People & Business

Despite sporting a walking-stick and a hobble, the result of a weekend footballing injury, Howard Davies, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), was in his best impish form at the CBI conference in Birmingham yesterday where he was addressing his former colleagues over breakfast.

In particular he could not resist a dirty trick at the expense of the CBI's president, Sir Colin Marshall. Mr Davies explained he had arrived the previous evening half-way through the traditional pre-conference dinner because his train was late, only to discover that Sir Colin was already aware of his movements. "I can't think how the chairman of British Airways got his hands on the Virgin Trains passenger list," quipped the watchdog chairman.

Speaking of the FSA, Mr Davies was also unrepentant about its decision to set up shop not in the Square Mile, but in Canary Wharf, several miles east of the City in London's Docklands. Some City folk grumbled that it was wrong for the FSA, the overall investment regulator, to be so far away from the centre of power and decision making. Not so, said Mr Davies. "London City Airport and a flight to Frankfurt are only10 minutes away."

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. Simon Briscoe, head of research at Nikko Europe, certainly did when he thoughtfully popped out to the shops to buy his family's supply of Guy Fawkes' Night fireworks.

Unfortunately for Mr Briscoe, he had an earlier appointment on the way from work to go and hear Alastair Darling, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, defend the Government's changes to the Bank of England in front of the Treasury Select Committee.

Mr Briscoe was duly searched at the entrance to the House of Commons and had to hand over his fireworks to the police. Gunpowder doesn't seem a very advisable thing to be bringing into the House, particularly on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Happily, Mr Briscoe wasn't hanged, drawn and quartered, despite his seditious criticism of the Government for giving the Bank of England its independence

Hans Tietmeyer, president of the Bundesbank and stern defender of the German mark, will be in London next month to receive a special prize, an award from the German British Forum for his contribution to the relationship between the two countries.

Bizarrely, the award specially cites Herr Tietmeyer's firmness for resisting the Bonn government's plans last May to revalue the Bundesbank's gold reserves. For those with short memories, Mr Tietmeyer's resistance looked at the time like a huge stumbling-block in the steady march towards the single currency. I presume that putting a halt to EMU is what the Forum decided was his contribution to Anglo-German amity. Perhaps they're right.

Let's all pause a moment to sympathise with the likes of Eddie George, Ken Clarke and Rudolph Agnew. British Airways announced yesterday that from 29 March next year it will be completely smoke free.

The decision will place die-hard users of the demon weed such as the above in a tricky position. When they need to fly to global conferences and the like, do they go by BA and suffer the smokers' version of "cold turkey", or do they go by an alternative airline and open themselves up to charges of unpatriotic behaviour?

A BA spokesman points out that 95 per cent of all BA's flights are already smoke free and that they have received many letters since such bans were introduced 10 years ago "from smokers, complementing us on our nice fresh cabins".

Smoking rooms, the curse of the modern office building, were considered as an alternative, he says, "but we didn't like the idea of a very few smokers sitting in a smoke-filled room at the back of a jumbo jet for 10 hours".

And if Rothmans chain-smokers like Eddie George are really worried, the spokesman says they can "store up on nicotine gum and smoking patches".

Simon Martin-Redman, formerly managing director of Ranelagh, the Westminster- based corporate affairs company which provided William Hague with offices during his leadership campaign, has joined DBI, another consultancy, as director responsible for central government.

Martin-Redman worked at Deloitte & Touche for three and a half years, and originally qualified as an accountant in the Royal Navy. He is sceptical that the proposed mega-mergers between accountancy firms will be allowed by the Government. Which would be sad, I think, since the latest name for the merger firm of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand is "P&L".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map