Pembroke: Coats' ups and downs

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Perplexing changes in salaries at Coats Viyella, Britain's largest textiles company, are revealed in the annual report. Profits, earnings and dividends all showed growth in 1992, so it wasn't a surprise that the chairman, Sir David Alliance, received an 18 per cent rise in pay and benefits and pocketed pounds 373,000. But poor Neville Bain, the chief executive, saw his wad fall from pounds 499,000 to pounds 481,000 after an existing bonus arrangement came to an end. Total payments to the board dropped by one quarter.

It's always good to see directors behaving with sensitivity.

If you approach Bibendum with the idea of laying down port for a favoured godchild you will probably be asked, as was a colleague, if you intend to store it in your own cellar. If a cruel twist of fate has denied you such a cellar, you will then be told that Bibendum can store it for the reasonable sum of pounds 1 per year.

So you offer to pay pounds 15 up front. Your godchild is three years old and you won't surrender the port until his 18th birthday. But be warned. Our friend was told he would have to send off a 50p cheque twice a year and face their wrath when he inevitably forgets. That's unreasonable.

The Securities Institute, the body set up after the Stock Exchange ended its personal membership system, is resurrecting something of the club ethos of the old exchange and blackballing candidates who don't, harrumph, measure up. Tim Nicholson, the institute's chief executive, insists admission criteria are strict. 'Who wants to be a member of an organisation which lets just anybody in without first making some very thorough checks?'

The blackballing process must be less stringent than that operated in other London clubs. Fewer than 100 of 8,500 applicants have been turned away. 'It's not very easy to test for integrity,' muses Graham Ross Russell, the institute's chairman. 'You know it when you see it but it's very difficult to define in a vacuum.'

John Wriglesworth, the ebullient UBS housing analyst, is supposedly getting fit for next weekend's London Marathon. But he may be more concerned about how he will look in a Victorian bathing costume when he hosts a party on Brighton pier during the annual Council of Mortgage Lenders meeting in June.

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