PEOPLE & BUSINESS

Click to follow
The Independent Online
EVERY schoolboy knows that a business wanting to call itself a bank has to get permission from the Bank of England first. So Colin Forsyth, "Governor" of The Sandwich Bank & Crust Company, found himself writing to Eddie George to get the go-ahead for his refreshments firm.

Mr Forsyth, writing from his palatial head office at 16 Market Square, Bicester, Oxfordshire, starts off: "As the fellow Governor of a central bank - moreover, one recently freed from political encumbrance - you will doubtless sympathise with me in my ongoing struggle against the dead hand of bureaucracy....

"In short, it seems that I have to ask clearance from you before I can operate my modest sandwich business under its present banner."

I am happy to say that Steady Eddie granted Mr Forsyth's wish, although the sandwich business will not be allowed to take deposits or trade in derivatives.

Incidentally, Mr Forsyth refers to his satisfied customers as "The Fed". Will Alan Greenspan have to be informed?

The press office at Howard Davies's fledgling Financial Services Authority (FSA) is finally beginning to take shape at Canary Wharf. One spokesman, Peter Parker, has managed to combine his new role with publishing a book this week, In the Shadow of Sharpeville; Apartheid and Criminal Justice.

Mr Parker wrote the book with his wife Joyce Mokhesi-Parker, from whom he is currently separated. Mrs Mokhesi-Parker's brother was one of six people arrested and tried after the Sharpeville riots in South Africa in September 1984, charged with the murder of the Mayor of Sharpeville.

The book, published by Macmillan, is based on letters from the Sharpeville Six, who were sentenced to death and only reprieved 18 hours before they were due to be hanged.

Betty Powell, a former spokeswoman for the SIB, who has been helping out at the FSA press office, said yesterday that they were all very proud of Mr Parker's achievement and had presented him with a bottle of champagne.

Footy-mania is definitely getting out of hand. A City spin doctor was trying to buy a Manchester United tie to present to a business contact this week, and told me yesterday that the club had a three-week waiting list for the dratted things.

Luckily, Soccer Scene of Carnaby Street came up with the goods. Perhaps we need a Secondary Market in Man U paraphernalia.

The latest edition of The Economist has a feature which pokes fun at books about Asia written before the current financial crisis. Books such as The Voice of Asia: Two Leaders Discuss the Coming Century (1995) by Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Shintaro Ishihara, a Japanese nationalist politician, which predicted that the combined GNP of Asia would exceed that of the US and Europe by 2000.

The Economist has fun with such forecasts, now the Asian Tigers have gone phut. Modestly, it does not mention that The Economist's own editor and one-time Japan correspondent, Bill Emmott, has written three books since 1989, all of which managed to cast doubt on the then fashionable image of Japan as an all-conquering threat to western economies.

The last, published in 1993, was titled Japanophobia; The Myths of the Invincible Japan, in which Mr Emmott dismissed the threat of Japan as "an hysterical canard".

BBA Group, the engineering business, has appointed two high-profile non-executive directors, David Rough, a director of Legal & General and Richard Stillwell, executive vice president, industrial specialties at ICI.

Mr Rough has spent a quarter of a century at the centre of the City's fund management community, while there is not much that Mr Stillwell doesn't know about speciality chemicals and international marketing.

Incidentally, how does Vanni Treves find time to be chairman of BBA Group, senior partner of City law firm Macfarlanes, head of Channel Four and chairman of two other companies, as well as adviser to Richard Branson, all at the same time? He tells me on the phone: "It's all down to the art of delegation and mutual support - and I've got three partners here in my office all nodding their heads."

In an effort to show our European partners that British business is ready for the euro, despite the UK not being in the "first wave" of currency harmonisation, the CBI has sent a group of representatives to Brussels via Eurostar. The three-day mission, which embarked yesterday, is led by CBI London chairman Michael Frye and includes London Minister Nick Raynsford.

And to cap it all, the CBI has taken a steel band to play in the main square of Brussels. Should wake up the Eurocrats at the very least.

Simon Weldon has jumped ship from Fidelity International to join Premier Portfolio Managers as the latter's head of institutional sales. Mr Weldon's brief is to develop contacts with discretionary fund managers and independent financial advisers.

Comments