Monday, March 23, 2009

Bad news on Icelandic Investments

File on Four on Radio 4 yesterday did not make happy listening for the City Council:

"Meanwhile for the councils with cash trapped in Iceland the future looks bleak according to Mark Horsfield, of Arlingclose which offers investment advice to more than 50 councils.
Mr Horsfield has been tracking the market in unsecured debt linked to the banking collapse.
"It is trading at the moment somewhere between half a pence in the pound and nine-and-a-half pence in the pound," he told File On 4, dashing local government hopes of getting their money back in the months to come.
He added that this was a "reasonable indicator" of the likely payout unless "a deal is structured" between governments and the liquidator.
Mr Horsfield thinks it is unlikely that councils will receive significant payouts.
"As an accountant with my prudent hat on, I'd be scaling back my expectations," he added."

In other words, the Council may be looking at losing at least 90% of its Icelandic investments (or at least 90% of the £4-5m invested directly in the Icelandic parent bank rather than the UK subsidiary). I've written to the Director of Finance at the City Council to ask what our latest information is about recoverability of the Iceland investments, what our expectations are of the amount likely to be recovered from the Icelandic investements, and in particularly, which of our deposits are likely to fall into the category of unsecured debt of the type that is currently trading at less than 10p in the £. If we have lost most of this money it will be very bad news indeed for local Council tax payers.

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