Jim Slater, British financier, Died at 86


James Derrick Slater was born on March 13, 1929, and died on November 18, 2015.

Better known as Jim Slater, was a British accountant and investor.

Trained as a chartered accountant, James worked for Leyland Motors and became famous for writing an investment column in The Sunday Telegraph under the nom de plume of The Capitalist, where he described his own portfolio.

In 1964, James started an investment company with Peter Walker, a Tory MP, called Slater Walker-in reality an authorized bank.

James performed what became known as corporate raids on public companies.

He was a friend and business associate of James Goldsmith.

During the secondary banking crisis in 1975, Slater Walker received support from the Bank of England.

Following the takeover of the company by the Bank of England, 15 charges were brought against James for offences against the Companies Act by the Department of Trade, referring to the alleged misuse of more than £4 million of company funds in share deals. The case was thrown out in 1977.

In the period following his high-profile days as a high-flier in the City, Jim Slater produced an autobiography that sets out in considerable detail his early plans and visions regarding company acquisitions, and describes the processes he employed to bring them about.

Once companies came under his control, his strategy was to maximise the return on those of their assets that he judged disposable-be they property, plant or workforce. These tactics proved to be highly successful and profitable in the short-term, such that “Slater Walker” became a byword for a forceful and rewarding style of capitalism.

The acquisition and disposal of company assets in this manner became known as “asset stripping”, a phrase term that carries with it connotations of hardship and distress associated with the human costs of unemployment.

Some 30 years afterwards James acknowledged the drawbacks that were inherent in the practices he adopted, towards the end of a reported interview with Hunter Davies in The Independent of 15 December 1992.

James passed away on 18 November 2015 at the age of 86.