Pembroke: Off your bike, Mr Middleton

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The Independent Online
David Rowland, chairman of Lloyd's of London, remarked that his chief executive, Peter Middleton, had taken a tumble recently. 'Peter fell off his motorbike the night before last and got a sore leg, and is likely to give up motorcycling.'

Mr Rowland added he had been told by his doctor to give up jogging because he is too old. Turning to Mr Middleton, he suggested the latter should give up mortorcycling. Mr Middleton responded: 'If you have a limp, you can't get on the thing.' The question remains, however: was he insured?

A young protege of banking guru Steve Davis, consultant to the likes of Salomon Brothers, Barclays, the Norwegian government and the Pru, is causing a stir in the arcane world of financial management consulting.

Simon Thomas, 37, is so sure that fund managers are fed up with endless market research questions about what they want from stockbrokers, custodian banks and so on, that he and a colleague have left Mr Davis, now nearly 60, and set up their his own firm, Thomas Murray.

'Traditional management consultants typically ring round the top 500 pension funds in Europe on behalf of say, Barclays, and ask for information,' Thomas says. 'Three months later they do it on behalf of NatWest and the funds don't want to talk. We want to build up an updateable database so both suppliers and buyers come to us.'

He'd better get his own data in order first. So fast has Thomas Murray been set up, complete with client list, that its founders have not yet decided on their own titles.

Legal & General has invited personal finance journalists to join a training course to become financial sales consultants. The idea is to show the hacks how high the company's new standards are. There's 40 hours homework before the course and an exam at the end.

But to get the journos to agree to do it, L&G has sworn never to reveal their exam results to anyone. We await a leak.

Wyn Ellis, analyst with SG Warburg, issued a circular on the engineering company Meggitt last week, in anticipation of yesterday's results. The circular included a useful disclaimer: 'SG Warburg Securities acts as stockbroker to this company.'

Which came as a surprise to Meggitt, and to Smith New Court, who are in fact Meggitt's brokers. 'It was a printing error,' Mr Ellis said yesterday.

The administrators at British & Commonwealth have come up with another payment for creditors, this time representing pounds 73m from the flotation of Exco the money broker, formerly owned by B&C. Ernst & Young flogged off the remaining 40 per cent stake this summer and have now paid 20p in the pound to B&C Holdings creditors, and 30p in the pound to the creditors of the other division, Group Finance.

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