Pembroke: Bat out of Lloyd's

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ENTERPRISING Lloyd's of London underwriter John Rew faces a showdown with the former Lloyd's chairman David Coleridge and his firm Sturge Holdings. Mr Coleridge's company has consulted m'learned friends over a tract produced by Mr Rew that alleges that Lloyd's was under-reserved by the odd pounds 8bn or so. Sturge has issued a writ.

It claims Mr Rew has used information that breaches a confidentiality agreement in his capacity as chairman of an action group seeking financial help for members of a syndicate managed by Sturge.

The contretemps should prove interesting. Mr Rew once had an altercation with a neighbour where weapons included a cricket bat.

THE CITY BROKERS UBS didn't stint on the Christmas party this year, hiring the Grosvenor House hotel for 1,500 staffers. Guest speaker was Angus Deayton, compere of the cult quiz show Have I Got News for You. Football jokes were order of the day. Congratulating Switzerland on reaching the World Cup next year, he added: 'Such a good performance from a third world nation.'

WHO SAID all City folk were Tories? A law student was invited to the Goldman Sachs Christmas dinner, also at the Grosvenor House hotel, where he rubbed shoulders with the City's newest millionaires.

The 23-year-old student confided to his fellow diners that he was a socialist. When the meal ended, he was approached by a man who told him: 'I'm a socialist too, and so is he,' pointing to a crowd of more than 500 people.

FROM THE personal ads in Private Eye: 'Indecent proposals wanted from Goldman Sachs millionaires by three 25-year-old immoral gorgeous PR women. Write to box number . . .' Who said the entrepreneurial spirit was dead?

ALL CHANGE at the top of ICI as Alan Spall steps up to the main board and replaces Colin Short as finance director. Mr Short will concentrate on planning and the eastern hemisphere, which will involve stacking up the Air Miles on trips to Australia.

A Mancunian accountant who lists his hobbies as gardening and tennis, colleagues describe Mr Spall as 'thorough' and 'organised'. He joined ICI in 1970 and turned round a number of ICI subsidiaries, including an industrial chemical business in Brazil.

Preaching to Sir Denys Henderson at board meetings should not present a problem. He is a lay reader in the Church of England.

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More cash will be flowing into the Duchess of York's purse after Budgie the Little Helicopter landed with yet another deal. Sleepy Kids, the company that owns the merchandising rights to the character the Duchess created, has signed up with Hallmark Cards of America for a range of cards and partyware. Sleepy Kids' chairman would not reveal how much the Duchess will make but said: 'It's good for us so it must be good for her.'

NO ONE is looking forward to paying VAT on their fuel bills, but would you pay up for 10 years' worth of bills in advance to avoid it?

One Yorkshire Electricity customer is doing just that, coughing up more than pounds 4,000. Wary of a deluge of such requests, the company has engaged an agency to cope with advance payments.

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