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17 Sep 2009

Bankers Open $12 Billion CaymanToxic Asset Hedge Fund

A group of 45 bankers have plans to avoid new strict rules on pay and bonuses, making more than £240 million ($400 million) between them, according to TimesOnline.

Led by British bankers Michael Keely and Stephen King, sources say they will quit Barclays to take on a contract managing £7.5 billion ($12.3 billion) of Barclays’ most toxic debt in a fund registered in the Cayman Islands. Barclays will lend $12.6 billion to Protium, a newly created Cayman Islands-registered hedge fund, to buy the toxic assets.

Barclays said in a press release that the shift of assets did not remove any risk from its balance sheet, but guaranteed it a more steady stream of income from them.

London analysts admitted they were puzzled by the scheme and could not see any great immediate benefit in it for Barclays, according to the London Evening Standard. Traders in other investment banks are quitting to avoid likely curbs on bonuses. About 20 from Société Générale left this week to set up a hedge fund called Nexar Capital to escape the bonus crackdown being threatened by Nicolas Sarkozy, the UK paper said.

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