Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Hands down

This story has been bothering me since I read it on the weekend. It's a remarkable example of how money can become so important to an individual that it actually inflicts what it is commonly reckoned to protect against.

The increase in marginal tax rates has encouraged Guy Hands, the enormously wealthy private equity entrepreneur, to move to Guernsey to become a tax exile. He's not able to visit his family in England if he is to retain this status. This was revealed in the course of prosecuting a case against the advisors who sold him EMI, a failing investment by his firm Terra Firma. Allegedly, the crafty bankers who sold him the company encouraged him to overpay (something I'd supposed they were paid to do).

Most people, if they had Guy Hands' £250 million fortune (according to the Sunday Times's Rich List) would surely use it to live where they wanted to, not in the place that was the most economical for them, and certainly not if that meant they weren't able to live with their family. This sort of situation is more often associated with migrant workers driven from home by poverty.

All quite peculiar. Perhaps we should invert some of our more usual descriptions? How compromised you can be when you're dependently wealthy, what being desperately rich can drive you to do...

4 comments:

Brit said...

Horrible on the face of it... But of course it depends on whether Hands sees avoiding his family as an extra little perk...

Recusant said...

Money causes eccentric behaviour. But then Guy Hands is a pretty eccentric character, says one who had to endure a lunch with him where he proceeded to have four main courses. One after the other. I paid.

worm said...

so far I've been unable to work out why such a financial whizz decided to take on such a dead duck as the old-fashioned music industry? I think that most people if shown the figures would have left the deal well alone, and not only did he buy into an industry dying on its arse, he paid way over the odds for it too. Weird.

Gaw said...

Brit: There is that, I suppose.

Recusant: I wonder whether your paying for the meal had something to do with his eating four of them? Always on a mission to maximise value even if it puts him out (he probably had awful indigestion).

Anyway, I hope you got what you wanted!

Worm: But the poor chap was misled by some awfully clever bankers so he alleges. And him being just a regular, man-in-the-street private equity professional...