People and Business: Brunswick says goodbye to its guru

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JOHN WRIGLESWORTH, the country's most widely quoted guru on building societies and mutuality, is parting company with Brunswick just nine months after joining the City spin doctors.

Mr Wriglesworth says his varied interests, which include strategic marketing, writing and broadcasting, didn't really fit in with being a full-time partner at Brunswick. "I agreed with Alan Parker [Brunswick's head] that [these activities] would best be done independently. I will stay on certain accounts as a consultant," he said.

"I have a huge admiration for Brunswick and there has been no falling out."

Mr Wriglesworth resigned as director of strategy and communications at Bradford & Bingley Building Society in September 1997, after three years extolling the society's mutual status, as rivals transformed themselves into banks. Before that he was a building society analyst with UBS, just about the only such analyst in the City.

Bizarrely, Mr Wriglesworth is also a former champion of demutualisation, having drawn up the master plan for Abbey National's conversion into a bank in 1989.

We will probably hear even more of him now he's independent again. Yesterday morning he was on BBC radio, followed by a speaking engagement at a building societies conference in Kensington. "I might even try journalism", he says. Help.

THE CREAM of City financiers were hob-nobbing with Ken Livingstone last night. The bash at the Ironmongers' Hall wasn't to push the newt fancier's claims to being the next Mayor of London, however, but a chance for Britain's film producers to network with potential backers for their next flick.

Over 300 people joined to help launch the Film Finance Forum, chaired by Michael Stoddart of Electra Fleming. The Corporation of London was represented by Judith Mayhew, chairman of the policy and resources committee, and her predecessor in that role, Michael Cassidy, who had a lot to do with setting the Forum up.

The whole thing is very much part of New Labour's drive to grow Britain's creative industries, and luminaries attending the bash included Harriet Hambro of Hambros, Simon Perry of British Screen Finance and Ray Gallagher, director of communications at BSkyB. Bankers included Len Deeley of Chase Manhattan, Gillian Sheldon of Credit Suisse First Boston and Mathias Hink of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.

A TOP BANKER from Merrill Lynch has been appointed the first chairman of the Financial Stability Institute, a body established by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to try and repair today's fractured markets

John G Heimann, 69, still living in his native New York, will retire from Merrill as chairman of global financial institutions on 1 February. The new Institute is the brainchild of the BIS in Switzerland and the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision. Although bringing stability back to world markets may seem like a task worthy of King Canute, Mr Heimann has plenty of weighty credentials, including four years as US Comptroller of the Currency from 1977 to 1981.

I'M IN DANGER of having a completely "virtual" Christmas. The Wellcome Trust launched an interactive on-line Advent Calendar yesterday, with 24 windows opening at the click of a mouse to reveal a seasonal scene (

You can also design and send your own virtual Christmas cards for free with City 2000, an Internet marketing company ( I'm sure someone is working on sending mulled wine and mince pies across the Net.