People & Business: PIA runs into a personal difficulty over pensions

Since the Personal Investment Authority under Colette Bowe is charged with safeguarding the nation's individual finances, how fitting it is that its own staff pension scheme should be one of the most generous in the country.

This happy state of affairs has, however, prompted churlish comments from some observers that perhaps the PIA could turn some of the same energy to sorting out the long-running pensions mis-selling scandal. Even in its internal affairs, however, the PIA appears to be adopting a policy of "Do as I say, not as I do."

Under the new Pensions Act, set up to prevent another Maxwell-style rip-off, companies have to have a number of member-nominated trustees to oversee the company pension fund. There is one exception - if the existing trustees opt out of the provisions of the new Act, they can appoint anyone they want. So far the overwhelming majority of companies have opted for member-nominated trustees.

How strange then that the PIA recently tried to block its own staff from appointing their nominated trustee on to the PIA's pension board. The PIA was forced to back down after protests from staff, but not before some of the "ringleaders" were informally told by management that this would not look good for their career development at the PIA.

I normally think of the Investors Chronicle as an authoritative if staid institution. How shocking then to hear of open mutiny by a writer who occupied the editor's office yesterday morning, sent e-mail to fellow staff on the failings of the management, and was then handcuffed by police and escorted from the building.

Shocked fellow journalists watched as Conor Joyce carried out his own version of passive resistance when management called in the Bill to remove him.

Conor, a 38-year-old reporter, tells me he was leaving the IC at the end of the week anyway to continue his PhD on German art criticism in the early Twentieth Century. "I wanted to complain about the editorial management. IC made an operating profit of pounds 2.5m last year, but as a monopoly it could be making a lot more," he says.

"This was a way of crystallising discontent. When the management asked me to leave [the editor's office] and I refused, they over-reacted. They sacked me, but I wouldn't budge. The police were very professional. It was all very civil." He was led out of the building, and set free outside. He is not expecting any further action from the IC, part of FT Magazines. Phew. It makes a change from writing up Hammerson's interims, I suppose.

Compared to the IC fracas, yesterday's Shell agm was a model of decorum, despite the presence of 10 agitators from Friends of the Earth. The FoE people were backing a motion to improve Shell's environmental monitoring and human rights record. The greens hit a problem, however. Under the company's rules you have to have four shares before you can vote on a motion. The 10 FoE members all possessed a single Shell share so none could vote.

A series of anguished speakersasked if four single shareholders could club together and get a vote. They were told no. Tony Juniper, leading the FoE group, later admitted that their shares paled into insignificance beside the institutional block vote, which rejected the green motion.

This does not mean there were no misgivings on Shell's top table. Mark Moody-Stuart, who is set to succeed John Jennings as chairman in July, says his wife was quite sympathetic to the resolution, which had led to some interesting debates over the breakfast table. In the event, her husband's arguments swayed her and she voted against.

Christopher Heath, the former Barings trader who was once Britain's best paid man, has added a clutch of new signings to his Caspian emerging markets boutique. Derrick Williams joins from Lehman Brothers to become senior global position trader in New York. John Havranek joins from Rapid Data to become head of research in Indonesia, answering to Sean Hughes, head of operations in that country.

Richard Greer, a managing director at Caspian who describes himself as a " bag carrier" for Mr Heath, says the New York appointment is crucial as the US forms Caspian's main client base. Mr Greer first worked for Mr Heath in 1982, and has seen Caspian grow from a bright idea in 1995 to a group employing 250 people today.

Mr Heath has just completed a three-day tour of Asia, is now flying back to London for a three-hour stopover, before going on to New York. He returns to London next week. Mr Greer says it's not just a lust for air miles. "He likes to interview all key appointments to make sure he likes them." If he can keep his eyes open long enough.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine