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Dial hard with a vengeance

The Diary hears rumours of how the boss at a big IFA firm used to have a very different take on cold-calling. He would play pranks on passers-by by taking advantage of two phone boxes situated across the road from his office.

On slow days, he would wait until one phone box was occupied, then ring the number of the second phone box. Anyone answering would be told that MI5 wanted to apprehend the person in the neighbouring phone box and would they mind awfully trying to delay him until they could get there.

On one occasion, the police arrived to arrest the unsuspecting “patriot” trapping a distressed “subversive” in his phone box.

The Diary refuses to believe that any such behaviour went on, even in past days when margins were not so tight. But any suggestions as to the identity of the prankster would be more than welcome.

•Cheltenham is not only the frontline of IFA technology warfare, with The Exchange and Assureweb at different ends of the high street, but also the location for one of BBC2&#39s seminal comedy series.

Readers of a certain age will recall having watched Wendy Craig&#39s masterful portrayal of bored housewife Rita in Butterflies. But they may not know that the house used in the series belonged to none other than Chris Owen, group marketing director of The Exchange&#39s parent Marlborough Stirling.

Owen would often come home to find Craig, a very young Nicholas Lyndhurst and Geoffrey Palmer thesping away in his front garden.

While interior shots were done in a London studio, all external shots for the series – which was BBC2&#39s most watched programme in the early 1980s – were done on location in Cheltenham.


Product matters

Skandia is one of the last offices to unveil a full range of single-charged pension plans.Skandia always tries to be innovative and has taken on board some of the FSA&#39s comments by breaking down the fees into three components – its admin charge, a fund management charge and an advice fee.Like many offices, Skandia is […]

Head of FSA consumer panel to join OFT

FSA consumer panel chairman Colin Brown is quitting his role after just two-and-a-half years to take up a post with the Office of Fair Trading.Brown will depart six months earlier than expected on November 1. He will be replaced by Ann Foster, who has been vice-chairman of the panel since January 1, 2001.Brown is best […]

Franchise is given go-ahead for VAT-free fees

A Leeds-based IFA franchise says it has received a concession from Customs & Excise allowing it to charge clients fees without having to hit them with VAT.True Financial Planning says its advice process has been approved by the Finance Unit of Expertise within C&E. It means that as long as advisers adhere specifically to its […]

Holliman joins Threadneedle global equity team

Threadneedle Investments has appointed Andrew Holliman to its Global Equity Team Holliman comes from Baillie Gifford where he was investment manager for North America, responsible for both pension funds and an OEIC. With six years investment experience, he worked in other roles for Baillie Gifford including as an investment analyst for North America and UK […]

Artemis Global Income: Making sense of global markets

The rally in cyclical ‘value’ stocks paused for breath in February, as investors took a more cautious tone and switched their attention back to defensive areas. In this article, Jacob de Tusch-Lec, manager of the Artemis Global Income Fund, explains how he has positioned the portfolio, given the many economic, geopolitical and policy risks that […]


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