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Opinion

Did Spencer's buy mark punt on UK poll?

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With the takeover battle for UK retailer Marks & Spencer gathering momentum, the Financial Services Authority is keen to find out who knew what when they bought M&S shares before Philip Green announced a bid.

One of those likely to be interviewed by the FSA is Michael Spencer, chief executive of interdealer broker Icap. Spencer says he knew nothing of Green?s intentions when he bought £5.5 million-worth of M&S shares. So how are we to explain Spencer?s prescience? At Icap?s recent ?Utilising Technology to Enhance Liquidity? conference in London, joint chairman of Investec Asset Management and politician Howard Flight spoke about UK tax policy and its impact on the economy.

Flight began his speech with an anecdote about his early attempts to become an MP. Realizing that his City uniform of expensive pinstripe suit and showy cufflinks wouldn?t go down well with some of the electorate, Flight asked his wife to a find a more voter-friendly outfit. She picked up a modest M&S

jacket and trousers and Flight duly won his seat.

With a UK general election likely next year, could Spencer have taken a punt on M&S shares rising on the back of increased sales to candidates? Stranger things have happened.

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