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Correspondent’s Week

This week by personal finance reporter at The Daily Telegraph Faith ArcherMonday marked my first day back in the office after a week in New York celebrating an old friend’s wedding.

In my absence, the brand spanking new Telegraph office in Victoria is looking more like a newsroom and less like a building site, with more people and paper, and a lot less “Danger – do not pass” red tape. The glass offices for senior editors have now been built – right next to the personal finance desk. I fear my opportunities for playing Sudoku online have been severely curtailed.

I spent the morning ploughing through emails, at least a hundred of which were from the system administrator, pointing out that my mailbox was “over its size limit”, oblivious to the connection between the two.

My day improved when Prudential delivered a large cake to celebrate its first year in the lifetime mortgage market, sparking the discovery that due to an oversight the new floor plan does not include a desk solely for sharing the goodies sent to business and personal finance. I have fond memories of the day Krispy Kreme donuts launched in the UK.

Tuesday provided welcome relief from a “where are they now?” piece on split-capital investment trusts, with news that Macquarie had bought Thames Water. While developing a personal finance angle, I sang the praise of water meters, allowing people to save money while salving their environmental conscience. After writing about how much small households with high rateable values could save, I was disappointed to discover that it’s unlikely a meter can be fitted in my flat.

Previous articles have inspired me to open a new mini cash individual savings account, buy a shredder, check my contents insurance, switch current accounts, request a pensions forecast and apply for a European Health Insurance Card. My husband has yet to forgive me for the evening, early in my time at the Telegraph, when we were watching TV, and I suddenly turned to him and said: “Have you remortgaged?”. He still hasn’t.

On Wednesday evening, I got to attend a 1930s vintage fashion party in aid of the Rainforest Foundation, courtesy of Friends Provident.

One drawback of the new football-pitch-sized newsroom is that having changed into your little black number in the loos, you no longer just have to walk the gauntlet of the City section, but teeter past the entire Telegraph editorial staff to exit the building. Luckily, the new floor plan means we are just round the corner from such luminaries as fashion director Hilary Alexander, and Celia Walden, the diarist, which means your audience is no longer solely a sea of suits.

At Claridges, the fashion party felt very glamourous, with models Rachel Hunter and Marie Helvin present. But a charity auction was akin to pulling teeth, as a swathe of fashion show attendees sat on their hands. Luckily, the Christie’s auctioneers soon realised that a table of personal finance journalists and PRs were unlikely to bid £7,000 for a jolly in the Maldives, and headed off to hound the UBS table instead.

Thursday is our press day, a feverish time for fact-checking, proof-reading and intense concentration while Ian Cowie writes his comment. A particularly enthusiastic PR team doggedly called four of the Your Money team, pitching the same “cash machines in Blackbird Leys story”, despite it being rejected at every call. Almost up there with the award for “PR who rings during the Budget speech”.

Exciting delivery of the day went to the Alliance Trust, which sent a very large box with a very small bonsai money tree to announce the launch of a couple of new Asia-Pacific investment trusts. Long may it flourish on top of the personal finance partition.

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Paul McMillan, email: or telephone: 020 7970 4776


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