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As if to prove how hard it can be to build up an investment bank, HSBC has lost Daniel Palmer, promoted last year to global head of capital markets. He was one of the senior executives hired in 2004 as part of the bank’s plan to expand in investment banking. He was hired by John Studzinski, who had known him while they were both at Morgan Stanley but who recently left HSBC for Blackstone. It has been reported that Palmer was hired on a three-year $15m contract but I gather it was a two-year contract worth nearer $8m, which is still not bad. Apparently, he got on well with Stuart Gulliver, who now runs HSBC’s investment bank on his own, so his departure is puzzling. No news on where he’s going.

This afternoon’s big story is John Manzoni’s long-awaited departure from BP. The group said that he had “agreed with the board” that he will step down in August. He was the board member with responsibility for the Texas City refinery which blew up in 2005. He is going to be chief executive of Talisman, the Canadian upstream oil and gas company.

Frits Seegers, who runs Barclays’ retail and commercial bank, sounded remarkably insouciant about RBS’s rival offer for ABN Amro earlier today. Speaking at a meeting in the Gulf attended by our reporter there, Simeon Kerr, he said Barclays would prevail despite the RBS-led consortium offering more, and cash. He said RBS’s bid was too conditional. ”Nothing has changed,” he said. RBS shares are off another 1.8 per cent today.

Odd news from ABN today: it announced a new “transaction committee” to take day-to-day charge of the deal (it’s never too late to get organised) but absent from its members is Rijkman Groenink, the chief executive. Is this significant?

Still in financial services, Kensington Group, the subprime mortgage lender, has agreed to be bought by Investec of South Africa for £283m.

We should be able to have more fun with the annual Deloitte report into football finance, which has just come out. It says profits are set to take off as the new broadcast rights contracts kick in and – interestingly – as the new breed of owner exercises pay restraint. Our reporter Bob Sherwood is going to give it 110.

GCap is halving its dividend but sounds moderately upbeat, at least by its standards. Investors aren’t so sanguine: the shares are off more than 11 per cent. British Energy, on the other hand, has resumed dividend payments after a five-year break. Perhaps more importantly, the government said today it was cutting its stake in British Energy from 64 per cent to 39 per cent. The government has chosen its moment well but does it make British Energy a takeover target?

We also have ho-hum full-year results from Northern Foods today but we should learn more about what the new chief executive, Stefan Barden, has planned for the group. The shares are off 1 per cent.

Dobbies Garden Centres have received a bid approach. CityAM said it was from Apax and that seems to be right, although rumour is Sir Tom Hunter is also watching. He likes garden centres.

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