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A shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing
Having returned from a lovely chilled Easter weekend, my recent run of bad luck continued with a stolen wallet that concluded a night out enjoying some comedy with friends from the industry.

With my mood firmly needing a lift, lunch at Floridita in Soho with the IFDS’s David Moffat went some way to getting me in the mood for my forthcoming Cuban holiday. Asking him “Are you a vegetarian?” was seemingly hilarious, with much amusement at the folly of my question, given Moffat’s rather voluptuous figure.

The day got even better as fellow reporters Nicola, Tanya and myself raced over to the O2 Centre to meet HBOS’s Richard Janes to see The Eagles perform. We surprisingly knew a lot more lyrics than we imagined (most of them in fact) as opposed to the legendary Hotel California, the only one we were expecting to recognise. John Lappin, having flown back straight in from Scotland, sadly missed this song. But great thanks to Richard for supplying us all with refreshments and showing us the ways of the Greenwich night bus system to get us all home in one piece.

The next day, I met the fabulous Angus Duncan for lunch at Chez Gerard, where he convinced me that it was perfectly acceptable to have steak and chips two days on the trot (our pre-Eagles dinner consisted of exactly that, with the exception of Tanya who announced upon sitting down to the table at the Gaucho Grill that she “doesn’t eat beef”. Hmmm…

Standard Life PR Trish Corrigan and national development manager David Caw were dragged over from the coffee shop they had been waiting in to meet me (meetings were looking a little back to back and I had to make up some time) before I raced back across town to meet IFA Sheriar Bradbury, who congratulated me on the unprompted correct pronunciation of his name.

Comedians who struggled with improv on Northern Rock: the one that I requested to do so.

Comedy songs about Rock that I wanted to write down for this Diary page: one but I missed it while powdering my nose.

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
I may be perched on a cliff at the end of the earth – well, Land’s End actually – but the financial world still manages to intrude on rural life. My old friend Jonathan Gaisman, QC, turned up for Easter with his family to occupy the cottage across the muddy path that passes for a road in these parts.

Gaisman, you will recall, saw off Equitable Life when it tried to put the boot into his client, the auditors Ernst & Young, in the High Court a couple of years ago and left the insurer to run off with its tail between its legs. Now he is taking up the cudgels on behalf of Northern Rock shareholders, having been signed up by solicitors for the United Kingdom Shareholders’ Association and hedge fund SRM to fight the expropriation of Rock’s assets in the recent nationalisation. Human rights breaches are being mentioned darkly and the canny QC looks reasonably confident already although there is likely to be a long slog ahead. With the mighty Gaisman on the shareholders’ side, even an old cynic like me thinks they could be in with a chance.

I see that Clive Briault, former managing director, retail markets at the FSA, with whom I was chatting only the other week at the launch of the Thoresen report, has left the regulator in the aftermath of the Rock debacle. Almost simultaneously, I read that John Tiner, Briault’s erstwhile boss at the FSA, is joining New Star as a non-exec. He will sit on the New Star board alongside fellow non-exec Martin Smith, the former deputy chairman, who is also a trustee of the music charity I am working for during my Cornish sojourn. Small world, eh?

Passing by the offices of Worldwide Financial Planning on a trip up country to Truro, I am reminded of MD Peter McGahan’s passion for wraps. Just a day or two ago, on a visit to the supermarket in Penzance, I got a fright when I saw a huge sign saying “Wrap solutions”. Good grief. Surely Morrison’s wasn’t jumping into financial services at the top end? False alarm. It turned out to be just the gift wrapping sections but with everyone from the Post Office to Tesco jumping on the financial services bandwagon these days, you can never be too sure.

Number of paintings by celebrated painter Jeremy Le Grice purchased at a private view in Newlyn on Good Friday: nil. Prices have rocketed, which is great for the four we already have at home but “my painting is my pension” is never going to work as a retirement plan for us because we will never be able to bear to sell them.

Esther Shaw is on holiday Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Nicola York at nicola.york@ telephone: 020 7943 8042


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