Barclays and Qatar – consulting services don’t come cheap, you know

Dear Barclays

We were interested to note (from the Telegraph, for instance) that you paid £332 million for "advisory fees" related to the investment in your firm made by Qatar based institutions during the banking crisis of 2008. You are now under investigation by the authorities (the UK's Serious Fraud Office) who suggest that maybe these weren't really genuine consulting or advisory fees but were some sort of inducement to individuals who could then influence the investment decision. That is clearly a terrible accusation - don't they realise how expensive consultants can be?

I also know that Barclays has had a long standing reputation for excellent procurement so I am sure your category managers would be open to alternative proposals next time you have a similar requirement. My consulting firm can offer our services on the next occasion and we would be happy to undertake a similar assignment for just £319.60 million, saving you £12.4M million. That will look good in the procurement savings report, won't it?

We have assumed the work would take place over a short period of time, like the case under investigation, and we know that your skilled category managers will expect to see a detailed breakdown of the costs - clearly, they would not simply accept a bill for £332 million without real justification! So here is our proposal.

  Number of staff Number of days (60 day assignment) Day rate (£) TOTAL FEE (£ Million)
Partners 10 600 10000 6.0
Directors 50 3000 4000 12.0
Senior Consultants 200 12000 2500 30.0
Consultants 500 30000 2000 60.0
Analysts 240 14400 1500 21.6
SUBTOTAL 1000 60,000   119.6
GRAND TOTAL       £ 319.6 million

As you can see, you will have the benefit of  no less than 1,000 people working on your project, and we have put £200 million of our fee "at risk" in terms of a performance bonus. Other than that, we believe our fees are in line with the most prestigious consulting firms.

I am also the co-author of the best-selling book, Buying Professional Services, published by The Economist Books in 2010. If the SFO would like to talk to me, I would be happy (for the appropriate fee, of course), to provide credibility to your actions. I could discuss just how reasonable your previous fee was and re-assure the investigators that they should have no worries about the propriety behind it. I can do that for just the odd £10 million - a drop in the ocean.

Yours etc

Peter Smith


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  1. RJ:

    Where can I send my CV to for this excellent opportunity?

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