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At the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce it seems you cannot have your cake and decorate it any old way you like. The bank has standards - "Cake Standards," as outlined last May in a memo about brand standards.

Cake, it seems, is an important part of a bank branch opening, and judging by the memo's "Don'ts" examples, the decorating in the past has been varied, with colours such as pinks and yellows, and handwritten inscriptions like a perky "Congratulations." A bank spokesman explained: "With 40 branch openings this year - one every six business days - as well as ongoing branch anniversaries throughout our network of more than 1,000 branches, we have consistent standards that apply to all aspects of new branch openings and anniversaries."

The memo makes clear the "Do's" of bank cakes, most importantly that the red-and-gold brand colours be used, as well as the firm's logo and, in the best of all possible worlds, the official CIBC tagline "For what matters." Indeed, what matters to the brand gurus at the bank is that branches use "white trim or design. First preference for cake shape is square or rectangle to complement the logo," and the exact bank logo. Oh, and in fine banking style, the branches are reminded not to use a disclaimer on their cakes.

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GOT MY OWN JET, THANKS

Members of Toronto's chattering class recently received their subscription invitations to next year's Grano Salon Speakers dinners, which will explore the notion of risk. "If we have learned anything from the financial upheaval, it is to cultivate a renewed appreciation of risk," reads the invite.

Scheduled to speak to a dinner crowd of about 100 over four dates in the fall and winter are Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan; British writer Martin Amis; geopolitical guru Francis Fukuyama; and Hank Greenberg, former chairman and CEO of AIG.

Series co-founder and co-organizer Rudyard Griffiths tells us that while arranging the details of Mr. Greenberg's talk he told the business bigwig's executive assistant that the organizers would be happy to fly Mr. Greenberg to Toronto on business class using the points provided by Aeroplan, the travel partner to the Grano Series. "She got back to me immediately by e-mail and indicated that while Mr. Greenberg appreciated our offer, his private jet would be landing mid-afternoon in Toronto on the day of his talk and we should meet him at the Sky Service terminal," Mr. Griffiths says. Mr. Greenberg is the first and the only speaker in the series' six-year history to arrive in such style, somehow appropriate given his corporate alma mater.

pbest@globeandmail.com

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