Click to follow
Aaargh. The time for making New Year's Resolutions is upon us once again. Will those kitchen cupboards finally be replaced?

According to IFA Promotion, the lobby group for independent financial advice, over 15 million people say they will start 1998 with a resolution. Just one in four will keep to it.

The lobby group also estimates that nearly 7 million will make a financial resolution.

IFA Promotion surveyed over 1,000 people and extrapolated the results. Amongst their conclusions is that, of those making a financial resolution, nearly half (2.76m, 41 per cent) will aim to save for a specific item like a car or a holiday, in the year ahead.

More than a quarter (27per cent) said they wanted to spend less money, and a fifth wanted to clear outstanding debts. Other popular resolutions include changing jobs to get more money (13 per cent), investing more money (13 per cent) and paying off the credit card (12 per cent).

The survey also says that Will Carling, former captain of England's rugby side, "wants to become fluent in French and Italian". He also wants "to spend less money on wierd gadgets". Nothing, though, about winning back his place in the Harlequins side, from which he was recently dropped.

Anita Roddick's Body Shop empire is to lose Eric Helyer, a board director and one of the company's key managers over the last 16 years. Eric, 62, will retire on New Year's Eve. He created Body Shop's first warehouse in 1982 at Nairn House in Rustington, West Sussex. Four years later he established another warehouse and a head office for the company at Wick, West Sussex, which was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales.

In 1988 Eric joined the board and supervised a further move by the company to Littlehampton a year later.

Gordon Roddick, husband of Anita and chairman of Body Shop International, paid tribute to Eric: "He joined us when we had fewer than 30 employees, and has been the cornerstone of our manufacturing, purchasing and operational business."

Mr Roddick went on: "As a director of Soapworks in Glasgow, Eric has played a central role in the renovation of the Easterhouse site and the acquisition of plant and machinery for an initiative that has helped breathe new life into one of the most economically marginalised communities in Britain."

While Eric prepares to take it easy, Keith Clark has been elected to a second gruelling three-year term as senior partner of Britain's biggest law firm, Clifford Chance.

Keith, 53, is best known as a global "Mr Fixit", helping countires to reschedule their sovereign debt. He has provided legal advice on debt restructurings for Poland, South Africa, Sudan, and most recently Russia. The Russian rejig invovled debts of $33bn.

Although Keith is a keen traveller, a spokesman insists he will not being flying off to the Far East to help Japan and South Korea sort out their financial woes. The spokesman admitted, however, that: "Obviously debt rescheduling [for those countires] is an option." Sounds like Keith should keep his toothbrush handy, just in case.

Grovelling apologies to Tim Miller and Richard Timberlake, who recently sold 30 per cent of their unit trust business, Portfolio, to Liberty, not Fidelity as I wrote yesterday.

Merrill Lynch has poached Richard Bronk from Credit Agricole Indosuez Group to join the former's European equity strategy team. The investment bank, says Mr Bronk, will "focus on the European Monetary Union and the impact the single currency is expected to have on European equity markets". Racy stuff.

Prior to Credit Agricole Mr Bronk, 37, headed up the European equity team at Barings Asset Management, from 1991 to 1995. His very first job was at the Bank of England as an analyst, followed by a stint at NM Rothschild.

His interests are hill-walking and writing. His first book, slated for publication in mid-summer, is called: Progress and the Invisible Hand; Philosophy and Economics of Human Advance. Sounds like a page-turner.

I thought this Christmas card from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was worth sharing. It's not often that the inhabitants of Elm Street exhibit a sense of humour. On the other hand, this card could have been meant entirely seriously, as an example of the way the SFO uses its controversial `Section Two' powers to require witnesses to provide information. That's nothing to the Inland Revenue's thumbscrews, of course...