Pembroke: Oh, to be an insurance man

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The Independent Online
Thumbing through the pathfinder prospectus from Independent Insurance yesterday, Pembroke was struck by the section on directors' service agreements and emoluments.

In addition to an annual salary of pounds 228,000 (plus three-year notice period), Michael Bright, chief executive, gets all his personal telephone calls paid, and a car, for which the company meets all the running costs. Nothing unusual about that, you might think - it's the usual fat package that company top brass get.

But why does the company undertake to meet the school and university costs of Mr Bright's children plus any 'reasonable' university accommodation costs? And why does he get pounds 5,875 home entertainment allowance (three other directors each get pounds 3,250 and their offsprings' school and university costs paid too). 'If you ask him what he does in his spare time, he'll tell you he's an insurance man,' said a company spokesman yesterday, implying that working dinner parties were de rigueur chez Bright.

Why doesn't he put it on expenses, you may ask? And, why, with a salary of pounds 228,000, doesn't he pay for his children's education out of his own pocket rather than the pockets of his future shareholders?

The annual meeting of the National Federation of Independent Financial Advisers should be a giggle now they have landed Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, as guest speaker.

Mr Hislop will give a half-hour talk at the National Motorcycle museum in Birmingham at the end of the month. We are told his technique is to do some research on his audience and tailor his speech accordingly. 'We expect there to be quite a few jokes about Maxwell and pensions,' a spokesman says.

Mr Hislop does not come cheap. His fee, the financial group says, is pounds 3,000 for the 30 minutes. 'We tried to get Jasper Carrott but he was pounds 20,000.'

Goldman Sachs, the American investment bank and securities house, has landed itself quite a catch. It announced yesterday that it had recruited Gerald Corrigan, who recently retired as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Mr Corrigan, who will join the bank in January, will have a full-time role, mainly involved in 'strategic and risk analysis' and 'relationship building'.

Small listed companies with big ambitions will be jostling for the ears of fund managers tomorrow at the company investor show at the Barbican in London. Forty would-be growth stocks, covering sectors from marine equipment to virtual reality, will be hoping to impress the man from the Pru, or Postel, so they can expand their spread of institutional investors.

Anglo-Eastern Plantations is one of the more quirky exhibitors. Floated in 1985, the company owns 10,000 hectares in Sumatra, where it grows palm and rubber trees. Rollo Barnes, Anglo-Eastern's chief executive, will not exactly be tapping a rubber tree at the show, but says he will be bringing along some raw latex for the City folk to get their hands on.

Jeff Banks, the jaunty presenter of The Clothes Show fashion programme on BBC1, is moving into the wedding business. In a deal announced yesterday, the diddy designer is to start making wedding dresses for Cupid, the company that owns the Pronuptia wedding stores as well as Youngs, the rent-a-tux shops.

The move down the aisle represents something of a departure for Mr Banks, who has hitherto stuck to the more basic knitting of men's and women's wear.

We understand Banks's frocks will be competitively priced ( pounds 250 to pounds 595) and available from next May.

The news that Budgens is to expand its chain of Penny Market discount stores in the UK prompts questions on whether the company will adopt some of the same product names as Penny Markt, the German chain run by Budgens' main German shareholder.

In the 1,400 German stores we learn that the best-selling brand of toilet roll is called Happy Ending.

(Photograph omitted)