Expert view: There might yet be a happy ending

By David Coffer, January 8, 2009

Is this how Dorothy felt after Oz or the Knights after Camelot?

Where has our magical existence gone?

Now rudderless, we drift through the doldrums of the sea of commerce in a fog which gives no specific clue of direction or time. Like Phileas Fogg, we cut the wood from the hulk to keep the ship going to who knows where.

How spoilt we were. Deals were done with real people (where have they all gone?). We had property valuers, who were on the side of commerce, not their own interest, and bankers (remember them?) who, after a good lunch, actually wanted to lend you money (nowadays they just want to bank yours).

My inbox now is full of requests for loans, endless CVs and margin calls from brokers.

But it’s not all gloom. Lower bank rates are making depositors move into high yielding commercial investments. Seven per cent from Tesco looks a whole lot better than two per cent in the bank, and you get growth. They are probably a much better covenant than your bank anyway.

At the Coffer Group, we are seeing deals happening, albeit at lower levels. My investment team sold some care homes at 11 per cent yield recently, compared to six per cent for a similar lot last year.

Is the mist clearing? Can I hear the sounds of laughter and clinking of armour, while someone is singing quietly in the distance “Somewhere over the Rainbow”? Don’t you just love a happy ending?!

David Coffer is chairman of the Coffer Group and its subsidiaries

Last updated: 6:36pm, January 8 2009