Barclays Bank falls foul of the laws of Lawson

People & Business

Lord Lawson of Blaby, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and sometime diet guru, trousers pounds 31,000 a year as a non-executive director of Barclays Bank. Shareholders in Barclays and Lord Lawson's fellow directors should therefore make a point of perusing a recently published collection of writings on investment, The Investor's Anthology; Original Ideas from the Industry's Greatest Minds.

The book reprints an article the then Nigel Lawson penned in 1963 when he was City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, headed "Seven rules for investors". The question is, does Barclays pass these rules?

The list of rules starts with: "Avoid companies whose chairman's photograph is published more than four times a year." Barclays should be OK there - photos of chairman Andrew Buxton are hardly ever seen these days, outshone as he is by former Courtaulds matinee idol Martin Taylor.

Lord Lawson's second rule is: "Avoid companies that publish their balance sheet in front of their profit and loss account in the final report." Again Barclays passes with flying colours. Uh-oh. Rule three says: "Invest in companies whose chairman is less than 5'8" tall." That's blown it. Mr Buxton towers well over 6 foot.

On to rule four: "Assess the board on the points system as follows - one point for every director, and an extra point for every peer, admiral, general or air marshal. More than 15 points disqualifies, or more than 20 in the case of banks and insurance companies."

Here Barclays just squeezes through with 14 points, including two points for Lord Lawson himself, the only peer.

Fifth: "Avoid companies who hold their annual general meetings at awkward times or in unlikely places." No problem there. Barclays' agm was on a Tuesday in April at the QEII conference centre in Westminster.

But wait for rule six: "Avoid companies who have just moved into a lush head office." The reasonably new clearing bank head office in Bishopsgate is pretty lush, while BZW is just moving into a veritable palace in Canary Wharf, down Docklands way.

Barclays does OK on the last rule: "Bad figures take longer to add up than good ones." It always publishes figures on time. But shareholders should still be wary of a stock that fails two of the Laws of Lawson.

May I welcome the Italian cricket team, who have just arrived to commence a tour of England. On Wednesday the UK branch of Generali, the team's Italian sponsors, held a reception for the team at their City offices in Fenchurch Street. Incidentally, I am informed the Italian for "Howzat?" is "Com'e questo?"

The 66-page offer for subscription document published by Audio Books and Music Holdings repays careful reading. The company, which started operations in May last year, is seeking to raise pounds 1.5m. It supplies audio books to retailers.

Page 55 of the document lists the previous directorships of David Selby, ABM's chairman, John Cooper, managing director, and Hugo Robson, a non- exec. (A finance director and sales director are being sought.)

It tells us that Mr Selby was a director of Alliance Property and Construction and its subsidiary, APC Management Contractors, "which suffered heavily in the property crash of 1991/92 and were ultimately wound up after bank LPA receivers had been appointed".

The document goes on: "In 1991 an associated group of seven companies, whose main trading company was Savage Transformers Limited, went into receivership." And there's more: "In 1995 the companies forming the school textbook supply division of the Foyles Educational Group was put into receivership. The change in the structure of Government financing to schools materially affected the school book supply market."

Turning the page, we find: "Hugo Robson was a non-executive director of London Executor and Trustee Limited, a fund management company. This ceased trading in November 1987 and subsequently was put into liquidation."

John Cooper was a director of "Posh Entertainment Limited. This was wound up by the Official Receiver in March 1996."

I wonder what Lord Lawson of Blaby would make of it all.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent