Pembroke: Dry BZW humour

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The Independent Online
THERE HAS BEEN no such thing as a free lunch in the City for quite some time. Now it seems there are no free drinks either.

When BZW invited Chris Bolt, of Ofwat, to speak at a conference Mr Bolt made it clear that he wanted invitations extended to analysts from other houses. Letters duly went out cordially inviting analysts to the talk - and, by the by, would they like to stay afterwards for drinks?

Now it seems BZW has had a change of heart. Another letter has been sent round. As so many have responded, it says, drinks are off.

LLOYD'S OF LONDON is not a gambler's den of course, but it seems one or two of its better-paid brethren know a thing or two about the sport of kings.

Bill Brown, one of the market's more illustriously salaried brokers, certainly knew what he was talking about yesterday. He was heard tipping Move a Minute in the 1 o'clock at Towcester. Consternation all around. It won.

THE ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH INSURERS is getting into the festive spirit in its own little way. It is promoting its 'bomb alert' videos, aimed at terrorist-fearing businesses.

It was first released in March after the Bishopsgate bomb in the City, and sales have gone rather well. More than 2,000 copies sold.

IT IS A SOURCE a comfort for purveyors of fine quality goods to have one or two utterly loaded individuals on the list of regular customers.

Royal Doulton, the posh crockery company, must be feeling pleased with itself. Apparently its best customer is the Sultan of Brunei, the world's richest man, with an estimated personal wealth of dollars 30bn, give or take a billion or two.

The sultan is apparently very partial to Minton crockery, one of the most expensive brands in the Doulton range. In the '1863' collection a nine-inch plate costs pounds 99 and a bone china cup and saucer, with acid gold relief designs plated with burnished gold, will set you back pounds 250.

In the sultan's grandest palace he can sit 4,000 people down to dinner. Whether the billionaire lays the table with Royal Doulton on such occasions is not known. But a nice order if you can get it.

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KARL OTTO POHL, the former president of the Bundesbank who was been in London this week sharing his wisdom, clearly favours a high-powered assistant.

Not for him some acned lackey to hold his notes and learn at the feet of the great master. Acting as slide changer to the great man the other night was Professor Richard Layard, eminent LSE professor and adviser to Boris Yeltsin.

ANOTHER contender for ugly business expression of the moment. We've had re- engineer, downsize, de-layer, downscale. Now, courtesy of Staveley Industries, a big name in weighing equipment and salt, comes re-dimension.

'Overall the performance in the first half was somewhat disappointing but positive action has been taken to re-dimension the organisation to the prevailing business conditions.' Does this mean they've sacked people?

MIDLAND BANK held its own Armistice Day dedication yesterday when it moved its memorial to staffers who died during the war from its old branch in Threadneedle Street to its new home in Leadenhall Street.

Brian Pearse, the bank's chief executive, was on hand to lay a wreath at the foot of the memorial to the 717 staff who died.

The bank is pleased its new home is as grand as its last. They were both designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.