The City’s historical ties with the Hanseatic League were high on the agenda during the weekend’s visit to Germany by the Lord Mayor of London. In Hamburg, Sir Michael Savory attended the revival by the local Handelskammer (Chamber of Trade) of its Morgensprache, a morning meeting of merchants.
The tradition – minus Saturday’s accompanying rock concert – harks back to the Steelyard, on the site of Cannon Street station, London base of Hanse merchants from the 12th century on. Savory plans to unveil a plaque in Steelyard Passage in September. The Hamburg revival was also inspired partly by the Silent Ceremony, the installation of each Lord Mayor.
Focusing on shipping and maritime services, the party – which went on to Lübeck and Oslo – received expert commentary during its port visit from Sheriff David Cobb, former chairman of James Fisher Sons.
Savory’s least expected moment came on Sunday at the Anglican church of St Thomas à Becket, where a children’s choir added a new verse to an old hymn: “He’s got the Lord Mayor of London in his hands.”
He owns the road
Bob Diamond has already amassed £49m of Barclays shares and could earn a further £15.25m this year if he hits performance targets. His contract reveals that he receives £22,000 of benefits such as medical care, including a £5,500 car allowance – even though he does not have a car.
SG Corporate and Investment Banking’s summer press party will include a private view of the Design Museum exhibition “Shapes and Shapers – the Evolution of the Surfboard”. After the tiff over the museum’s mission between director Alice Rawsthorn and James Dyson, former chairman of its trustees, it’s clearly back to business as usual.
The internet’s a wonderful thing. Through a website such as BT’s, not only can you get UK telephone listings without paying, you also can click through to directory inquiries sites in other countries.
But treat with caution what you find on AT&T’s US site. It includes a “reverse listings” feature – enter the telephone number to find name and address – operated by Anywho, AT&T’s online directory.
Some entries, however, are badly wrong. Most of the residents of one postal district in Tampa, Florida, for example, have been virtually transported to another town in another county that doesn’t even have the same area code.
It’s as if a resident of Leeds was listed with the correct name, street address and telephone number but located in Manchester with a Manchester postal code.
Imagine the potential damage from botched credit searches alone.
When customers contact AT&T to complain, they’re told that it doesn’t know how to get in touch with Anywho (which it developed and owns). AT&T tries to blame the error on Verizon, the local service provider, even though its bills somehow always make it to the right addresses.
Top of the world
Richard Staite, the SG Securities analyst climbing Everest from the north side (Mudlark, May 21), reached the summit on Saturday. He is raising money for Seeing is Believing, Standard Chartered’s campaign to restore sight to 1m people.
Redialling the past
It doesn’t sound much, but a £24,000 profit in six weeks could signal a revival for PNC Telecom, a tiddler in turmoil for several years.
PNC, originally Personal Number Company, has been riven by boardroom strife as directors went out and in through revolving doors.
Yesterday it reported a £458,000 pre-tax loss for the year to March 31, but it made a five-figure profit in the six weeks after April 1.
Its future is being built on an idea from the past. Joseph Case was one of the founders of KJC, a mobile phone distributor for which PNC agreed in 2000 to pay up to £62.5m in cash and shares; three years later, it sold all its operating businesses for £2m, plus the assumption of liabilities.
Case has returned to create a similar business. “We’re looking to try to replicate KJC in due course,” said Leo Knifton, PNC’s only other director. “It’s a building exercise; we don’t believe in buying.”
Sir David Tweedie, International Accounting Standards Board chairman, doesn’t know if he will be asked to stay when his term expires next year.
If not, he might consider the after-dinner circuit, where his wit should go down well, and he can re-use his sizeable fund of jokes. One of his newer ones is about advisers.
Tweedie said he had to call one in when he moved into a new house near Edinburgh. In the garden was a large plant that looked a bit like parsley.
But his neighbours, based on prejudice about the previous owners, said it was cannabis. A horticulturist summoned by Tweedie couldn’t name the plant either, but advised: “Pick it, dry it, smoke it . . . and if you’re still worried about it, it’s parsley.”