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Monday, 20 July 2009

You read it here first, #3

News from the Sunday papers that "Dodger" Jenkins is planning to leave Barclays. As often mentioned here, Jenkins Structured Capital Markets Avoidance Schemes'R'Us have long bolstered the Barclays profit and loss statements to the extent that one might have often questioned the viability of the rest of Barclays once the SCM profits were substracted. The Revenue have gradually encroached upon the operations of Barclays and other banks and brokers who peddled such schemes.

One of the more curious pieces of tax legislation bought in by the Labour government was a Tonnage Tax scheme which allowed shipping companies to operate from the UK and opt out of the standard corporation tax on profits, by paying a flat annual fee based on the tonnage of their ships and agreeing to train some cadets, but snce nt all shipping cmpanies always had cadets for training the companies could pay an annual fee instead, known as Payment In Lieu of Training or PILOT. It would be nice to think that the inspiration for this came from Jenkins and his team at Barclays to whom for years the bank made payments in lieu of taxes. Jenkins accumulated hundreds of millions, but this only came about because his team aranged transactions that saved the bank thousands of millions in taxes.

One might have questioned the wisdom of paying so much when the main factor in the deal was the bank's own taxable profits, and the transactions were pretty much well known between tax practitioners, but obviously the bank's directors weren't that smart, or they wanted to keep the tax savings flowing in and though that the cash pai to Jenkins and his team was a price worth paying.

Now it seems that Jenkins no longer considers that the game is worth playing, and is moving out to do business with his new best friends from Qatar. More than likely Barclays realises that it will not be making much more out of the tax man, either for its own account or for its clients. The required level of disclosure is too great to allow such large groups to flourish with a substantial poduct portfolio, and the groups in other banks where the government is a shaelde have been shut down, leaving HMRC free to concentrate on Jenkins' group at Barclays.

No doubt Jenkins has seen the fees earned by Anmanda Stavely and figures that he can do just as well. He should beware the streets of Mayfair are full of brass nameplates of boutiques of boutiques set up by investment bankers who thought they had the inside track, only to find that thse investors made and kept their money by trusting no-one and switching their advisors almst as often as they switch cars.

Jenkins may soon discover that despite his own personal wealth, a thirty year career most of it spent flashing the business cards of a large high street bank and the financial clout and veneer of respectability that implies, is no substitute for living off your wits. Particularly when much of Jenkins' time at Barclays was spent living off other peoples' ideas.

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