Pembroke: Banking on novel material

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IT SEEMED that half of Midland Bank was at the London Capital Club last night for the launch of Yen, a novel based on skulduggery in the foreign exchange markets. The author, Guy Stanley, worked for Midland for 10 years before being voluntarily 'de-hired', as he puts it, in 1992.

Mr Stanley, 49, was educated in Japan, worked there for many years and has a Japanese wife. Now writing full-time, he has already finished his next novel, Red Samurai, about the Japanese terrorists and is scouting around for new material. Last night, he was desperately trying to infiltrate the adjoining party, for the Bank of China's KC Wu, in the name of research.

SIR ALASTAIR MORTON, the embattled chairman of the even more embattled Eurotunnel, was in his usual waspish mood yesterday. Fielding questions about the latest dent in the share price, he turned bullish. 'I'm instructing my broker to buy me 5,000 shares today,' he snapped.

BRIAN IVORY, chief executive of Highland Distilleries, is already limbering up for the rugby World Cup in South Africa next spring. Highland Distilleries is sponsoring the event and Mr Ivory, who used to play a bit himself, will be jetting out to cheer on his native Scotland. He may also take his cousin, Jim Gemmell, a partner at accountants Clark Whitehill, who used to represent Scotland at international level. 'I'm going out in May for the opening matches and then hope to go again for the later stages,' he says. 'If Scotland are still in it, that is.'

STILL ON Caledonian connections, David Band, BZW's chief executive, has appointed a fellow Scot as his right-hand man. Donald Brydon has moved up to become the investment bank's deputy chief executive. He was previously chairman of the bank's asset management division.

BZW, which recently ended its mortgage subsidy and company car schemes in favour of cash payments, would not comment on whether Mr Brydon will be taking a company car or not. But if his remuneration is anything like Mr Band's ( pounds 1.4m last year after the mother of all bonuses), he can presumably afford to buy his own.

GREAT SOUTHERN, the funeral business taken over by the American group SCI in the summer, has lost all its Fields. The Field family, who had been in the business for 300 years, used to own a substantial stake. But Colin Field, the last family member still in the business, took the slow march to the door yesterday. There are some compensations. The family made pounds 50m from the takeover.