Swiss banking culture affects Warburg's results

City Diary

I received a startling phone call from SBC Warburg's press office in London yesterday: "Just to say that SBC Warburg's results are out, but there won't be any separate breakdown of Warburg's activities, either in the figures or on the phone."

Um, right. It seems like only yesterday when SG Warburg's old annual report would slam on to the desk, a good half an inch thick. Before it was taken over by Marcel Ospel and his Swiss gnomes, Warburg's results were illustrated by countless graphs and pages of script. No longer. Warburg merited just three lines in SBC's half-year results announcement.

It is as if the whole history of financial reporting by investment banks is going into reverse, with less and less being revealed. Perhaps next year SBC's executive chairman in the UK, Hans de Gier, will be denying it owns a British bank at all.

Everyone knows what a mess the British phone system has got into over the spiralling number of phone numbers required. One suggestion has been to give everyone their own portable number which they can take with them whenever they move.

The British Chambers of Commerce, no less, expected to be able to do just this when it moved its headquarters recently just 400 yards down Victoria Street in London to new offices.

BT said no; the BCC would have to get new numbers. It had been in Westminster, now it was in Pimlico, a different phone district.

In vain did the BCC protest that Pimlico is itself in Westminster. Now that's how to keep customers happy.

A colleague has just received an exciting brochure inviting him to "the global business event of the century," a seminar featuring Tom "Peter Principle" Peters, Dr Stephen "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" Covey and Peter "Fifth Discipline" Senge, three of the biggest selling business authors ever.

This sounds great, thought my colleague. An opportunity to meet these prophets face to face and discuss ideas with them. Until he read the small print: "A world-wide interactive satellite seminar..."

At the back of the four-page brochure it transpires that in order to enjoy this event, beamed to 40 nations and 30,000 people, you will have to attend the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. The three gurus will be beamed by satellite from Lexington, Kentucky, to discuss "how to make your team UNSTOPPABLE!"

Prices start at pounds 233.83 per person. I think I'll borrow the books from the library.

Peter Jarvis, group chief executive of Whitbread, must be pleased as punch. His Mackeson Stout has just won gold medals at the World Beer Cup and the World Beer Championships.

So forget Atlanta. The 200-year-old recipe, brewed in Samlesbury, Lancashire, has succeeded where so many athletes failed, and has just been launched in the US.

In contrast to the mighty Guinness, Mackeson tastes quite sweet, which Mike Morris, Whitbread's export director, thinks is an advantage: "Sweet drinks are popular in a number of diverse countries and Mackeson provides a very full flavour which is enjoyed around the world." Make mine a pint.

Granada recently unveiled proposals for a series of new television programmes, including one on cooking. Not to be outdone, Carlton then trumpeted its own cooking programmes to be hosted by well-known telly chefs. Granada has hit back, saying: "It's a useful thing to own Forte, which employs Nico of Chez Nico fame and Marco Pierre White."

Analysts take notice. Obviously there were synergies between Granada and Forte, after all. Hang on. Granada also owns Little Chef and Happy Eater. "And now, a new series on fried breakfasts..."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Life and Style
fashionOne man takes the hipster trend to the next level
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'