Friday, September 18, 2009

The cellar

Gillian Tett re-uses the cellar analogy to look at Barclays' disposal of sour assets. What is not clear, however, is whether the separate legal entity means that the fund can fail without doing damage to Barclays.

In theory, regulators could preventjavascript:void(0) that outflow, if they were willing to clamp down on the unregulated world in a co-ordinated way. In practice, though, western leaders are finding it so tough to agree on how to reform the front rooms of finance that I seriously doubt they will have the energy to attack the cellars too.

Thus far, few banks have had the political chutzpah to exploit that situation too brazenly. Barclays, however, now appears to be blazing a trail of sorts – and I would hazard a bet that plenty more banks will be tempted to follow suit. So stand by to see more Protium-style deals emerge in the coming months. After all, financial cellars can come in numerous forms – and, it would seem, ever more weird names.

No comments: