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The Independent Online
Paul Manduca, chief executive of Threadneedle Asset Management and one of the City's fund management grandees, is to chair the committee overseeing a new investment product which will track the FTSE 100 index.

The Offering Circular for the new securities, called FTSE 100 Trains, was launched yesterday. The intriguing name derives from Traded Index Securities. Perhaps the marketing people at HSBC James Capel, who dreamt the idea up, should sell them under the slogan: "They'll go like a train." Or something like that.

Mr Manduca says: "They will be very tradeable bits of paper, buyable in the market. They're designed for small and medium-sized institutions who want a quick exposure to the FTSE."

The Threadneedle boss has been asked to act as an independent chairman for the new scheme. As well as heading Threadneedle, part of the BAT empire, he is a director of a Touce Remnant investment trust and sits on various "great and the good" committees, including the University Superannuation Scheme.

So, what is Threadneedle's view of the market at the moment? Mr Manduca says:"We are cautious about the US and UK markets, although a crash is not imminent. The danger is on the downside."

Nicholas Soames, the Bunteresque former Minister for the Armed Forces, has been appointed a non-executive director of Network Technology, a hi- tech start-up he discovered on a constituency visit before the May election.

Network makes widgets which go into printing machines and which enable computers to talk to printers and vice versa. The company, based in Burgess Hill, Sussex, floated on AIM last year and supplies Japanese printing machine-makers.

When I phoned Mr Soames's office yesterday I was told he was in a helicopter on his way to see the Amber Foundation, a youth employment charity of which he is a trustee, based in a stately home near Marlborough. He had left a statement, however, saying: "I am delighted to be appointed as a non-executive director of Network Technology. They are a company at the forefront of their industry in one of the most exciting fields of technology and enterprise."

Ray Kelvin, chief executive and founder of London-based casual shirt makers Ted Baker, got pretty effusive yesterday about the future of the company as he announced its first post-flotation results. Not surprising, perhaps, since he trousered a pounds 3m payment and sold pounds 13m worth of shares during the float 10 weeks ago.

Speaking about the company's trademark casual shirt, called the Ted, Mr Kelvin said: "Men buy the Ted. They don't want to call it a shirt. Ted has a lot of personality, humour and mystery."

Then Mr Kelvin said: "You never see Ted." Eh? "Does that mean you are the brand?" I asked him.

"I'm the closest one to him," the by now transported Mr Kelvin replied. The company also sells a formal range of men's shirts, the Edward Baker range. "He [Edward] doesn't like to be called Ted," Mr Kelvin said. I'll make sure I won't.

The people over at City law firm Nicholson Graham & Jones have been busy bees. Partner Alan Langleben has been advising Dame Shirley Porter in her action against District Auditor John Magill, while Piers Coleman has been advising Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten on the Winchester election case. The firm, which merged with West End solicitors Brecher & Co, also represents the property developers Godfrey Bradman and Gerald Ronson.

Puce-faced apologies to Richard Branson and Lord Puttnam, two members of the Government's taskforce for the creative industries. I wrote yesterday that the great retailer and the movie mogul failed to attend the launch. In fact they were at the launch meeting, just not at the press briefing. The nation can breathe again.

Christopher Hampson, chairman of RMC Group, is joining what used to be British Gas, now called BG, as a non-executive director. Canadian by birth, Mr Hampson spent almost all his working life with ICI and retired from the group three years ago. He is non-executive chairman of RMC and a former chairman of Yorkshire Electricity Group. He also sits on the board of the UK Government Environmental Agency.

"I'm picking up a Tricorder reading, Captain," is a catchphrase from Star Trek. I had not realised until yesterday, however, that there is a British company called Tricorder Technology which makes 3D digital scanners for use with personal computers. And yes, they took the name from the TV show. Three non-executive directors of the company have been appointed to high-profile posts in other companies.

Dr Robert Hawley, who has just retired as chief executive of British Energy, has been appointed chairman of the Council of Durham University. Dr John Forrest has joined the main board of venture capital group 3i and Anne Glover has co-founded Amadeus, a venture capital fund whose investors include Microsoft. That's it - beam me up.

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