Not many winners in the stockbrokers' racing tips

People & Business

Investment circulars from Panmure Gordon's engineering team don't just limit themselves to "Buy FKI and sell GKN". Harry Phillips' latest effort also covers some "great racing at Newbury".

The circular dated last Friday adds: "We take Cheryls Lad to win the Tote Gold Trophy whilst in the Grand National Trial at Uttoxeter, Warren Marston has the opportunity to get back on the winning trail riding Mudahim for his boss Jenny Pitman."

In the event, Mr Phillips tells me: "Cheryls Lad didn't run, so no one lost any money, while Mudahim came second at six to one."

This seems pretty poor investment advice, especially considering our own correspondent at Uttoxeter says that Mudahim was "easily beaten by Lord Gyllene, which trotted up".

Coincidentally, Mike Kerr-Dineen, chief executive of Credit Lyonnais Laing Securities, had his own horse Polydamas running in the Newbury Tote Gold Trophy. "It came third at eight to one, which is very good considering it's never been over hurdles before," says Mr Kerr-Dineen.

He and his Laing & Cruickshank colleague, the Earl of De La Warr, own another horse, Poteen, which they hope will do well in the 2,000 Guineas later this year.

On a more prosaic note, Mr Kerr-Dineen has just poached another private client investment manager from Quilter Goodison, David Malpas. Eighteen months ago Laing & Cruickshank Investment Management nicked Quilters' star team of private client investment managers, Nigel Lloyd, Richard Legg and John Nicholas.

Mr Kerr-Dineen says the latest signing is especially impressive as Mr Malpas, 35, has been with Quilters for 12 years, and his father Peter Malpas was also an old Quilters hand.

The bankruptcy brigade at accountants Price Waterhouse are preening themselves this year after their trainee receivers did well in the latest joint insolvency examination: "All nine of the firm's first-time candidates passed - contrasting starkly with the national average pass rate of 31 per cent."

The corporate gravediggers are also proud to announce that in the last three years PW candidates have won five of the nine available prizes. What they neglect to add is that two of those have been Price Waterhouse prizes. Question: Is this a conflict of interest? Discuss.

To the Brewery, Chiswell Street, London, to a lunch celebrating the "130th Anniversary Challenge; NEC Harlequins vs Auckland Blues". This was one of those events where you take particular care that you don't spill your wine on anyone such as Jason Leonard, the gargantuan captain of the Quins rugby team, or Sean Fitzpatrick, the even larger captain of Auckland and the All Blacks.

Thankfully, the lunch went off without incident. There was some amusement after the loyal toast to the Queen when some diners urged Will Carling to get up and say something - I can't think why.

The teams will play each other at the Stoop Memorial ground, Twickenham, next Tuesday. The match is sponsored by Reuters, who I hear were considering sponsoring the rugby World Cup in South Africa two years ago. They were defeated by the asking price - a cool pounds 6.5m. A Quins match looks more affordable.

Jan Murray, the man who built the PC World chain of computer superstores before selling out to Dixons four years ago, has become chairman of ITG, one of the UK's leading Internet service providers.

Mr Murray also founded Globe Internet in June 1995, a company which has grown to become the fourth-largest Internet service provider in the UK, with 15,000 subscribers. Last October ITG entered AIM via a reverse takeover of Ballynatray Holdings and Globe Internet.

Now Hugh Laughland is stepping down as chairman of Globe, clearing the way for Mr Murray, who began his career in retailing consumer electronics with the family business, REW. He really hit it big, however, when he set up PC World in 1991.

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