Pembroke: Pussy cat offer on Jaguars

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The Independent Online
WE'VE SEEN the success of the Books Etc money-back guarantee, which promised a full refund if you'd didn't like the plot. But who would have thought you would be able to pull the same stunt with a pounds 30,000 Jag?

That is the deal announced by Stratstone, the Jaguar dealership owned by the Pendragon group. Buy any model - from the basic pounds 28,000 XJ6 up to the swanky pounds 45,000 XJS and if you don't like it, you can get your money back as long as it is within 30 days. 'It doesn't matter what the reason is - it could be that you don't like the colour, or the wife doesn't like the seats - we'll still take it back,' says Kevin Quigg, Stratstone's operations director.

The brainwave, which has already been tried by mass-market British manufacturers such as Rover, follows the 'Dream Guarantee' in the United states where 2,500 Jaguars were sold between February and May (only 32 were returned).

The British scheme - which runs until next September - has got off to a good start. Stratstone sold one car over the phone within hours of sending out its first leaflets on Friday.

CITY ANALYSTS are a competitive bunch. On the same day that Extel announced the results of its annual investment analysts' survey, eight teams extended the battle after working hours in a quiz night sponsored by Allied-Lyons.

S G Warburg, which topped the Extel rankings, could only come third behind the joint winners, Hoare Govett and a team representing Beefeater Gin.

James Capel, which came second overall in the Extel rankings had a rum night. They could only manage fifth place in the quiz and couldn't even spell their name right. They entered themselves as James Capal.

WHAT A difference a year makes. At least it has to Bernie Smith, a former Mississippi bank president. A year after being named man of the year by his local chamber of commerce, he admitted to a judge last week that he had defrauded his parents, friends and a youth group of dollars 2.4m.

Smith, a financial planner, faces up to 25 years in prison and a dollars 1.25m fine for milking 16 friends and associates of an estimated dollars 2.4m over five years through his investment firm.

'The victims are victims only because they trusted me, because they were willing to accept my word,' Smith said in a statement in which he pleaded guilty to five federal mail fraud charges.

The fraud was uncovered in late 1992 when some of his clients demanded an accounting. Smith, at one point had also considered standing as mayor.

THE ACTUARIAL profession, a calling usually described by sneering cynics who can't count as a career for those who find accountancy too exciting, was crowing about its ancient origins last week.

Two of the august bodies representing the bean-counting brigade were announcing the profession to be 250 years old. It all started back in 1743 when a bunch of Scottish ministers started counting dead people. Apparently they were concerned to provide for the widows and orphans of Scottish ministers, and began calculating mortality rates so they could adjust the cash flow of their funds.

They forecast that by 1765 the fund would stand at pounds 58,348/0s/8d. Boringly, when the date arrived, they were only a pound out.

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