Fee bonanza for Treasury APS advisers

INVESTMENT banking and legal advisers have picked up &pound;26.5m for their work advising the government on its Asset Protection Scheme (APS), according to data released by the Treasury under the Freedom of Information Act.<br /><br />Bankers from investment banks Citigroup, Credit Suisse and asset manager BlackRock have been working with the Treasury&rsquo;s Financial Stability Unit in return for fees to their employers.<br /><br />Legal advisers from Slaughter &amp; May have also been working on the APS, as have accounting firms Ernst &amp; Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Treasury said, although it did not provide a breakdown of which companies were paid what.<br /><br />However, the Treasury said earlier in the year that it had paid Credit Suisse &pound;9.6m and Citi &pound;1.9m in the first six months of 2009 for their work on the APS.<br /><br />The department said yesterday that the fees could be recouped from Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, the two part-nationalised banks who will rely heavily on the scheme.<br /><br />The two banks agreed earlier this year to insure about &pound;585bn of risky assets through the scheme, which sees the government share losses on those assets.<br /><br />However, Lloyds, led by chief executive Eric Daniels, has since seen its loan loss rate slow and is mulling over a share placing to raise enough capital to reduce its participation.<br /><br />If Lloyds can raise around &pound;6bn via selected institutional investors, as board members believe it can, the bank could cut its use of the APS in half.<br /><br />Under the current arrangement, Lloyds would pay &pound;15.6bn in &lsquo;B&rsquo; shares to the government to insure &pound;260bn worth of assets, taking the government&rsquo;s stake from 42 per cent to around 60 per cent.