History of the New World Order from the Egyptian Masons to its corruption by the CIA see.www.theroyalsecret.info
Jim Slater, financier – obituary
Self-made financier who rapidly made millions with Slater Walker before his fortunes turned
Outside Jim Slater’s family I probably know more about his business life than anyone left alive today since I was his principal protegé. As a 26 year old analyst working for a stockbroker I took Jim a deal which doubled our money in three months and from then on I worked with him, not as an employee, but as a partner in many future deals through my company Barclay Securities. It and myself were known also as asset strippers, a pejorative term conjured up by the Unions and others of the old school of the Establishment who were together wrecking whole sections of UK industry by refusing investment in new technology and new work formats.
These were the days 15 years before Richard Branson when the word ambition was considered almost obscene and anyone under the age of fifty in senior business role was seen as an upstart. For several years I personally had Scotland Yard protection, as did Slater, and Arnold Weinstock, against the Communist Red and Angry Brigades who killed off several UK company chiefs for modernising the organisations under their control. Revolutionaries against revolutionaries.
I found Jim’s approach to life and business always direct, and honest in the extreme, but to some it could be construed as forceful or abrupt. In my later understanding it covered a protection against his social naivety when up against the close coterie of those long established traditional UK financiers who then controlled the City of London. His rapid rise, which I shared with him, was at the expense of the old guard in which speed of decision and action overwhelmed their opposition and potentially laid open the whole of British industry to our aims to modernise and re-capitalise it.
Investors flocked to Slater Walker and Barclay Securities with funds to enable our expansion which for my part involved the takeover of some 30 public companies in three years, increasing earnings per share by 1,000 per cents before the politics of the day brought our progress to an end. Heath, in fear of the voters rejection, uttered the only words he was remembered for as to “the unacceptable face of capitalism” . A reference to many who had backed him and supported the Tory party financially in one last seedy turncoat act before he lost the election, and so plunged the UK into eight desperate years of Labour party mis-management of the economy leading to Britain’s bail out by the IMF.
It was a period of the terrible financial crash of the 70’s with inflation of 25% a year, and of nearly a decade in which no entrepreneur could survive. Many in the City of London were pleased to see Jim Slater’s downfall in a sphere they could return to their old ways again after the Slater sledgehammer phenomenon to which they had had little defense. Goldsmith, Hanson and others managed, only just, to survive by befriending the Wilson government.
For my part I sold out my business to an outfit controlled by Hambros Bank before the crash, but Jim had not been so fortunate, and he found few friends. His honesty was the cause of his eventual loss of Slater Walker and its demise which might otherwise have stayed the rocky course of the 70’s. Accused of a very minor breach of the UK Securities Act and being the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Singapore government for an act he did not personally commit, he
resigned honourably in the sure belief he would soon be cleared of any guilt and so regain his Chairmanship of Slater Walker. But it was not to be. Lee Kwan Yu and others in Singapore furious that he had gained control of their major company, a deal I had proposed to him, were after his blood, and so he became a political football whom the Labour government had no desire to support.
Slater Walker, under Goldsmith’s Chairmanship, was broken up and disappeared, as also was the fate of my own company Barclay Securities. Jim Slater’s reputation was tarnished very wrongly in my view. He had a brilliant analytical mind of steely decision which in the military would have seen him as a general.
I personally found him charming and I owed my initial career to his ability to see opportunity and to listen to young men with new ideas. I returned the favour at the end of the 70’s by buying out a property venture he had slowly built with help from Tiny Rowland, another of Heath’s bete noirs but a good friend when in need.
In 1984 we formed a joint venture but our ways parted. Perhaps above all it was the snobbery and jealousy of the City in his time that ended his run. While The Bank of England bailed out their Establishment friends from the 70’s crash in which every single bank in the UK was insolvent ( and I can prove this), they discarded those who they saw as not quite “one of them.”
Given time Jim would have made it. A peerage, as given to Hanson and others who dallied with Labour, may have eventually been sufficient for him to let down his guard against his enemies until the days of Mrs Thatcher when his retur may have been welcome. But perhaps not. In 1980 when I returned to the City the Daily Telegraph ran a front page cartoon with my name on a desk with the caption. “Forward into the 80’s. Not back into the 70’s”. So perhaps Jim had had his day. It was a brilliant one while it lasted, and he and his family should always be proud of it.
If you really are John Bentley this is a post of historical importance. Thank you.
I am still alive and kicking thanks, living in the sun with a multitude of careers behind me. More recently as a writer. See my book The Royal Secret + my blog and my bio on johnbentley.biz . Life goes on!
If you are going to close your eyes to the stark facts I think it is you who would better fit in commenting at The Guardian! You will find that these facts concerning Asset Stripping and Private Equity (which is the modern equivalent) and the damage which they do have even been discussed in The House of Commons and reported in Hansard.
The history of this destruction was also taught in depth when I was at Business School, citing of course Slater and Bentley as the prime practitioners.
TR Comment: He was just about the first to realise that the early ’70s stock market boom was about to end in collapse with his ‘cash is king ‘ quote.
However, it didn’t stop him going down the plughole with everybody else, presumably because he was unable to liquidate his shareholdings fast enough.
TR Comment: I remember watching a documentary about him, how he would go into sleepy old British family firms that had at some time listed themselves on the stock market, perhaps without thinking through the full implications of what this meant.
He would tell the board he wanted to buy the company, and the chairman, invariably some son or grandson of the founder, would snootily dismiss him with the retort that “their” company was not for sale. Slater would simply toss on to the table that morning’s newspaper open at the stock market pages and reply “Oh yes it is, and its price is published every morning for everyone to see.” At that point Slater would leave to get on with it while the sheer horror of what was about to happen would sink into the board.
In fairness if they were shareholders they all got their rightful dues and could hardly complain if Slater later got a better price than they did, it was up to them to have run their company better.
A son of one such old family firm recalled the deferential way in which he had been treated in the company, not quite forelock tugging but not far off it, he was invariably referred to as “Young Master …” The day after the takeover he discovered that attitude had disappeared, he was now treated simply as what he was, a middle manager and a not especially important one at that, whose position would probably soon become vacant. He was able to laugh about it later but admitted it had caused him a bit of a shock at the time.
There’s a lot that can be said against some aspects of Slater’s “asset stripping”, but at the end of the day if businesses and the capitalist system are to survive and thrive then men like Jim Slater will always be necessary.
Traditional enterprises operated on a basis of a significant margin of safety, which is why they survived for so long. This predator moved in and destroyed that margin of safety by plundering their accumulated assets. As a direct result many previously successful enterprises who became his prey ended in insolvency. He had no understanding of real business, which was not surprising since he was only an accountant and not of course a Management Accountant.
The truth is often painful, for some. Presumably it is the
reality of the term “Asset Stripper” to which you object? The reports in other media expose the same role:
Zulu Principle is a great book. He sailed a bit close to the wind a few times, but he knew his stuff when it came to the stock market.
The stress-avoidance and longevity-focused strategy may be Mr Slater’s most important contribution, one some of us learned before taking O’levels. If anyone tries to dump tasks on you, tell them doctor’s orders forbid you from attempting such a life-threatening burden of work and retire to your old wicker bath-chair and decanter of medicinal Cognac. The dosh isn’t worth it. After all, you can’t take it with you.