Thursday, 6 March 2008

Fidelity fined for accepting gifts

Yesterday, thirteen current or former Fidelity Investments employees - including the living legend Peter Lynch - were fined by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for improperly accepting over $1.6 million in gifts from outside brokers. Mr Lynch was fined $15,498, and the mutual fund company itself fined $8 million. The gifts included tickets to the Super Bowl, and even tickets for U2 concerts - who wants to see them?

This could have happened to me when I was working at Shaman Money Management. A client who was absolutely over the moon with a deal I did for him offered me the skull of a thousand-year-old African shaman. I said to him (and these were my exact words) - you've got to be joking, I don't want this. Yeah, I'm a keen collector of shaman memorabilia, but I draw the line at fucking skulls! Are you out of your mind? How do you even know it's the skull of a thousand-year-old shaman? There's one born every minute. The geezer who sold it to you must be laughing his head off.

That was a bad move. The client took offence, and for the next eighteen months or so I was plagued by abusive emails and phone calls. The guy even came to my house and left a dead chicken on my doorstep. I wouldn't have minded so much if he was from the Congo or somewhere like that and it was a part of his culture - but this wanker was from Finland. In the end the police and social services had to get involved, and the last I heard he was locked away in a nuthouse and calling himself Toyo the Great.