PracticeAuditOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

Word reaches us that the queue of people lining up to pitch for the work valuing failed bank Bradford & Bingley is much longer than the one that formed to do Northern Rock

gavin hinks, editor accountancy age

The process of appointing valuers for B&B is well advanced but it’s
intriguing that the work has attracted more interest than the Rock. Before BDO
Stoy Hayward got that particular posting there was speculation that it was a
poisoned chalice. It was too risky, the shareholders too active and aggressive
to make it a pleasant and straight-forward experience.

Actually, there were always far more candidates for the Rock job than the
City pages let on. And, though there are PR risks, the valuer was always going
to be indemnified by government.

Of course that wasn’t the main attraction. The Rock pays £4.7m for the
valuation and then its back on to rate card to deal with any appeals. Lucrative?
I should say so.

Which is probably why B&B is so interesting. BDO paved a way, showing
some mettle when it mattered and now other firms, boutiques and investment
banks, have cottoned on to the fact that this, though not without its
challenges, could be a decent bit of work to be involved in.

It’s high profile, will catch the eye of other potential clients and opens
the door to government and the public sector ­ the only people around at the
moment with any money.

And there’s the real attraction. Revenues aren’t so good and the risk of
getting involved in valuing a failed bank is far outweighed by the money it will
bring in. Four to five million on a balance sheet is going to look good by
anyone’s standards.

Care has to be taken though. That’s not an attitude any firm should let
dominate its search for work. You have to draw the line somewhere. I suspect
however, that B&B will be within tolerance levels.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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