Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Oh dear Paris is coming for all our banking and legal jobs!

You do hear some guff around the UK's departure from the EU.

There is this article here, from the BBC, by Simon Jack.

There are a few points here. JP Morgan's boss, Jamie Diamond, says hundreds of jobs will go to Dublin and Frankfurt, but that many more could go if EU regulators and politicians decide to make it so.

That simply isn't true. The City of London serves the UK and indeed the world. It does business that is EU related, but it isn't the lions share, not by a long chalk. Further more, much of the EU related business is wholesale which benefits massively from the scale of London. You could do it elsewhere but at a large cost. Estimates related to the Euro clearing houses I have seen suggest that if the EU forced its institutions to get their Euro clearing done in the EU it would cost £20 billion in extra capital requirements which would in turn reduce lending ability by around £200 billion.

The thing that surprised me most was this though:

"English law courts conducted in English"

This makes the Ed stone look like a stormingly great idea. Lets unpick it.

Where are you going to get the judges? At the moment high court judges take a pay cut to do the job and do so in part out of a sense of duty. How are you going to attract them to a place where they feel no such sense of duty? I'm sure some will come because they like Paris, but enough? You will probably have to pay them a lot of money to do so.

The next problem is that you will need a sizeable panel of judges to avoid conflicts of interest. If you are already paying over the odds, this is going to add to it.

Who is going to appoint the judges? Seriously. That is an important part of our process. Are they going to ask us? If not will litigants trust the process?

When a party to litigation doesn't like the result, who does they appeal to? If the first court of appeal is in France, see above for all the problems filling the bench, but with knobs on. If it's in England, will the lawyers involved have standing before our courts? Do they need knew representation? What if the knew representation finds major fault with the previous representation? If a litigant doesn't like the result of the appeal here, in certain circumstances they can appeal again to the Supreme Court. What happens in France?

Then we come on to another issue. All these English speaking lawyers, who regulates them? The SRA and Bar association? A French equivalent?  Will they fly in from London offices?

Who is to staff the courts? Are they experienced in the procedures of our courts?

Our legal system is not the result of a revolution, it is a result of an evolution of 1400 years. You can'r build it over night. It's laughable. There are courts systems out there, that started with English judges, built on English law which have plenty of English speakers about. They are in places like the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Companies still prefer London though.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Revenue is not profit.

I get amazed at the number of people who confuse revenue with profits.

Not too long ago the news reported that Google begin to pay £36.4 million in tax for the last year, on revenue of around a billion pounds. The Usual Suspects and chattering classes were aghast. Why that is a tax rate of only 3.6%. I wish I could pay that little tax...

Except that is cobblers. 

The revenue was £1 billion, on which VAT would have been charged and payed, wages paid, rent, heat, light and business rates. All those are fairly fixed costs. They will also have paid a hefty whack in tax, both PAYE, national insurance as well as employers national insurance. Add to that they will charge there customers VAT (though as most of their customers will be VAT registered it will be claimed back). After all these expenses they made a profit of £148 million. Frankly that's very good on a revenue of £1 billion and they should be proud. It's that they paid tax on, specifically £29.8 million, the balance made up of deferred tax from previous years.

Obviously if Google paid no wages, rent business rates etc, then their profit would be higher, and they would pay more corporation tax, but then there would be no tax paid on wages or business rates.

So next time you see someone saying oh look they had a revenue of X but only paid Y in tax, you know they are an utter moron.