People & Business

Congratulations to UBS, which carried off the prizes for best sales service and best market-making in the 1997 Extel survey of the smaller companies sector yesterday. UBS may have its problems at the moment, but it still managed to wrest the sales service prize from last year's winners Cazenove, and market-making from Merrill Lynch. Caz still got two prizes, for best dealing ability and corporate activity. Dresdner Kleinwort Benson scored for best research.

The fund managers polled by Extel voted Charterhouse Tilney the most improved brokers in terms of sales service and dealing ability, while Williams de Broe came first for most improved research.

For the first time this year smaller companies themselves had the chance to vote for best brokers' analysts, which went to Philip Meredith and his team at DKB. The companies also voted David Warnock and Aberforth Partners the best fund managers.

Jonathan Fry, the self-assured managing director of Premier Asset Management, had to fly out to Luxembourg this week to reorganise some unit trusts he's just bought from Brewin Dolphin Bell Lawrie, the private client stockbrokers.

The otherwise successful trip was marred by a seemingly endless delay to the flight back from Luxembourg Airport, due to thick fog. Mr Fry was informed, with a certain note of pride by a local, that "the foggiest place in Europe is Luxembourg, and the foggiest place in Luxembourg is the airport".

The Luxemburger explained that the airport had first been built by the Germans during the Second World War. The story goes that when the Germans asked the local authorities where was the best place to build an aerodrome, the locals suggested the foggiest, murkiest part of the Duchy, in the hope that the German planes would subsequently plough into the nearest ditch. How paradoxical that Mr Fry should fall foul of their plotting 50 years later.

Halifax, the recently converted high street leviathan, is attempting to put a bit of fizz into its performance by poaching a marketing director from Pepsi Cola. Philip Hanson will join the former building society next February as general manager, marketing. Mr Hanson is currently managing director, Europe, for Tricon Restaurants International, which until October was part of the Pepsico Group.

The chaps at Cater Allen took a day off banking on Tuesday to deliver a racehorse to an art gallery in Mayfair. Relax, the horse wasn't sawn in half a la Damien Hirst. James Barclay, chairman of the private bank and financial services house, was on hand to supervise the arrival of a life-size bronze racehorse at the Tryon and Swann Gallery. It's the work of Philip Blacker, a former steeplechase jockey and a leading equestrian sculptor.

Mr Blacker rode in nine Grand Nationals so he knows a bit about horse flesh. His sculpture of Red Rum was unveiled at Aintree in 1988 and his statue of Desert Orchid greets arrivals at Kempton Park.

His recent work embraces other members of the animal kingdom, including a giraffe, a pig and a lion with its foot on a tortoise (symbolic, I gather, but I'm not sure of what).

The Economist's collection of forecasts, The World in 1998 has just thumped on to my desk simultaneously with a book by an American business consultant which claims that the vast majority of forecasts are bunk.

William A Sherden's highly entertaining book, The Fortune Sellers: The Big Business of Buying and Selling Predictions, takes a baseball bat to, among other people, economists, market gurus, fund managers and weather forecasters.

"Each year the prediction industry showers us with $200bn in (mostly erroneous) information," writes Mr Sherden. Yet these highly paid people routinely get it wrong, he says. Recent events the "experts" failed to predict include the 1987 stock market crash and its subsequent recovery to record highs; the entry of women into the workforce in massive numbers; the fall of communism in Eastern Europe; the Gulf War; and all recessions, including the crash of 1929.

None of this worries The Economist, which has puts its collective neck on the block with a whole slew of predictions for 1998, including: cheaper gas and electricity bills, with a 6 per cent cut in leccy bills from April; a puritanical Europe-wide ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship; Daimler Benz and Siemens leading a stampede to adopt the euro into their accounts; and the world's population growing by 81 million to 5.93 billion.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower