Pembroke: Lloyd's loss

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The Independent Online
Beleaguered Lloyd's of London continues to ricochet from disaster to disaster.

Earlier this month, David Bruce, the six-figure-salaried and 40-something director of finance of the insurance market resigned after just four months in the job.

Now it emerges that 'flapper', as he became known on the twelfth floor of Lloyd's Lime Street administration building, departed with a severance payoff not unadjacent to pounds 50,000, enough, as one member pointed out to the chief executive, Sir Peter Middleton, to give the entire staff a 1 per cent pay rise.

Fimbra, the regulatory association for financial intermediaries and brokers, is clearly not a body to be trifled with. At the end of July it suspended J Howard Associates, a little business run from home at Horley in Surrey, for not informing the association of a change of address. It has only just lifted the ban now in its new particulars.

Is this not officialdom gone mad? Shouldn't Fimbra be out nobbling fraudulent financial wide boys? 'It was the lapse of time - two months - that we were concerned about,' replies a Fimbra spokesman. 'We have to warn investors that there could potentially be something wrong there. If we can't get hold of a member, it means their clients can't either.' Mr Howard, whose mother answered the phone at his new address, has just gone on holiday and so was unable to make a comment.

Is Manchester getting a little over-optimistic about its chances of hosting the Olympics in 2000? On to our desks glides a 'pre-official' invitation to the mother of all parties on the night of 23 September, when the winner of the bids will be announced.

We are told that 500 guests will gather at Manchester Town Hall to hear the decision by satellite from Monaco. 'Starting at 6pm the reception will continue until 9pm when guests can then go off to the official street party at Castlefield hosted by major pop stars and personalities, thought to include Rochdale's finest, Lisa Stansfield, Simply Red and cast members of Coronation Street'. 'It's a way of getting everyone in the mood,' a spokesman says. Given that the decision is made at 7.20, it will be a short party if the city loses.

When Ossie Ardiles sends his Tottenham team out against Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday, his team will need a result in more ways than one. According to Presswatch Quarterly, a magazine that monitors and rates financial press coverage of quoted companies, Tottenham Hotspur plc ranked third from bottom with -604 points, marginally below Group 4 (-544) but above only Barclays (-637) and British Rail (the runaway loser on -1149 points).

Languishing well below the top companies, Marks & Spencer, Argyll and British Aerospace, Spurs' coverage has clearly suffered from the fall-out from Tottenham's warring double-act, Alan Sugar and Terry Venables. 'Perhaps the only way up is to win some more matches,' a spokesman says.

The TSB is stepping up its attempts to ingratiate itself with parents of football supporting youngsters and manouevre the young fans into one of its early-saver accounts in the process. This summer, TSB is offering to help pre-teen footie fans pay for the kit of their favourite team (all but two of the Premier League sides have changed their strips slightly this season) with money-off vouchers at sports shops. 'We're confident we're becoming the bank for young people,' a spokesman says.