presumably, they're ready to go to press with "Heaven knows I'm miserable now" as soon as the UK moves formally into recession.

Virgin seeks support against BA

Virgin is mobilising its customers in the battle against British Airways' tie-up with American. Chief executive Steve Ridgway has written to thousands of frequent flyers asking for support in the "No Way BA/AA" campaign, and there's even a website to peruse. Sadly, however, no free air miles on offer for taking up cudgels on Virgin's behalf.

One way to get round your pride

Journalists are notoriously unwilling to give any credit to rival publications, even when they want to rip them off. Take the Evening Standard, which yesterday ran a lengthy piece on remarks made by the Monetary Policy Committee member David Blanchflower in an interview with The Guardian. Capitalising on the fact that the interview ran in the second part of the paper, the Standard credited it thus: "said Blanchflower in the news magazine G2". Sneaky.

Woolies customers may lack sympathy

The Diary certainly doesn't want to see Woolworth's staff lose their jobs, but it has to be said that service is not a word one associates with the stores. Returning a brand-new but broken CD player to its local store last week, the Diary was refused a cash refund due to a lack of a receipt. "How do we know you bought it here?" was the gist of the rejection. The fact that it was a Woolworth's own-brand machine didn't seem to convince them.

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