PEOPLE & BUSINESS

THE FALL-OUT from the "merger" between SBC and UBS continued yesterday with nearly a score of UBS people getting jobs at two rival investment banks.

Panmure Gordon snapped up a dozen UBS staff, mostly equity traders, led by Richard Hine and Colin Grimwood. Panmure's head of trading Steven Dalby also recruited two senior institutional salesmen, Gordon Richards and Michael Hoffmann.

On the same day NatWest Securities, the European equities arm of NatWest Markets, hired seven analysts from UBS, including Richard Hannah and Matthew O'Keeffe, who have been ranked number one and number two transport analysts respectively for the past five years. NatWest also hired two analysts and two corporate brokers from other banks.

But the journey for the ex-UBS people won't end there. These individuals recruited by NatWest "will be part of the European cash equities businesses being sold to Bankers Trust", according to the bank. The sale should be completed during the second quarter of this year.

The other UBS refugees are Andrew Beale, who analyses telecoms companies, Ian Turner, who covers the UK electricity sector, Richard Franklin on specialist sales for utilities, and Barry Haddon on media.

NatWest has also hired Christian Stark from UBS in Switzerland to research medium-sized Swiss companies. Lesley Watkins and Nicola Stevens join NatWest in the UK from UBS's corporate broking side. And finally Tim Owen joins from HSBC James Capel as a food manufacturing analyst, and Marc Duschenes recently joined from BZW to work on UK food retail research.

PROPERTY agents Harman Healy are putting an interesting site up for sale in their next auction on 1 April. The 181-acre site in Greenwich, London, contains "a temporary structure currently under construction for use as an exhibition hall."

The firm, quoted in Estates Gazette magazine, says possible future uses for the hall include "storage of white elephants, a red herring pickling plant, a `poppadome' factory or a retirement home for ex-Cabinet ministers." Harman Healy says the property is let to a Mr P Mandelson on a short lease ending in December 2001.

Jonathan Radgick, Harman Healy's auctioneer, says the last time the firm held an auction on 1 April was roughly 10 years ago, when Ronald Reagan was President. "We put the White House in our catalogue, with R Reagan on a regulated tenancy." They got a few requests for more information back then, and Mr Radgick wouldn't be surprised if they got some enquiries about the dome this April.

To mark their last April Fool's Day spoof they baked a huge cake in the shape of the White House and auctioned it off for charity. "Unfortunately the dome isn't very conducive to cakes," said Mr Radgick. "It's the pylons. So this time we've written to the Millennium Dome Experience Company asking for a couple of free guided tours around the dome."

The catalogue entry for the dome site concludes with a caution, a particularly suitable one in the week of the Budget speech: "Purchasers are warned that the register of contaminated land contains records of high levels of natural gases in connection with the site, much of which emanates from the Westminster area."

YESTERDAY'S press conference for Pearson's results kicked off with a corporate video featuring Richard Lambert, editor of the Financial Times, appearing as a talking head on several American TV shows. Mr Lambert is of course spearheading the FT's expansion in the US from their offices in New York.

After the video finished, Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, wryly remarked that it showed that Pearson had spent pounds 100m "making Richard Lambert a TV star". When a journalist asked whether FT Television would launch another channel in order to capitalise on Mr Lambert's obvious broadcasting talents, Ms Scardino declared: "What a horrible thought."

She then followed up: "No. We can make much more money hiring him out to all the other channels."

SAM JAFFA, senior spokesperson for Price Waterhouse, has had a spot of bother with his book, Safe as Houses, a short history of financial scandals published a year ago.

The affable Mr Jaffa admits: "The publishers, Robson Books, told me that the phrase `safe as houses' doesn't mean anything to Americans. So the parperback version of the book is going to be called Great Financial Scandals."

That's more like it. Although you would have thought Mr Jaffa, who spent two years in the US as a BBC correspondent, would have been more au fait with American use of English. "Obviously I didn't spend long enough," admits the ever- modest author.

J SAINSBURY has appointed Sir George Bull, the chairman of Diageo and former group chief executive of Grand Metropolitan, as deputy chairman with effect from April 20.

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