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Correspondent&#39s View

The week starts with what will probably be the last really hot weekend of the year so naturally I am booked in for a 10-hour session in the office on Sunday tracing various corporate PRs on their mobiles to knock down/stand up/ref-use to comment on Sunday paper stories.

It is not something to tell your grandchildren about but someone&#39s gotta get Monday&#39s paper out.

Happily, the European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti shoots his mouth off, prematurely welcoming the still non-existent Santander bid for Abbey National.

This is like a lottery win on a quiet day and I sense the relief in HBOS spokesman Shane O&#39Riordain&#39s voice as he has something to get his teeth into instead of stonewalling on whether HBOS is going to bid for Abbey. It was all smoothed over on Monday but as of Sunday, it is a story and that&#39s what matters.

On Monday, I have a sun-drenched lunch date at the Four Seasons Hotel in Canary Wharf with Annabel Brodie-Smith and Jemma Jackson, the dynamic duo who paint the mascara and lipstick on to the public face of the investment trust sector.

They reveal their secret of making money on the stockmarket – follow the cutest fund managers, what else? Currently, top of their hit parade is Chris Turner, the “eccentric” manager of TR Property, and the “theatrical” Nick Train, who runs the Lindsell Train investment trust among others.

It puts a whole new meaning on holding a beauty parade to pick a manager. But, sadly, they decline to tell me who the real bozos are.

Arrive at the office on Tuesday to be told that the pagination for the Indep-endent&#39s Save & Spend section had been cut from 20 pages to 16 as the continuing hot weather has meant a continuation of the advertising doldrums.

This means I have to tell poor Jenne Mannion that the investment feature she was busily preparing would have to be delayed by at least a week.

Freelancing is not an easy occupation these days as Faith Glasgow can testify – only just arranged payment for perfectly good articles she submitted months ago. You need the patience of a saint and the doggedness of a bloodhound and be prepared to live on thin air.

I had a thorough battering from the debt lobby midweek – a GMAC-RFC mortgage breakfast sandwiched (or should that be croissanted?) between lunches with Apacs, the banks&#39 payment trade body, and GE Finance, king of the store card issuers.

Naturally, Apacs&#39 Sandra Quinn and her counterpart at GE Finance Jenny Weller are eager to stress how reasonable their employers are, not charging too much and explaining everything in words of one syllable.

It really makes you wonder why the Office of Fair Trading, the Competition Commission, the Department of Trade & Industry, the FSA and the Financial Ombudsman Service are wasting so much time inquiring into credit and store cards.

Can it be that interest rates are several times Bank of England base rate and not so long ago the chairman of Barclays could not explain Barclaycard&#39s 0 per cent fin-ance deal? No, surely not.

The GMAC breakfast at the House of Commons is a more flesh-eating affair as the mortgage lending hosts were heavily outnumbered by MPs and consumer and media groups, all keen to stick the knife in.

As the gathering is chaired by Treasury select comm-ittee chairman John McFall, lenders were never going to get much of a look in. Jolly kind of GMAC to pay for the coffee and Danish pastries, in fact.

After the little matter of getting the Save & Spend section out on Thursday – usual hold-ups, not too many screams of agony – to end the week, I take myself off to the annual meeting of Capital Pub Company.

It is a charming little outfit owning a dozen traditional boozers in London and the outskirts and I happen to own a few shares through a tax-friendly enterprise investment scheme.

It turns out to be quite an entertaining occasion. Apart from the free beer after the meeting, there is the sight of the directors&#39 faces going white as they find a five-minute rubberstamp exercise turning into an hour&#39s grilling over the rather generous incentive scheme they have drawn up for themselves. They get their way and the shareholders draw blood so the post-coital beer tasted all the better.

William Kay is the personal finance editor of The Independent •”Some of us were playing spot the vegetable.” – Bankhall joint chief executive Paul Hogarth is under-whelmed by his lunch.

Homeowners Friendly Society launched a new suite of products to the armed forces on September 3. Instead of the customary pat on the back and a few drinks down the local, the launch was marked with senior managers ordered to perform a drill by sergeants from the local garrison in Catterick and the NAAFI Financial&#39s Ladies in Red. The Homeowners team were put through their paces to parade military fashion.

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