RegulationCorporate GovernanceNorthern Rock job needs a star

Northern Rock job needs a star

ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza finds himself with the unenviable task of leading the panel that will select a firm to put a value on Northern Rock so that compensation can be calculated for the bank’s beleaguered shareholders

To be fair, the job could prove to be a golden egg for Izza if shareholders
are happy with the result. Conversely, he could end up remembered as the man who
helped stitch up the Rock’s shareholders.

Finding a valuer will not be easy. Valuations for financial institutions are
notoriously complex at the best of times, but putting one on a bank that has
been nationalised will be challenging at best, fraught with difficulty at worst.

Naturally, shareholders are arguing for the value of shares before the share
price started to slide and the bank collapsed ignominiously. But that would mean
yet more taxpayer money going into the pockets of private shareholders.

It is, in short, a highly sensitive valuation to have to carry out, with
serious implications for the reputations of those involved.

Reports claim there are few contenders for the post of valuer, although
Accountancy Age understands that is not entirely the case. After all,
it could be very lucrative, as public sector work often is.

But there are risks, and one of the biggest is associated with public
relations.

Whatever valuation is ultimately put on the bank there are bound to be some
unhappy shareholders, and the City pages will be only too happy to air their
continuing grievances.

That could place an unwary valuer at the heart of a storm.

So here’s the upshot. Any valuer coming into this will not only need
top-notch financial expertise. They will also require a fair amount of PR nous.
No one should enter this work believing they can ignore the press and the storm
of disapproval it could whip up.

Michelle Perry is a freelance journalist

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