Reports that Crédit Suisse and Union Bank of Switzerland are considering a merger have been downplayed by observers. A merger would create the world's biggest bank outside Japan. As FX Week went to press no formal bid had been made and sources in Zurich put the chances of a deal going through at less than 50 per cent, given the anti-trust and cultural concerns a merger would raise. Top UBS officials including chief executive Mathis Cabiallavetta say that the bank is open to "new ideas" but was under "no- pressure" to merge.

Exco's chief executive Peter Edge has been hit in the pocket by the international foreign exchange and money markets broking company's downturn in fortunes (FXW, March 25). The company's full set of accounts, now published, shows that in 1995 he earned £275,000 and no bonus, compared to a total of £498,000 the previous year. Marcel Wolf, a Swiss Exco director, had his take home pay cut to £352,000 from £545,000, although he was generously provided for by an increase in pension contributions from £93,000 to £257,000. Other directors pensions were frozen. Finance director Kim Taylor was one of only two directors to get a bonus.

Eight of 13 traders passed the ACI course in the U.S., reports Forex USA president Matt Lifson. They will be honoured at Forex USA's April 18 general meeting in New York and later will be presented with diplomas at a ceremony at the Federal Reserve Bank.

United Asset Management, the 14th largest asset management company in the U.S., announced plans to buy OSV Partners, which oversees roughly $1 billion in assets and specialises in currency risk management.

The second annual FX billiards tournament co-sponsored by FX Week drew about 100 traders this year. First place in the eight ball competition went to Rick Brown of Scotia Capital Markets, while Daniel Chin of Sakura Bank took second place. In snooker doubles, James Brunn of Banque Française du Commerce Exterieur and Billy Heine of Den Danske took first place, while Dan Kong and Cameron Small of Smith Barney took second. First-place winners received theatre tickets and those in second got dinner for two, while finalists took home bottles of cheer. The event, held at the New York Athletic Club, was co-sponsored with Citicorp Dealing Resources, DocuPro F/X Alert and MCM CurencyWatch.

Allegedly overheard in a City restaurant (as told by a Prebon source): A Tullett & Tokyo FX broker looks at a restaurant menu and asks the head waiter, "What's venison?" "It's deer, sir," replies the waiter.

"Don't you tell me it's dear," shouts the FX broker. "I've got a fistful of money."

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