Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Barclay's smash and grab

So, the banking crisis continues. Northern Rock under national control, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae likewise and now Lehman. Times are tough out there and only now do I realise quite how bad it is when my son rings me to ask whether to take his cash out of his bank account. Do not be silly I say. HBOS is as safe as houses - realising too late that this is not an appropriate turn of phrase in the current sitution.

However, there is another angle on this - some banks are looking for a killing - and wasn't it a surprise when the Barclay's deal to purchase Lehman's fell through at the 59th minute of the eleventh hour? The bank duly collapses and guess who is there to pick up the pieces at basement prices. All together now - Barclay's!!!

Now devotees of this blog - and I now know for certain there are some of you out there - would never accuse me of cynicism. However, writing down assets and posting huge losses this year might look like a good move to the bonus starved bank executives. Next year the reversal in fortunes could be dramatic - indeed anything pushed so low has only one way to go and that is up. Assets with unrealisticly low values can, in a trice, be revalued. This is known as 'marking to market' (the fiddle of choice for the dodgy accountant) and suddenly its payolla time again.

So, big bonuses next year in the banking sector? Remember you read it here first.

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