Pembroke: Bye-bye Bimbo, you are too cumbersome

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The Independent Online
CITY WORKERS may be disappointed to learn that they are to lose their favourite Bimbo. The British Merchant Banking & Securities Houses Association, affectionately known as Bimbo, is to change its name. From July it will answer to the less embarrassing title of Liba, the London Investment Banking Association. Bimbo minions deny the name is being changed because officials are fed up with being called after a 'nice looks, no brains' kind of person. 'It's got nothing to do with that,' sniffed one. The new name is simply 'less cumbersome' and more appropriate. Mmm.

THAT JURGEN SCHNEIDER certainly gets around. So far, the German property developer who disappeared earlier this week leaving his company on the brink, has been cited in newspaper reports as being in Switzerland, the Bahamas, Iran, Italy and Bavaria on the same day.

THE NAME Union Bank of Switzerland is looming large in money laundering at the moment. On Wednesday, UBS became embroiled in the biggest money laundering case in Swiss history, involving Colombian drug money among other things. But in London (where UBS is not involved in the case) the investment bank has another starring role. Its name crops up right at the start of the latest training video on money laundering that has been prepared by the British Bankers Association and promoted by the Bank of England as a useful training tool.

In the opening scene, traders, played by actors, are discussing a fictional trade involving UBS, Chase Manhattan and a Liechtenstein bank. 'It could have been anyone,' BBA says explaining its choice of banks for the scene. 'We needed to pick a couple of top names and just happened to choose them.'

JEEVES OF BELGRAVIA, the posh (ie expensive) dry cleaners with 11 shops in London, celebrates its 25th anniversary today and boy does it have some stories. The company swears that love has blossomed in its Moorgate branch, which features a basement where City workers can change out of one crumpled suit and into their freshly cleaned one. One worker allegedly met a young lady while performing this early morning routine. The couple began dating and later married.

Other eyebrow raisers have included suits covered with Tippex after office fights, and ball gowns splattered with paint. Jeeves is cutting its prices this weekend so make the most of it.

AXA, the French insurance giant that announced its results yesterday, is getting seriously into its wine. For years the company has had investments in Bordeaux vineyards run by the charming and tanned Jean-Michel Cazes. Now AXA is to use wine buffery as the corporate glue that will hold the company culture together.

In London for a wine tasting this week, Mr Cazes tells me the company is spending pounds 8m on a 50- bedroom, residential conference centre in Bordeaux where a different group of managers will visit every week for training. But it will not be all work and no play. Half a day per week will be devoted to the study of wines, including a bit of theory and I should think, a fair amount of practice.

'We think we could use wine as the common denominator for all our international managers to build a common culture,' says Mr Cazes.

(Photograph omitted)