• 17 Mar 2009 at 10:26 AM

They Are Conspiring To Conspire

So here’s the scoop:
A “whistleblower” says that Barclehs is planning to “dodge taxes.” Maybe it is the reporting style in the International Herald Tribune, or the fact that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs representative doesn’t know the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance (one might explain this away by pointing out that the distinction and usage of the two terms is less clear in the United Kingdom) or, perhaps, we have actually gotten to the point where an allegation of tax planning is enough to fire up the investigative machine.

“We have received papers relating to allegations of tax avoidance in the banking industry which we are studying carefully,” HM Revenue & Customs said.
The Guardian newspaper reported on the weekend that the documents reveal the existence of a scheme codenamed Project Knight, which appeared to be an attempt to obtain tax relief in different countries.
The newspaper said the 2007 plan was created by a team within Barclays Capital, a subsidiary of the bank, to legally avoid tax.
Barclays said that the project was voluntarily and fully disclosed to the tax office.

Lesson #1: In this environment, do not give your legal tax avoidance plans secret sounding codenames like “Project Knight.”
Barclays investigated for alleged tax dodging [The International Herald Tribune]

  • 10 Mar 2009 at 10:15 AM

You Will Play With Elizabeth, And You Will Like It

So, that whole thing about us taking your toxic assets and you just moving on with life? Not so much.

Barclays was warned on Monday that its balance sheet would be subject to forensic Treasury examination if it decided to dump toxic assets on the taxpayer, amid signs that the bank could face a higher-than-expected bill for using the government’s asset insurance scheme.
Barclays executives are studying the terms of the Lloyds deal to insure £260bn of assets as they decide whether to formally apply to join the scheme before a March 31 deadline.

“See, this is a ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ sort of situation here. What we really want here is you lending again to who we want you to lend, and you’ve really not been a team player on this point. We haven’t forgotten when you turned your nose up before when we offered our help. No-siree. Some people were a little… put out. Going to “Middle Eastern investors” instead of the British Government? What’s wrong with you, man?”
Barclays warned on toxic asset dumping [The Financial Times]

You sort of knew it was percolating anyhow over in the UK, but it seems to have come to a boil (ahem).

Barclays announced a top-level review of its bonus structure on Monday, amid a growing political clamour in Britain over rewards paid to bankers in the midst of the credit crunch.
Gordon Brown, British prime minister, said he was “angry” that Royal Bank of Scotland – a part-nationalised bank – was preparing to pay out £1bn ($1.5bn) in bonuses. Other ministers urged bankers to forgo their rewards.
The start of the bank bonus season has provoked a wave of anger towards bankers in Britain. On Monday the former bosses of RBS and HBOS will be grilled by MPs on how they led their institutions to the edge of collapse.

After Dick Fuld and the SEC we find it hard to imagine anything would be more entertaining, but we haven’t seen Questions to the Prime Minister in a while.
Barclays to review bonus policy amid clamour [The Financial Times]

The quest to turn lead to gold is an old one, and as such we generally treat claims to have discovered the Philosopher’s Stone with skepticism. Great alchemists as memorable as Sir Isaac Newton have met with ignominious failure (and developed life-long cases of cracked, sulfur smelling, chemically burnt skin to boot). So, when Barclehs announces the discovery of the financial Philosopher’s Stone, we did that little closed-mouthed sniffle-laugh and switched into skim-mode.

Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays PLC, today announces that it has completed the integration of the North American businesses of Lehman Brothers acquired in September 2008. As the final step in the integration, it has strengthened the leadership of the expanded firm by promoting eight senior Managing Directors to its Executive Committee.
Bob Diamond, President, Barclays PLC, said: “The completion of the integration is a significant milestone for our clients, shareholders and employees, four months after announcing the acquisition. Our clients now have the benefit of a fully integrated investment bank able to offer the full array of risk management, financing and advisory products. We are now operating as one firm using our business principles to manage risk, manage costs and stay close to our clients. As we said, we targeted breakeven for the acquired businesses in 2008, and in fact they are already contributing to the bottom line.”

We did, however, notice that grim reality must be setting in. After all, who targets “breakeven” for the discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone?
Barclays Capital Completes Integration of Lehman Brothers; Expands Its Executive Committee [Barclehs AlchemyCapital]

  • 16 Jan 2009 at 12:29 PM

Who Pissed In Barclehs’ Breakfast Cereal Of Choice?

ADRs (NYSE:BCS) are down 32%. We can’t tell, and various “financial journalists” have even thrown up their hands with the “traders could not immediately identify a cause” crap. Aren’t you supposed to say “petro-dollars unwinding their positions” when you have no idea?
Well, we happen to know a better source. You. So who is slipping it to the Barc? Tell us.

  • 16 Sep 2008 at 6:30 PM

And We’re Back

From: redacted
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 3:36 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: So…about Lehman Comm Equipment….well….um….never mind.
We are still here!
Dear friends –
We are delighted to report that some last minute maneuvering has left Lehman’s US operations in the hands of Barclay’s Capital. We are hopeful this will soon extend to our counterparts in Europe and Asia. We expect to be back in business shortly.
Thank you to the many of you that expressed such support for us over the last few days. It has been exceptionally, wonderfully gratifying in this difficult period. As always, please let us know what we can do to help.
Lehman Brothers Wireless Equipment Equity Research