Monday, 31 March 2008

Ganesh gives Barclays the go-ahead in India

The wealth management division of Barclays has just been given permission by Ganesh the elephant god to open a private bank in India. Wonderful news!

I have been speaking to Ganesh, and he told me, 'I like the attitude of the people at Barclays. Tom Kalaris approached me with humility. He knows how powerful a god I am, and he knows the meaning of the word: respect. He's good people. I hope to have a very fruitful working relationship with him and his staff. It's a good job he didn't go to that *$^!£ Lakshmi. Otherwise he wouldn't have a pot to piss in now.'

Apologies to Lakshmi. I can in no way endorse what Ganesh said.

Joseph Stecher goes to Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners has appointed Joseph Stecher as its chief investment officer for its real estate funds of funds business. Congratulations Joe! He joins from Goldman Sachs where he managed the holy funds of the righteous funds.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Tisbury Capital withdrawals

I don't like to see this sort of thing, Mr Griffin, but I'm afraid I can't help you.

Dear reader, let me explain. Investors in Tisbury Capital are crawling over each other to withdraw their money (£670 million) from the London-based hedge fund's assets under management because of some screw-up in the States. And now Gerard Griffin - the former Citadel trader who runs Tisbury - wants me to put a 'diabolical curse on these investors'. His exact words.

Gerard, mate, who do you think I am, Jack Pickles? I only do curses on very special occasions, normally for close friends who are desperate for my help. Yes, I tried to help Drake Management at the beginning of January when it found itself in a similar situation - but I have spent time in the desert with four or five of the Drake guys and we're good friends. With respect, Gerard, I hardly know you. Besides, I don't want to get a reputation for black magic.

So, sorry, mate. I know how troublesome investors can be - they wet their pants at the slightest bit of bad news. Hopefully, they will see sense. Good luck to you.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Liontrust Asset Management not worried by fund falls

Funds managed by Liontrust Asset Management have fallen by almost a fifth during the past twelve months. Apparently, institutional investors are worried about the recent market turmoil and would rather put their money in index funds. But Liontrust - specializing in UK equities - is not worried. The group's finance director, Vinay Abrol, is confident of attracting new business.

And I know why. I know Vinay quite well - we spent some time together in the desert, oh, years ago now. He's a well-respected financial shaman, and he's not going to be worried about market turmoil. I wouldn't be at all surprised if was on the astral plane as I write this, searching for new deals, financial info, and the ghosts of ancient financiers. That's the kind of man he is. I take my hat off to you, Vinay.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Market heal itself?

Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said last week that he no longer believes in the market's self-healing power. Why not? Because he believes in something else now.

He believes in the power of shamans and mystics! He knows the market can't heal itself. The market needs mystical healing. O markets of the world, bring the light and the power of Big Herb into the market place. O bankers, O traders, you are the chosen ones, and Ganesh loves you just as much as Big Herb does. Rejoice! And behold the money king! Yes, I, Michael Fowke, am the money king, and I will lead you from misery to joy. I laugh at the credit crunch - it's nothing to me! A nightmare we shall all wake from. But the vision of the holy cash will live on and grow in our hearts. Have no fear. Cry not. A mystical burning will take hold of us soon, and we will make so much money. It's coming!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Citigroup management committee: save our souls!

My very dear friend Vikram Pandit has been on the phone to me, and he's scared. Real scared. It's the credit crunch, it's sub prime, it's Jack Pickles. Well, he wants me to bestow some kind of mystical blessing upon Citi's management committee. I said to him, 'Vikram, mate, let's not get ahead of ourselves here, what about the church of your love?' He came back with, 'The church of my love ain't shit right now. I need you, I need Big Herb, I may even need Ganesh the elephant god.' I was shocked. I said, 'Jesus Christ.' He said, 'Yeah, him too. We've got to get Jesus on board.' I said, 'Oh come on, Jesus won't be interested in this deal - remember the money lenders? It ain't happening. Big Herb, Ganesh, and myself will be all you need. What are you so worried about?' He calmed down a bit, 'All right, all right, but just do the blessing for us, please.'

Okay, you bad banking mofos, here it comes!

Big Herb smiles upon Eric W. Aboaf, Yasmine D. Anavi, Raul Anaya, Jeff Applegate, Shirish Apte, Cindy A. Armine, William A. Arnold, Vikram A. Atal, George Awad, Suneel Bakhshi, Ajay Banga, Bill Beckmann.

Ganesh is burning a candle for Stephen Bird, Sir Win Bischoff, Nicholas E. Calio, Don Callahan, Lisa M. Caputo, Sanjeeb Chaudhuri, Mark Connolly, Michael L. Corbat, Gary Crittenden, Julio A. De Quesada, John L. Donnelly, Ellen 'Bebe' Duke, Edmond Eger III, Augusto Escalante Juanes.

Michael Fowke says a little prayer for Pamela P. Flaherty, James A. Forese, Jane Fraser, Steven J. Freiberg, Scott Freidenrich, Michael B. G. Froman, Paul S. Galant, James M. Garnett Jr, Ed Garofalo, Richard Garside, John C. Gerspach, Edith Ginsberg, Edward F. Greene, Yung-Ku Ha.

Big Herb explodes in an ecstasy of mystical love for Paul M. Hatch, John Havens, Gary P. Hediger, Michael S. Helfer, Roberto Hiriart, Bonnie L. Howard, George M. James, C. P. Janardhan, Bill Johnson, Leah C. Johnson, Charles D. Johnston, Lewis B. Kaden, Sunil Kaul.

Ganesh is dreaming of better times for Kevin Kessinger, Nayan Kisnadwala, Michael Klein, Peter Knitzer, Sallie L. Krawcheck, John Krupar, Marisa Lago, Jonathan Larsen, Brian Leach, Robin Leopold, Kaven Leung, Carl E. Levinson, Jacob J. Lew, John T. Longley, Nick Lyall.

Michael Fowke is rocking on the astral plane for Alan S. MacDonald, Gustavo Marin, Maura Markus, Howard D. Marsh, Mark Mason, Les Matheson, Robert S. Matthews, Mary McDowell, Raymond J. McGuire, Manuel Medina-Mora, William J. Mills, Robert Morse, Sanjay Nayar, Vikram Pandit, Steffen W. Parratt.

Big Herb goes to hell and back for Douglas L. Peterson, Fernando Quiroz Robles, Amy J. Radin, Guru Ramakrishnan, Steve Randich, Kathryn S. Reimann, Bill Rhodes, Saul M. Rosen, Robert E. Rubin, Pat Ryan, Neeraj Sahai, Michael Schlein, Tom Schwartz.

Ganesh tells Lakshmi to pull her finger out for Yawar Shah, Deepak Sharma, Michael J. Sharp, Jane C. Sherburne, Zion Shohet, Slawomir S. Sikora, David Simon, Sheree Stomberg, Kevin Thurm, Alain Van Groenendael, Alexander G. van Tienhoven, Francesco Vanni d'Archirafi, Chris Vassiliades, Alberto J. Verme.

Michael Fowke puts a curse on Jack Pickles on behalf of Cliff Verron, Stephen R. Volk, Catherine Weir, Michael D. Weitzman, Martin J. Wong, Paco Ybarra, Shengman Zhang, Enrique Zorrilla Fullaondo.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

HBOS: the hunt is on!

Watch out! Low life City traders have been spreading false rumours about Halifax Bank of Scotland. Shares in the bank fell by more than 17 per cent yesterday after the rumours went around - claiming that the bank was seeking emergency funding and was about to collapse. The Daily Mail says (on its front page!) that one trader may have made £100 million from the fall in HBOS shares.

Well, well, well. Okay, calm down. Have no fear - because award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby is on the case. He told me this morning (rather hysterically, as it happens), 'Oh, I'm gonna get these motherfuckers, these badass rumour-mongers. I'm gonna hunt them down like dogs, and bring them to justice. You better believe it, baby. I'm like Dirty Harry. I'm like, er, what's his name, Steven Seagal. Oh yes, this time it's personal. I got my crystal ball out. I got my tarot cards ready to rock. Mark my words. They won't escape me. I want them. I want them so bad I can taste 'em.'

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

David Viniar and the radar screen

The chief financial officer of Goldman Sachs, David Viniar, has said that a takeover of Bear Stearns was never on their radar screen. Goldman is happy for JPMorgan to own the bank. So be it. But what about this radar?

I have been speaking to Maurice Marble III - my somewhat confused adviser on all matters scientific - and he told me, 'Yeah, I invented that radar for Goldman Sachs. But the bastards still haven't paid me. I sent them an invoice for $1 million. I haven't seen one fucking cent of it! This radar is a work of genius - even if I do say so myself. It can pick up any hot financial news in the world. I'm a bit concerned it didn't pick up Bear Stearns though. My guess is that Goldman is not using the thing correctly. They may be wizards when it comes to making money, but they don't have a clue about complex electronic equipment. That's why they need me. But they won't even fucking pay me! I'm at the end of my tether.'

Well, I was angry about Goldman not paying my friend, so I got in touch with the bank. I was told, 'We have never heard of this Maurice Marble III. David Viniar was speaking metaphorically.'

I should have known. That's the last time I let Maurice make a fool out of me.

Guy Hands: everyone's going to the moon

The Terra Firma boss Guy Hands has been talking about how he and his company may leave the country - due to higher taxes on capital gains and non-domiciled residents. But where will he go?

I have been speaking to the ghost of Jim Morrison - one of Guy's closest friends - and he told me, 'I live on the moon. It's very quiet up here and the view is fantastic. I've told Guy that he just has to move all his business to the moon. There is absolutely no tax - that's the beauty of it. And I, Jimi and Janis would make him feel very welcome. The thing I like about Guy is his rock 'n' roll spirit. You don't get many financiers like him. Britain's loss would be the moon's gain.'

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Chaos in the markets

O Big Herb, where art thou? Why hast thou forsaken us?

That's what I overheard one banker say yesterday. I told him to pull himself together, grow up, and start speaking proper, modern English. Some people! Big Herb has not forsaken us. He's on the astral plane right now, working his balls off and trying to bring some stability to the markets. Have a bit of faith. Has Big Herb ever let us down in the past? No.

But the markets are in a right state. Bear Stearns has gone down the toilet, Lehman Brothers lost 48.5 per cent of its value at one point yesterday (19 per cent at close), MF Global has been forced to deny rumours that Joseph Lewis is a client, the Fed may need to make another interest rate cut (it can't keep cutting), UBS … oh, it's chaos!

BUT I AM STAYING POSITIVE.

I AM THE MONEY KING. I CAN DO ANYTHING.

BELIEVE IN ME. BELIEVE IN BIG HERB. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Onboarding

There is a newspaper article today about 'onboarding.' This is a new workplace bit of nonsense where you start a new job and are given a 'buddy' to see you through the early stages. You also get a lunch mate (someone to eat your lunch for you? I don't know), trips to the pub, and a friendly chat with the managing director. Paul Armstrong from the management consultancy Penna says it is all about making employees feel valued beyond the recruitment stage. Myself, I think I would prefer waterboarding with the CIA.

I have been speaking to award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby about this, and he told me, 'Believe it or not, I once had a job. And this onboarding business is nothing new. I worked in a psychic hotline call centre, and I was given a buddy, and I hated his guts. He kept following me around like a little puppy. I couldn't go for a slash without him being there and offering advice - that's how bad it was. It became unbearable though when the company tried to induct me into some kind of satanic cult, I kid you not. I'm still too scarred by the experience - mentally and physically - to go into the details with you, but what I will say is: if your new firm gives you a buddy, and he looks slightly dodgy, and he has a peculiar manner - like an insurance salesman, and he talks to you about the Shadowlands (don't ask), then run for your life! Just get the hell out of there. You'll thank me. Believe me, you'll thank me.'

IR Society: the shape of things to come

Don't make me laugh. Sir Stuart Rose - chief executive of Marks & Spencer - is going to be the keynote speaker at the 22nd IR Society Annual Conference on 1st May at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. Apparently, the conference theme is the shape of things to come.

Well, what exactly does Stuart Rose know about the shape of things to come? Does he have any training whatsoever in financial shamanism? Er, no. Does he see dead stockbrokers? Er, no. Does he hear - at midnight - the lonesome howl of a money ghost searching for its lost wallet? Er, I'd be very surprised. Does he even own a crystal ball, for fuck's sake?!

I rest my case.

David Cameron: off his nut

It's official. David Cameron is off his nut. Is this man supposed to be a Conservative? His latest wheeze is to tell businesses that they must be more socially responsible, and go in for 'responsibility deals' - whatever the fuck they are. He doesn't get it, does he? Businesses are supposed to make money. End of. Not tackle obesity or save the polar bear.

David needs a dose of mystical capitalism. He needs to realize that making money is the highest and most glorious thing a human being can devote his or her life to. Money is spiritual. Dave should take that message into his heart, and then everything else will fall into place.

Monday, 17 March 2008

JPMorgan buys Bear Stearns for $240 million

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to buy Bear Stearns for almost $240 million. This is an amazing cut-price takeover of the stricken bank. Last January Bear shares were $169. The JP Morgan deal values the shares at a mere $2 each. Since Friday, hedge funds associated with Bear Sterns - such as Davidson Kempner Partners and Fir Tree Partners - have been like rats leaving a sinking ship. But what about the captain, Alan Schwartz? What will happen to him? And what about the violinists - will they play on?

Well, forget about all that shit. I have been speaking with award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby, and he told me, 'I remember a clairvoyant friend of mine who was going out of business and had to have a closing-down sale. He had this amazing crystal ball, which I had always coveted. It must have been worth at least a grand. I offered him £200. Well, you should have seen his reaction. He went fucking mental, calling me a bastard creep motherfucker and all sorts. I said to him - hey, dickhead, you're going out of business, remember? Who gives a toss if your crystal ball is the best ball around? You can't eat it, can you? You can't feed your kids with it, can you?'

You see, even someone like Keith has a hard, ruthless side. I wouldn't be surprised if JPMorgan had him in on the Bear Stearns deal.

Cazenove looking for new chief executive

The very English and gentlemanly investment bank Cazenove is searching for a new chief executive. Robert Pickering resigned recently, and various characters are in the running to replace him - Bob Wigley, Simon Robey, Ian Hannam, Alan Carruthers, James Leigh-Pemberton, and myself.

What?! Yeah, me. Unfortunately, I have already had one meeting with the Cazenove crowd and my white sheet didn't go over at all well. The thing is, very few people actually know what I look like. It's better for my mystical operations that way. So when I turned up to meet the Cazenove lot there was a problem. They asked me if I would be wearing my sheet if I took over at Cazenove. I told them I certainly would be wearing it. They frowned a bit and I got the distinct impression that they did not approve. I probably won't get the job now. Well, it's no skin off my nose. I only did it for a bet anyway. But there is a serious point here: Cazenove and all the other investment banks have to realize that banking is changing. I am the future. And people like me. The sooner they grasp this fact, the better.

Rotman: a new way to think

The Joseph L. Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) is inviting people to the Park Lane Hotel on 25th March to hear Prof. Roger L. Martin talk about how successful leaders win through integrative thinking.

Well, I hope everyone has a great time. But a new way to think? Oh dear. Business leaders who want to think differently need only one thing. What's that? You guessed it - my blog. Think about crystals, about ghosts in the City of London, about zombies sitting on the benches in Finsbury Square. Think about all this and free your mind!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Does Standard Life's Sandy Crombie use crystals?

Sandy Crombie - chief executive of Standard Life - has been talking about how he is in no hurry to retire. He has said, 'I have not got a retirement date. In that sense things are crystal clear.'

Crystal clear? Well, no wonder he has no plans to retire yet. He may be approaching sixty, but he is still full of life and energy, and I imagine that is all down to the power of crystals. Keith Busby says, 'When I had my nervous breakdown, the only thing that got me through the bad times was my favourite crystal. I carried it everywhere, and the cosmic love that radiated from it lifted me up to a higher level of existence. Away from all the shit, the scum, the parasites sucking my life away. I was free and clear. Sandy's the same. He's operating on a different level to all the Standard Life goons he's surrounded by. Good luck to him.'

Certificate in Quantitative Finance: congratulations!

Congratulations to the delegates from the June 2007 program who obtained the CQF designation -

Mette Odegaard, Miao Chun, Francesco Adria, Colin Alexander, Umberto Alvisi, Anubha Anubha, Pankaj Arrawatia, Varinder Bains, Harry Barman, Rajinder Basra, Philip Bennett, Nicolas Bertrand, Umesh Bhagwan, Haris Bilal, Joseph Illick Breed, James Brown (Papa's got a brand new certificate), Craig Cattell, Deepak Chanchlani, Dipankar Chatterji, Manish Chauhan, Jiayi Chen, Li Chen, Yi Ping Chen, Kevin Cheng, Li Chi, Jonathan Chong, Ben Clissold, Jose Manuel Cueto, Arvind Damarla, Charles Davidson, Fabian De Keyn, Conrad Denk, Jonathan Devereux, Tony Dixon, Siek Djoe, Wen Long Dong, He Dongliang, Humphrey Drummond, Andy Duncan, Harry Dunlop, Osondu Eze-Uzomaka, Liu Fang, Shao Fankai, Mark Fayad, Zhao Fei, Matthew Fletcher, Julie Gadaut, Vicki Goodwin, Michael Goss, Gang Guo, Oliver Hamilton, Martin Hampson, Sofie Hansen, Satinderpal Jandu, Jeroen Jansen, Sinisa Jurasic, Sahil Khan, Michael Kishelev, Sascha Kokott, Gus Koutsoumbelas, Toon Krooswiyk, Partha Kumar, Sophie Lados, Christophe Laforge, Kenny Lee, Sam Lee, Iain Charles Leverett, Stephen Lewis, Rune 'Stone' Ljungmann, Samuel Losada, Liao Lu, Neil Macleod, Nathanael Mayo, Niall McCarthy, Sarah McGill, Markus Meister, Christina Metzger, Farhad Mian, Fan Miaomiao, Steven Morgan, Stefano Moro, Hok Kwan Ng, Fahmi Ngah, Mika Oie, Kieran Othen, Panos Parpas, Vinit Patel, Christian Vestergaard Paulsen, Nuria Pauly, Stephen Peers, Vikas Phanse, Adam Ragan, Shlok Rastogi, Pradeep Kumar Ravula, Conor Richardson, Andrew Rigby, Christopher Rusby, Philip Schenk, Matthias Schneider, Jamie Sellick, Vivian Sheng Yuan Shi, Uri Shimron, Chakradhar Singh, Anthony Storm, Stefan Stoykov, Vanisha Thanawala, Anne Thomas, Ye Ting, Nigel Townley, Peter Tuan Ton-That, Niels Van Vliet, Jan Vancraeynest, Sriharsha Vangapaty, Matthew Villaruel, Martin Von Der Mey, Toby Wade, Anthony Waite, Christophe Fares Wakim, Guansen Wang, Graeme Wedderburn, Rene Wells, Christopher Witton, Zhang Xiaofang, Wang Xiaohu, Yu Xinxin, Mingjuan Xu, Shouwen Xu, Koji Yasuno, Zhang Yimeng, Rong Yue, Franz Bernhard Zehner, Yubei Zhang, Tinozivashe Zhou, Xiong Zhuang.

Well, as I say, congratulations to all of them. However, I would be far more impressed if they enrolled in Arthur Simmons's Chaos College of Finance and obtained a qualification in financial shamanism. Then everyone would know that they were really serious.

Gordon Brown's glove puppet presented his first Budget yesterday

But I can't be bothered to write about it.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Gill Switalski: is she a whirling dervish?

A top City lawyer by the name of Gill Switalski is seeking £13 million in damages after winning a sex discrimination lawsuit against her former employer F&C Asset Management. She says she was bullied and intimidated over an eighteen month period. Interestingly, she was described by colleagues as a 'whirling dervish'.

My dear friend Arthur Simmons from the Chaos College of Finance has seen these whirling dervishes in action. I was speaking to him earlier today, and he told me, 'I've seen these whirling dervishes in action, when I was travelling in Turkey in my youth. Bloody impressive they were too. They were whirling around, as you might expect. Extremely spiritual guys as well. All-round good eggs. I was surprised to find out that Ms Switalski is one of them, but you live and learn, don't you?'

Monday, 10 March 2008

Credit Suisse and the hedge fund clones

Credit Suisse will be unveiling its plan today to replicate hedge fund strategies. It has teamed up with three top academics and it will launch three clones. Other investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch have launched hedge fund clones in the last year or so. Obviously, it is much cheaper to invest in these clones than the real thing - but are they even better than the real thing? And I don't even like U2.

I have been speaking to my adviser on all matters scientific, Maurice Marble III, and he told me, 'Forget about these hedge fund clones. Cloning bankers is the future! I've been keeping quiet about it so far, but listen to this - for the last four months I have been holding secret talks with Barclays Capital, and the bank has now commissioned me to clone a sample - say a dozen - of its best investment bankers. Bob Diamond personally gave me the green light. If I can get this right, the world will be my oyster. There is a very good chance Bob will want me to clone all his staff. These are very exciting times. We're entering a brave new world.'

Well, dear reader, you have to take everything Maurice says with a pinch of salt - so after speaking with him I was straight on the phone to Bob Diamond. He told me, 'Absolutely ridiculous. This Maurice character has been pestering us for ages, so I decided to meet up with him and hear him out. What he suggested was unbelievable. He wants to clone our workforce. He reckons we wouldn't have to pay these clones a penny. They would be our slaves. I told him to piss off.'

Marshall Wace raises £1.5 billion for new hedge fund

Congratulations to hedge fund manager Marshall Wace! At a time when hedge fund companies are struggling to raise money, Marshall Wace - run by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace - pulls this rabbit out of the hat, a market-neutral global Tops fund. And it doesn't get any better than that.

I'm feeling so positive today, in spite of the awful weather. Let's celebrate all the hedge fund managers in the universe! Dear reader, you can choose! Chant this shit! O - (hedge fund manager of your choice) - you are the greatest, the most beautiful, the most mystical hedge fund manager in the cosmos! Big Herb loves you, and I'm pretty sure Ganesh does too. O - (hedge fund manager) - may all the angels protect you and your funds! And screw Jack Pickles! He ain't nothing.

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.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Jardine Lloyd Thompson: fit for purpose

I can report that Jardine Lloyd Thompson's chief executive, Dominic Burke, has declared the insurance broker fit for purpose. JLT has been through two very troublesome years - due mainly to falling prices in certain areas of the insurance and reinsurance markets. JLT shares were up yesterday, but I'm confused now. Confused by some of Dominic's language. Speaking of JLT's past troubles, he said that they were in the trenches and pushing and fighting some headwinds, but then the headwinds turned around and they came out of the trenches, and now they are charging at the headwinds, except for some character by the name of Tim who fell back in the trenches and broke his leg and then got all fucked up with mustard gas or some evil chemical shit like that. All very confusing.

I have been speaking to the chief executive of Barclays Capital, Bob Diamond (Bob and I go back years, but we have only started talking again after a falling out we had in 2006 - I won't go into it) and he said, 'I'm bloody confused about all this. What is the man actually trying to say? Trenches? Headwinds? I can't make any sense out of it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what Mr Burke should be saying is - the ghosts of all the dead financiers in history were swirling in the cosmos and the sun was burning a hole in our accounts, but then Ganesh appeared on the scene and things were righteous and holy for a while until that bastard Shiva turned up and rained on our parade, but we turned things around with a beautiful crystal which was vibrating and spreading love everywhere, and then we made a load of money.'

Bob, mate, you're not wrong. You're not fucking wrong.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

I knew I wanted to be a financial shaman at the age of five

David Morley - a senior partner at Allen & Overy - says he knew at the age of thirteen that he wanted to be a solicitor. Yes, I know what you're thinking. Each to his own. It takes all sorts to make a world, etc. But I can beat that. As the title of this post makes quite clear, I knew I wanted to be a financial shaman at the age of five.

It all started one day when I was counting the coins in my piggy bank. Altogether there was £3.47. How do I remember this over thirty years later? What's it got to do with you? Just keep reading and don't ask so many stupid questions. I've got a good memory, all right? Well, as I say, there was £3.47 in the piggy bank. But then my eyes (third eye? I don't know) were drawn to this strange gold coin that I hadn't previously noticed. The only marking on the coin was the face of a peculiar old man. He looked very much like a hermit. Of course, I didn't think that at the time, but I've had dealings with quite a few hermits since, and they all look pretty much alike. Which makes me think that hermits aren't very imaginative or original. They've all got beards and wear silly gowns. Well, the ones I've met have been like that. But I digress. Getting back to this gold coin, I can now tell you - and I've never told anyone this - the coin started to speak to me. And yet again I know what you're thinking. You're thinking - this guy's a fucking head case, even when he was a kid. Yeah, yeah, very funny, keep laughing. Some of you are so small-minded. I'm telling you the truth. The old man pictured on this coin spoke to me. It could have been a mystical hallucination, I'll grant you that. But even hallucinations are a part of reality, as any mystic or shaman worth his salt will tell you.

What did the old man say to me? You're expecting me to tell you that now, with your attitude? Get the fuck out of here! All I will say is that he revealed my destiny to me. Make of that what you will. And I bet David Morley is not laughing. He knows where I'm coming from.

FSA: banks must record and store client calls

The Financial Services Authority has told banks and other financial businesses that they must tape telephone calls with their clients - relating to orders for stocks and bonds and whatever else they're dealing in. The FSA reckons this will help it combat insider dealing and other market abuse. Files will have to be kept for six months.

This is all wonderful. But it won't have any impact on financial shamans and money mystics. How on earth is the FSA going to keep tabs on shamans who are constantly going into a trance and communing with the dead? And when I go on to the astral plane, how will the FSA have the slightest idea what I'm getting up to?

And that's why the banks love us shamans and mystics so much.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Warren Buffett: is death the end?

Some disturbing news. In a letter to shareholders last week, Warren Buffett - chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway and the so-called 'Sage of Omaha' - said that he had discarded the notion of continuing to manage the portfolio (BH) after his death. Well, this just smacks of defeatism to me. There is no reason why - when he finally passes over to the other side - Mr Buffett cannot continue running, or at least monitoring, his business.

I have been speaking to David Pitt about Warren, and he said, 'This is just crazy talk. Crazy, crazy, crazy talk. Look at Big Herb. Sure, he is no longer the boss of Herb Finance, but as the money god in the world of spirit he has far more power and influence than he ever had on earth. When the terrible day comes, Warren should take a leaf out of his book. Big Herb should be the model for all bosses and chief executives who are facing the prospect of shuffling off this mortal coil and moving on to the undiscovered country with a bare bodkin. But I suppose it all depends on how mystical or spiritual you are. I feel sorry for those poor atheist freaks among us who don't believe in God, spirits, the afterlife, Satan, angels, the astral plane and all the rest of it. What have they got to look forward to? Well, the problem is, if they don't sort out their financial affairs before they pop their clogs, they could find themselves on the other side without a pot to piss in. And then they would have to go through all the grief of contacting someone like Keith Busby. Now, he may be an award-winning financial psychic, but I personally think Keith is a total twat. I wouldn't go to him if I wanted to know what the time was, let alone ask him to transfer my money and shares from earth to heaven. Well, anyway, atheists are pretty dumb, aren't they? Frankly, I don't give a shit what happens to any of them. Sod 'em.'

Watson Wyatt: new hires

Some exciting news. Watson Wyatt has appointed Mayur Lodhia as an investment consultant. He joins from Old Mutual Asset Managers. Also, there are some new analysts at the consultancy: Kevin Jeffrey joins from Alexander Forbes Financial Services, George Aristides from Deloitte & Touche, Mihir Shah from Barnett Waddingham LLP, Aamer Hanif from Oxford University, and Julien Roueche from God knows where.

Also, Samuel Hanratty comes in as senior financial shaman.