Pembroke: Teddy reclaims title as City's oldest broker

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THE ITEM in this column last week about Jimmy Herbert, the oldest stockbroker in town, has caused a flurry of letters of the 'oh no he's not' variety. 'Jimmy the Herb', you may recall, recently celebrated his 83rd birthday and still gets to his desk at Banston & Gothard, the brokers, at 7.30 every morning.

One letter nominates Michael Nelson, 87, as the oldest working broker. Previously with Simon & Coates, which was taken over by Chase Manhattan, he now works at Charterhouse Tilney.

But older still is Teddy Mautner, 88, who started in the City in 1922 on the princely salary of pounds 60 a year. He joined Williams de Broe in 1954 but now only goes in on Fridays. A keen photographer and lover of poetry, he lives next door to the actor Donald Sinden. Last year he jetted off to Australia, to see his neighbour perform, simply because he hadn't been to the country and thought it would be a nice idea.

The charming Jimmy Herbert insists that the claim to be the oldest does not come from him. But if the Stock Exchange was still a member club, Mr Herbert would be the oldest - unless of course, someone out there knows different.

AT ONE COMPANY, stressed-out staff are sifting lentils through their fingers. At another they are holding 'events', rather than meetings, so staff can relate to each other in a right-on Nineties way. According to the February issue of Cosmopolitan this is career power at the progressive, successful organisation.

The lentil sifters are at Colourings, the cosmetics arm of, you've guessed it, Anita Roddick's Body Shop, where staff crossing the threshold walk under the slogan 'Life's not Great. It's brilliant.' Work here seems a real lark. If things in the office are getting grim, a game called 'secret pals' springs into operation. This implausible corporate wheeze involves people picking colleagues' names out of a hat and then acting as fairy godmother. This means doing things like leaving a box of chocolates on their desk if they're looking grumpy. Can't see this catching on at Hanson and ICI.

(Photograph omitted)

WORKERS IN A Sunderland plant have their own 'oh no they're not' story. Much was made last week of the closure of the Bryant and May matches factory in Liverpool. 'Lights go out on British match industry,' headlines boomed, lamenting the end of the British match-making industry.

Philip Cronin, managing director of Edward Thompson Group, was not happy. 'We are proud to announce that matches have been made in Sunderland for over 12 years,' he said. Mr Cronin admits that his subsidiary, Matchmakers International, only makes book matches for hotels and restaurants, but what the heck, they're matches aren't they? With 28 workers and sales of pounds 1m Mr Cronin says he is taking on the overseas competitors. 'We're not going to replace Bryant and May, but we're making money and providing jobs.'

ONE OF THE more unusual train cancellation notices at Paddington station over the weekend concerned the 18.25 to Cardiff. The train was cancelled, BR said, 'due to shortage of serviceable high-speed train sets'. Perhaps Hornby could chip in with a few replacements.

MARKET RESEARCHERS seem to have a language all their own. One company doing some work for Mercury Communcations asks for our views on the company covering subjects such as corporate description, competitive situation and SWOT analysis. What analysis? Apparently this stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

HAVING MADE a mint out of recession receiverships, accountancy practices are now looking to the upturn with equal optimism.

Price Waterhouse has just issued a booklet, 'Surviving the recovery', offering its partners skilled in finance, IT and management. Such advice, PW says, will 'help companies achieve a balance between organic and acquisitive growth while managing the risks associated with a period of expansion following recession.'

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