Pembroke: Herb for all seasons still going strong

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The Independent Online
THE OLDEST living stockbroker was at his desk at 7.30am sharp as usual yesterday. Jimmy Herbert, celebrating his 83rd birthday, still goes into work every day at Branston & Gothard, the firm he joined four years ago.

As has become tradition, 'Jimmy the Herb' celebrated the occasion with a genial lunch at the Fox pub in the City - scrambled eggs followed by steak, kidney and mushroom pudding.

Mr Herbert, who lives in Bath but keeps a flat in town, began his City career in 1926 with Colgrave & Co on a salary of 12 shillings and sixpence. He said: 'Things have changed a lot since then, but there is still a lot of friendship and obviously I'm the grand- daddy of them all.'

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MONEY TALKS. Or bellows if you are Goldman Sachs. The firm has waved its wad again by luring the property team from NatWest Securities. Marc Gilbard and Graham Stanley, ranked third by Extel last year, will join Goldman to build a new team in early February.

This follows the poaching of Neil Blackley, James Capel's media analyst, in September and the S G Warburg oil team, led by Peter Nicol, last month.

Mr Gilbard, a black belt at judo and karate, admitted that his new employers were making the move worth his while. 'It is a significant financial uplift, although NatWest said it would try to match it,' he said.

A MOVE in the world of financial journalism as Gillian O'Connor, editor of Investors Chronicle since 1982, moves to the Financial Times as personal finance editor. Ms O'Connor, who has been with the FT-owned IC for 23 years, takes over from Philip Coggan, who becomes economics correspondent.

'It's rather exciting,' chirps Ms O'Connor, whose short skirts brought a ray of sunshine to the fuddy-duddy world of 1960s financial journalism. 'I felt I would like to do something different.'

THINGS can get bitchy, even in the staid world of ratings agencies. Standard & Poor's was crowing yesterday about the plight of its big rival Moody's, which handed out a top credit rating to Metallgesellschaft, the German metals group.

The bottom fell out of the company, forcing a hasty re- rating. 'We didn't rate it. We weren't asked,' says S&P's George Dallas. 'We have a very different policy from some of our competitors.'

Moody's is unrepentant. 'All the ratings we issue are requested but we do not discuss whether the request was from the client or the investor,' it says.

Claridges, the posh London hotel, will lose a valued customer today as Professor Lawrence Tribe checks out and flies back to Harvard Law School.

Professor Tribe has been in a Claridges suite for a week drawing up the dollars 10.5bn writ which Sheikh Khalid has just issued against the Abu Dhabi Investment authority over BCCI-related matters.

The Harvard man is unlikely to have found the work too testing. One of the world's leading constitutional experts, he has helped Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel and Boris Yeltsin with constitutional work. A mere pounds 10.5bn writ should have been a doddle.

FAR BE IT from us to to blow the gaff on the Financial Times' new promotion campaign, but the scheme does appear to give the green light to expense account fiddles.

For those unfamiliar with the FT's new wheeze, it involves something called a Transmedia chargecard that entitles holders to a 25 per cent discount at 2,500 or so restaurants around the country.

The potential scam is that the discount does not appear on the restaurant bill but on the Visa, Mastercard or Delta statement. What then, would stop the diner claiming the full amount while only paying 75 per cent of it?

No doubt accounts departments around the country will be pinning up the list of participating restaurants on notice boards and combing expense claims even more thoroughly than usual.

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