Friday, 30 November 2007

Stanley Fink sells Man Group shares for £27.2 million

Stanley Fink, deputy chairman of hedge fund manager Man Group, has sold five million of his shares in the group for £27.2 million. He still retains 14.5 million shares. The word on the street is that Mr Fink wants to diversify his investment portfolio. Well, that's understandable. We've all wanted to do that at some point, haven't we?

But I'm wondering what Stan will invest his money in now. So is Maurice Marble III. Sadly, I was speaking with Maurice this morning, and here's the latest shit he has come out with - 'I will be contacting Mr Fink as soon as possible because I have got some great investment opportunities for him. The best one - and this will knock your socks off - is a new machine I've invented that you plug into your brain. It's nothing like my old machine that projected your dreams on to a wall. This is new. Don't forget I'm Acton's leading brain specialist. This amazing machine actually reads your mind and makes plans for your future. How many times in a day do you feel confused? How often do you feel you don't know your own mind? Those days are over, my friend. My machine will comprehensively -'

I put the phone down. Life is too short.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Simon Johnson and the perfect storm

I'm afraid yet another doom merchant has crawled out of the woodwork. This time it is Simon Johnson from the International Monetary Fund. He is the chief economist at the IMF and he reckons there will be a perfect storm of a recession next year - due to the credit crunch and high oil prices.

Enough already! Alan Greenspan, George Soros, Teun Draaisma - how many more professional pessimists are going to jump on the bandwagon? And why did Mr Johnson use the phrase 'perfect storm'? He obviously wanted a catchy phrase that would make it into the papers.

Well, I'm so angry about this that I'm not even going to consult Magnus's Book of Money Curses. This is from my own pen -

O you doom merchants, you money men of little faith, of little hope, the day of the great reckoning will soon be at hand, and to whom will you run crying then, with your miserable forecasts of disaster? Behold the money king! I will live in your darkest nightmares in the darkest nights. O you fools, you unbelievers, Big Herb will turn against you, and then where will you be? In the pit! In the pit of despair you will fester and wail and gnash your teeth. I call on Big Herb the money god, I call on all the lords of the holy cash - throw these men into the pit!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

SRM Global buys 6.97 million Northern Rock shares

Hedge fund SRM Global has bought 6.97 million shares in disaster bank Northern Rock. This is a serious attempt to stop Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Money taking over. Why would SRM Global want to do this?

I have been speaking to Arthur Simmons from the Chaos College of Finance and he told me, 'Branson is an unconventional businessman. I presume certain conservative figures in the banking world don't want him getting his hands on Northern Rock. Actually, I've heard Branson is planning to hire hundreds of shamans and mystics to work at the bank - but don't quote me on that.'

That's what it is then. The suits don't want to see financial shamans and money mystics practically taking over a top bank. Sure, mystics and shamans are employed by banks in small numbers, but they are carefully controlled and not fully trusted yet.

Tatum Jones from Dodger Coombes says, 'What is everyone so worried about? Dodger Coombes employs more shamans and mystics than any major bank and we are making billions of pounds. I would definitely trust a financial shaman to invest my life's savings for me.'

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Paulson & Co makes £2 billion out of sub-prime crisis

The American hedge fund Paulson & Co - run by John Paulson - has made £2 billion by betting short on mortgages dropping in value. Everyone is saying Mr Paulson is brilliant, Mr Paulson is secretive, Mr Paulson is a genius. But no one is saying they know how he did it, or how he knew last year that the sub-prime crisis was coming.

But I know. I know how he did it. I know what Mr Paulson knows.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Knight Vinke won't leave HSBC alone

I hate to see a big bank like HSBC being picked on by a small activist investor like Eric Knight. It's not fair, is it? Eric's investment fund Knight Vinke controls less than 1 per cent of HSBC's shares. Eric has made new allegations. He says HSBC has been misleading its shareholders. Apparently, the directors of the bank are getting a pay and perks plan that is based on very low performance targets.

Well, what can HSBC do about this? It has to be something legal. I have just spent the whole morning perusing Magnus's Book of Money Curses, and I have found one curse that the bosses of HSBC might find useful. I have had to adapt it a little bit, but it goes like this -

O Knight Vinke, O Eric, lord of the delirious activists, give up your evil ways, and leave HSBC in peace. They are only harmless bankers. Why do you persecute them? Stop now or face the consequences. I will unleash all the dark angels of hell if you do not desist. Demon fire will fill your heart, and you will know the pain of the desolate one. End this war. End it now.

If this doesn't work, I don't know what will. If you want to help HSBC in its struggle, I urge you, dear reader, to recite this curse over and over. Also, tell your friends. The more people we can get involved in stopping Knight Vinke, the better.

Aviva and the hoaxer

Some deranged lunatic has faked an internal memo between two bosses of Britain's largest insurer Aviva. The memo, from finance director Philip Scott to chief executive Andrew Moss, claims that Aviva is insolvent - which is absolute nonsense. The company fears this could be the work of a dodgy trader or hedge fund.

Oh sweet Jesus, this better not be the work of Jack Pickles. I pray Jack Pickles has nothing to do with this.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

GlaxoSmithKline spends £800 million on fish oil

GlaxoSmithKline is going to buy Reliant Pharmaceuticals for £800 million. It is an American company whose main product is Lovaza - an amazing fish oil pill that controls fatty acids.

I have been speaking to Maurice Marble III about this deal, and he is not happy. He said to me, 'I'm at my wits' end. I really am. What about all my pills? I've invented pills that can expand your consciousness, pills that aid astral travel, pills that - all kinds of pills! I've got pills coming out of my ears, and no one wants to buy them. What about me? What do I get?'

Well, if he doesn't shut up, I'm sure he will get put away somewhere. I seem to be surrounded by lunatics - Maurice, Keith, poor Ben. What is it about me that attracts these people?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Michael Spencer is rolling in money

The chief executive of Icap, Michael Spencer, unveiled massive profits yesterday. Icap has seen a 36 per cent rise in profits - £141.1 million from sales of £626.2 million. This is what you get when you act as a middle man between banks, apparently.

I take my hat off to Michael Spencer - the richest man in the City. But will he ever become the richest man in heaven? I presume, dear reader, you're familiar with all that camel and eye of the needle nonsense. You may even believe it. Well, I'm afraid it is nonsense. God loves rich people. Just ask Big Herb. Actually, you won't be able to ask him - unless you're a financial shaman of my standing. But I have asked him, and he told me that money goes a long way in heaven. He says that unless you can afford to tip the angels you will have a rough time of it. It all sounds a bit Gerard Bent, doesn't it?

Erinaceous sacks two executives

Property services group Erinaceous has sacked two of its executives, Neil Bellis and Lucy Cummings, after pressure from hedge fund Fursa which has a 19 per cent stake in the group. Erinaceous has issued profit warnings and breached its banking covenants in recent times. The two executives have been paid 'golden goodbyes' of over £400,000 each.

What is this 'golden goodbyes' bullshit? When I left Shaman Money Management all I got was a one-way ticket to Palookaville. Business people have got it too easy these days.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Wall Street bonuses: let the good times roll!

Northern Rock may be a mess, an absolute fucking disaster - see what happens when you don't employ enough shamans or mystics - but workers on Wall Street will be laughing soon because bonuses are expected to reach an all-time high this year. Forget about sub-prime mortgages. It's flotations, mergers, and acquisitions that are bringing the money in.

It won't be so good over here in Britain though. Goldman Sachs will be all right, as ever. What is Goldman's secret? I wouldn't like to say - maybe another time. Bob Diamond from Barclays probably won't be getting a big bonus this year. He received £15.2 million last year. I haven't had any contact with Bob for quite a while. Bob, if you're reading this - don't be a stranger.

Monday, 19 November 2007

CIMA financial management awards 2007

Are you going to the Marriott Grosvenor Square on 29th November for the CIMA financial management awards? No, me neither. It's not my cup of tea, but financial management is very important.

Just ask award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby. We all know that Keith is a very emotional and disturbed individual. You would expect his finances to be in a right mess, but I was speaking with him recently and he told me, 'My finances are not in a mess, not at all. I've won awards, you know. Admittedly, not CIMA awards, but so what? Anyway, I don't trust banks, so I keep all my money at home. I arrange my money by feeling the vibrations. If a £10 note - for example - is giving me bad mystic vibes, I will put that note in a flowerpot in my garden shed. If a note - say a £20 note - is giving me good vibrations, I will place that note under my mattress. This is important. When I go to sleep at night, the good vibrations from all the wonderful cash beneath me enter my body and my soul. When I wake up in the morning I feel full of positive energy. I can then help people with their financial problems. And not just dead people. I help the living as well now. As for all the notes in my garden shed, I don't give a fuck what happens to them because I will not be surrounded by bad vibes. I will not have negative mystical influences in my life. I don't care if it costs me money. My health is more important.'

Will Tullett Prebon and GFI merge?

Interdealer broker Tullett Prebon and its rival GFI have held talks about merging the two companies. In recent years these companies have had a number of legal battles over allegations of staff poaching.

If Tullett and GFI can get it on and work together, that would be great news. I don't like to see people fighting. Let's all work together and hold hands and drink Coca-Cola.

The poaching of staff though reminds me of my time at Shaman Money Management. I actually tried to poach Michael Oliver from Mystical Cash Gurus. He still works for them and he doesn't get paid much, but job satisfaction is what floats his boat. He says, 'I knew SMM would go out of business. The company was run by a bunch of clowns, as Michael Fowke will tell you. I have been at Mystical Cash Gurus for over ten years now and I just love it here. The culture is brilliant. You don't have to wear a suit. I come into work wearing a shaman's ceremonial gown and no one bats an eyelid. Trying doing that at Goldman Sachs and see how far you get. They would kick your arse out the door before you could say - where's my bonus?'

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Guy Hands and the whimpering dogs

Sounds like a great rock band, doesn't it? Rumour has it that Jimmy Page is going to produce their first album. But no, seriously, Guy Hands is the boss of Terra Firma, and the dogs in question are bankers who Mr Hands feels are beneath contempt because they refused to bankroll mega buy-outs for years.

This is what I like to see - someone with a bit of spirit, a wild, bohemian financier living on the edge, swigging from his bottle of Jack Daniel's, and telling it like it is. The rock and roll spirit in the world of banking and finance! Jim Morrison! Janis Joplin! Arthur Rimbaud! I could go on.

In fact, I will. O you bankers, you must become mad mystic warriors! Forget your straight ways. You must derange yourselves and travel the wild road to wisdom! You must - you get the idea.

Will Reuters enter the credit rating agency business?

Tom Glocer, who will soon become the chief executive of the merged Thomson Reuters, has been talking about the possibility of Reuters going into credit rating.

Well, that's fine. Nothing wrong with that at all. But I hope Reuters is not planning to go into the mystical financial news reporting business because I have that area all sewn up, and I wouldn't like to see this great company come a cropper.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Bank of America housing losses

Bank of America will probably write down $3 billion of debt in the fourth quarter. The US housing slump is to blame for this, but the bank's finance chief, Joe Price, says the losses are manageable.

The housing market in the UK also looks a bit shaky at the moment. I believe more people should live in caves. I'm serious. I lived in a cave for eight years and it didn't do me any harm. It is certainly a cheap way to live - no rent, no bills. What's the problem?

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Blackstone boss talks of scary US loan crisis

Tony James, president of Blackstone, is scared. Real scared. He says the US mortgage crisis is deeper and scarier than anyone thought it would be.

Scary? I'll tell you want scary is, pal. I recently had a nightmare where I was being chased across a desolate landscape by massive, hairy demons with red eyes and fire coming out of their mouths. They couldn't catch me, but I was in constant fear. When I woke up, I immediately thought of the turmoil in the markets around the world and said to myself - don't make me laugh.

The point I'm making is - there are some seriously scary things in this world, the next world, and the dream world. So let's not lose our heads over money, eh?

Teun Draaisma: credit crunch could lead to recession

More doom and gloom. Teun Draaisma from Morgan Stanley says we should all forget about equities and choose cash because of - oh, I don't know. I don't want to hear it any more. There could be a recession. There probably will be if people keep talking about it.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Pearl winning the Resolution zombie war

It looks like Pearl is going to win the zombie war. Standard Life has walked away from Resolution - blaming the fall in its share price for the decision not to increase its offer for the zombie firm. What does this mean for the zombies?

Dougie Smith says, 'I'm worried, very worried. I know at least two zombies at Resolution who have had a nervous breakdown because of all this. Zombies need stability - everyone knows that. I want to see Pearl come in now and reassure the members of the Finsbury Square Zombie Club that there will be no exterminations. Hugh Osmond should tell us how much he loves and respects zombies. I'm sure he does, otherwise why would he go through all the trouble of trying to get Resolution?'

Well, it's obvious that Dougie's main concern is the welfare of the zombies, but business is business. If Mr Osmond decides to exterminate some of these creatures, should we be concerned? I don't know. I'm really not sure about this. Some people have said I dislike zombies because of what happened with Maurice Marble III. That's not true. Don't listen to the rumours. Maurice is not a zombie, and we are on good terms now. That incident with the meat cleaver got blown out of all proportion.

Robert Rubin: new Citigroup CEO will be free to decide on strategy

The new chairman of Citigroup, Robert Rubin, has been talking about the bank's next CEO and saying that he (I presume it will be a man) will have the freedom to decide what changes to make. This could include splitting the group up.

Susan Flint from Bad Moon Investments says, 'I would like to see a woman take over, preferably a money mystic. Women are more in touch with nature, and the new CEO of Citigroup may have to enlist the help of nature spirits to ensure that the bank keeps its position as the world's biggest bank.'

I can see where Susan is coming from on this one, but I believe a powerful, male financial shaman will have to take over. At this stage there is no other option, not with the markets the way they are. I was told the other day - by someone at Reuters - that they might approach me. Well, I would not be able to take the job due to my other commitments. Besides, I want to remain independent. I think people will have more respect for my money king title that way.

Publicis: there’s a web bubble!

Maurice Levy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis, has been speaking of a web bubble. Apparently, the boss of this marketing group is concerned that too many companies on the internet are chasing too little advertising revenue.

Keith Busby, the award-winning financial psychic, was straight on the phone to me when he heard the news, 'You see what I'm saying? There are bubbles, bubbles everywhere. Beautiful mystic bubbles in banking, in the housing market, and now even the internet. Bubbles will take over the world. We must all cherish these bubbles.'

I don't know how much longer I will be able to maintain my friendship with Keith. Ever since he developed the new fortune-telling technique of visiting people at home while they are having a bath, he has been obsessed with bubbles. He sees all bubbles as being the same. He is insane. Am I being too harsh saying this? Is it possible he is a great visionary? No. He's a nutter. Pure and simple.

Principal Global Investors looking at alternative investments

Barry Griswell, boss of the Principal Group, says that the asset management arm of the group is hoping to expand into alternative investments. Principal GI may start off with funds of hedge funds.

This is great news, but funds of hedge funds? I think they should be a bit more adventurous than that. Principal should invest in crystal balls. Since William Foster sold his company Crystal Ball Technologies, the market in crystal balls has collapsed. However, I believe this is only a blip. Other occult products are selling well. A company with imagination could revitalize this area.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Cenkos bid for Close Brothers

Cenkos wants to buy the investment bank Close Brothers for £1.1 billion. This bid has been described as 'cheeky' by the Daily Mail because Cenkos is a tenth of the size of Close Brothers.

Cheeky? I'll tell you what cheeky is. Cheeky is Keith Busby thinking I will sell my copy of Magnus's Book of Money Curses to him for £1500. Is this man out of his mind? I'm sorry, but is this man out of his mind? He reckons he didn't realize until yesterday (see my post on George Soros) that I had a copy - even though I have quoted from the book on a couple of occasions in this blog. £1500! The book must be priceless. There are only three copies in existence. Keith is taking the piss.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

George Soros: US economic correction

Why are so many financial gurus from the straight world coming out of the woodwork and predicting economic disaster? It's getting boring. George Soros reckons America's economy will have to face a correction soon - mainly because America has borrowed too much money. Alan Greenspan is also sticking his oar in.

I'm going to make a correction soon and put a curse on all these doomsayers. I possess one of the three copies in existence of Magnus's Book of Money Curses. I WILL USE THIS BOOK IF I HAVE TO.

Why can't Soros and Greenspan and Uncle Tom Cobley be more optimistic, like me. I suppose they don't have my insight. They certainly don't have strong links with the spirit world. They can't predict the future. This is where financial shamans come into their own. It's my business to KNOW, not guess, what the future holds. I now have regular contact with Big Herb and a little contact with Ganesh. Neither of these gods predicts financial disaster in the near or long-term future. Let's show them a bit of respect. Let's take their word for it.

Oil at $97 a barrel

US oil prices are getting close to $100 a barrel. This is due to the weak American dollar, the credit crunch, and fears of insufficient oil supplies for the winter season.

My main concern is the rising cost of mystical oils. As regular readers will know, I get through a hell of a lot of fortune oil. Quite a few depressed bankers and traders have been coming to me, desperate for me to smear the oil all over their face with the intention of opening up the third eye. A small pot of fortune oil used to set me back £30. Now it is more like £45 or even £50. I'll probably buy in bulk from now on. I would love to get barrels of the stuff, but I don't think my supplier would be able to manage it. Anyway, this is my problem, not yours. Don't worry about it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Credit card fees are going up

A lot of people believe the devil invented credit cards. A lot of people believe anything. I'm not sure what I believe. I think there is a fair chance the devil is behind the recent increases in cash withdrawal fees for credit cards, but I have no solid proof. Most analysts believe it is down to the credit crunch. They are being too negative as far as I am concerned. They enjoy predicting financial meltdown. Not everything can be blamed on the credit crunch. Some things have to be blamed on the devil.

Susan Flint from Bad Moon Investments says, 'I was recently accused of being a money witch in league with the devil. I wish people would stop blaming him for everything. Of course, I have no connection to him. Credit cards are not connected to him. I'm not convinced that the devil is even remotely interested in banking and finance.'

Jennifer Beckett from Soul Watchers says, 'I don't know what Susan has been smoking. The devil is clearly involved in banking and finance. I have masses of files on him, witness statements, the lot. This should not be swept under the carpet.'

Dear reader, I guess you will have to make your own mind up.

PetroChina: the trillion dollar company

The Chinese oil and gas monster company (as in big, not real monsters - maybe I should have said 'giant') PetroChina has become the first company in history to be worth one trillion dollars. That's more than four Googles, I think.

But there could be a big bubble here. Warren Buffet recently sold his 11 per cent stake in the company. Why would he do that? Keith Busby says, 'It's a big mystic bubble, beautiful colours, floating in the sky. If you look hard enough you will be able to see the face of God in the bubble.'

I'm getting a bit sick of this. Keith is always getting his bubbles mixed up. IT'S NOT A MYSTIC BUBBLE! I wish it were. There is nothing I would want more, but sometimes you have to face reality. I'm sorry, Keith, you're not well. Get some help.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Chuck Prince quits Citigroup

After quitting last night, Chuck Prince is no longer the chairman and chief executive of Citigroup, but will he now retrain as a financial shaman?

When Stan O'Neal left Merrill Lynch last week I spoke to Arthur Simmons from the Chaos College of Finance. He wanted to see Mr O'Neal retrain as a shaman and make a commitment to mystical capitalism. So far, Mr O'Neal has not said a word about it. We don't know what his plans are. Maybe he's stuck in the old ways - not realizing that mysticism is the oldest way of all. I hope I'm not confusing anyone. I get confused myself sometimes. The mix of mainstream, conventional banking and the new creed of mystical capitalism is a bit messy. It will stay this way until shamans gain the upper hand in the banking world.

As for Chuck Prince, I would love to see him dancing beneath the moon and chanting and praying to Big Herb the money god, but I won't hold my breath. I would love to see it though. Mr Prince, if you're reading this post, I urge you to give it a try. You might like it. You'll definitely enjoy the power and the thrill of being able to talk to any dead person you choose. Think of all the bankers who have passed over to the other side. These guys will be your new friends, offering you the best advice that not even money can buy. If you ask me to, I will guide you. I will be a bridge over troubled water for you. Take my hand. At least think about it. If you need me, I'll be waiting for you on the astral plane. Please come and see me.

Cowen Asset Management launches next week

I am looking forward to Cowen Asset Management launching itself on the UK market next week. I always get a buzz from such things.

I remember when Shaman Money Management first came on the scene. We had such high hopes, we were so enthusiastic, so full of life. We were young then. But the bastards at the top of the company ruined everything. The way I see it, you're either a financial shaman or you're not a financial shaman. MAKE YOUR MIND UP! WHAT ARE YOU? Some people just don't get it. I'm still feeling bitter about it. I had some good colleagues at SMM, decent people who made an effort to contact the spirit world. These people know who they are. BUT THE SCUMBAGS! They know who they are as well. Morons who wouldn't know one end of a crystal ball from the other, who wouldn't know what an Ouija board looked like if it smacked them in the face. SCUM!

Stonehage: rich suffer higher inflation

Giuseppe Ciucci, chief executive of Stonehage (a wealth management adviser), says that rich people in London are suffering from a higher rate of inflation than the average joe in the street.

Well, I'm all broken up about these rich people. They should take a look at my life. Forget about fine wines and big cigars, do these wealthy layabouts have any idea how much a decent pack of tarot cards costs these days?

Saturday, 3 November 2007

The ninth curse of Magnus

Thy investemonts shalle faile, and ye shalle be pottluss.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Pearl vs Standard Life

Pearl and Standard Life are still fighting each other and throwing insults around, but what about the poor zombies at Resolution? They are caught in the middle.

Dougie Smith from the Finsbury Square Zombie Club was on the phone to me this morning, and he said, 'It's very distressing to see this happening. Don't they care about the welfare of the poor zombies at all? I've had zombies coming to me in floods of tears. They feel very unloved at the moment, and they are scared. They want to know what will happen to them when Resolution actually is taken over by either Pearl or Standard Life. Zombies can be very sensitive at the best of times, but we've only just got through Halloween and - it's a mess really.'

I feel for the zombies, I really do. It's not fair. The zombies working in insurance and banking are very simple souls. They only care about their accounts, and profit and loss, and credit and debt. I hope Hugh Osmond and Sandy Crombie can sleep at night.

Neil Chugani joins BBC

An investment banker from Goldman Sachs, Neil Chugani, has just joined BBC Worldwide as head of finance. Why on earth would a decent, God-fearing capitalist want to work for those lefties at the BBC?

Some people change as they get older, I suppose. I remember Jack Pickles - before he went over to the dark side. I have a confession to make: we were once close friends. He could have been a first-class financial shaman, maybe as good as me. Unfortunately, he was seduced by Satan. I remember when he came back from the desert. When he spoke to me there was a sinister edge to him, and he couldn't look me in the eye. Something happened out there. I survived the desert, but you can be tempted. Of course, Jack is a very rich man now and he probably thinks this is all sour grapes. Well, it ain't. I wouldn't swap places with him for all the tea in China.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Charles Sherwood: pay packets should stay secret

I'm never going to drink again. Anyway, Permira partner Charles Sherwood reckons private equity chiefs should be able to keep their massive pay packets a secret.

Fair enough. But what else will remain a secret? I need an aspirin. Is Mr Sherwood ever going to mention all the financial shamans and money mystics who are working in private equity? I feel sick. I don't ever want to drink whisky again.

Mr Sherwood says buyout firms need to be less secretive on some matters though, to gain the public's trust. Brilliant. Let's hear about the shamans. I want some coffee.

Michael Dobson sells shares for £7.3 million

I'm feeling a bit rough today - after last night, but I'll try my best to write about the Schroders boss - if it makes you happy.

Apparently, Mr Dobson has sold off 550,000 of his shares. Schroders has just made its biggest quarterly profits ever. That David Pitt is a bastard. I only wanted a shandy, but he was giving me whiskies - one after another. I don't even drink whisky. I feel awful.