There will be any number of people sitting at home, having logged into their work emails at 7.00am and sent an impressive first email at 7.01am before going back to bed and not watching Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, whose eyes will be watering at alleged IP partner's hourly rates published by some newspapers this morning. According to some reports, Smith & Williamson's London-based restructuring partners charge out at up to £710 per hour, whilst some of their colleagues clock in at around £580 an hour.
"How much?", many bus drivers and construction workers will cry.
"How little?", many partners of decent-sized restructuring and insolvency firms will scoff.
Whatever your view (and, once again, numbers are driving the debate) the creditors committee for London Capital & Finance (LC&F) can barely see past their own fingers, so boggled are their eyes. They have requested an independent fee assessor to provide advice on the Administrator's costs; the Administrators being four from Smith & Williamson and one from FRP. Apparently, by January 2022 (the third year of the Administration) fees are likely to have reached £7.7 million, with a further £3.7 million being levied by third-party professional advisers in legal fees and the like.
Of course, we all know that the arguments of those decrying the fee rates of professionals are tantamount to saying, "70 million quid for an Airbus 320? My Mondeo only cost £2,000 from my mate Gary," and Henry Shinners partner at Smith & Williamson (and joint Administrator) said that the outwardly high costs were "...driven by the level of investigative work required by the sifting through of two million documents and tracking tens of thousands of financial transactions". Henry then gave a wink to the reporters surrounding him with microphones and added: " ... that'll cost you £200!". How they laughed.
For balance, it has to be said that LC&F raised £238 million by selling risky minibonds to pensioners with the promise of high rates of interest and are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office who charge out at £11 per hour and provide their own baseball bats. Henry told us that recoveries for bondholders from his team's work will significantly outweigh the Administrators' costs which stands alongside dentists' arguments that " ... this will hurt us more than it hurts you."
If only we could have heard Piers Morgan's views on this story ...