Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Happy Halloween

I hope you all have a wonderful time tonight. I actually have to give a lecture in a Big Herb temple. David Pitt only asked me yesterday if I would say a few words about mystical capitalism. So I'll be making a few notes this afternoon and mentally preparing myself. David will obviously be conducting the main ceremony afterwards. I can't wait.

HSBC sells Marbles and Beneficial

HSBC has sold two of its credit card businesses - Marbles and Beneficial. SAV Credit has bought them for £385 million.

HSBC will now concentrate on its remaining credit card brands, but I'm wondering if credit cards will soon be obsolete. There must be a way you can transfer money from one account to another using mystical powers. Let me explain. If you wanted to buy a new sofa for a certain amount of money, couldn't you use your mind to instruct your bank to take the required money from your account and send it to the sofa shop's account? Just think how easy that would be.

Michael Oliver from Mystical Cash Gurus says, 'I can't see it happening yet. Not even the most powerful shamans or mystics can manage such a feat without errors - so what chance would your average joe in the street have? Maybe a thousand years from now when the human race has evolved a bit more, but it's just a pipe dream at the moment.'

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Gold close to $800 an ounce

The price of gold has soared to nearly $800 an ounce. It has reached its highest level since 1980. The reason for this is that investors have been scared shitless by the falling dollar and inflation, and they want a safe haven for their money.

This is a great time to turn base metals into gold - if you can manage it. I once tried to create gold (in my misspent youth), but it ended in disaster. I nearly burnt the house down. Alchemists are a special breed. Not necessarily more special than financial shamans, but they have unique skills which can take twenty years or more to acquire. If you're an alchemist you haven't got much time for anything else in your life, and you have to be very good to make any money out of it.

I only know one truly successful alchemist - I can't name him - and he recently told me, 'Even if you do manage to turn base metals into gold, the problem is shifting the gold afterwards. You have to explain where you got the gold from, and it can be quite awkward. Fortunately, I have an arrangement with a bank in Switzerland and they take all my gold - no questions asked.'

Hugh Osmond says Standard Life is ugly

Hugh Osmond, the boss of Pearl, has accused Standard Life of being an ugly version of Friends Provident. Sandy Crombie, the boss of Standard Life, is refusing to retaliate. Both companies are going after the Resolution zombies.

Well, there is nothing more ugly than a zombie. Mr Osmond and Mr Crombie should form an alliance and fight the zombies together. That's my advice. But I have upset Dougie Smith now. He says, 'Zombies are beautiful. I won't have anyone saying a bad word about them. And I'm surprised at you, Michael. I thought you were in favour of zombies working in banking and finance. I'm shocked.'

Some people can't take a joke. Of course I don't really want Pearl and Standard Life attacking zombies. Zombies are ugly though. Sorry.

Monday, 29 October 2007

MPC Investors doing well

A London-based hedge fund company, MPC Investors, is doing great business at the moment - at a time when hedge funds are suffering. What's the secret of its success?

Well, I wouldn't like to say. All I can say is, with Halloween coming up a lot of hedge fund managers are dabbling in the dark arts. I myself will be quite busy this Halloween, although I will not be getting up to anything untoward. This is a time of year well known for witches and ghosts and demons, etc., but a lot of white magic practitioners will also be very active. I will attend a meeting at a Big Herb temple - in a secret location. I won't be going to the temple in Leadenhall Street because it's too high profile, and I've found that you get a lot of City traders in there who are just going through the motions. They are not fully committed to Big Herb and the concept of mystical capitalism.

At this meeting on Wednesday night we will have to make an offering to Big Herb. Don't panic! It won't be a human sacrifice or anything horrible like that. He likes toasted crumpets. As bizarre as it sounds, that is what Big Herb wants us to serve up on the altar. Each to their own, I suppose. It should be a great night. I just hope I don't have a hangover the next day.

Will Stan O’Neal retrain as a financial shaman?

Stan O'Neal will probably leave Merrill Lynch today, due to recent losses at the bank brought on by the turmoil in the credit market.

I have been speaking to Arthur Simmons about Mr O'Neal and he told me, 'I would like to see Stan retrain as a financial shaman. It would send out a powerful message to Wall Street that financial shamanism has come of age. We need a big player from the mainstream banking world to show the Americans that there is no need for them to be afraid of mystical capitalism.'

While I agree with Arthur that we certainly need a big player to come on board, I don't think it will happen in America yet. If it happens anywhere, it will probably happen in London's Canary Wharf first. As we all know, Canary Wharf is the most mystical financial centre in the world, and that won't change anytime soon.

Algebris wants to force change at Generali

UK hedge fund Algebris has a small shareholding in Italy's largest insurer, Generali, and is trying to gain support among investor groups to force changes upon the company.

This reminds me of the time when I was working at Shaman Money Management and I was trying to force the company in a new direction. The bosses wanted to invest in the latest technology - powerful computers and the like. I wanted to invest in old technology. As far as I was concerned, we didn't have enough crystal balls, scrying fluid or even tarot cards. It was a joke. Financial shamans and money mystics were having to share basic equipment. On one occasion I ran out of fortune oil. The company refused to buy any more until the end of the month and we lost a massive amount of business as a result. I just hope Algebris knows what it is doing.

Jim Hunter studies fund managers

A business psychologist by the name of Jim Hunter has been studying fund managers and he has come to the conclusion that they do not work well in large teams.

A bit like financial shamans really. Your average fund manager would do well to take a leaf out of my book and retreat to a cave for a period of time. I'm not suggesting fund managers should go into the desert for years on end - the way I did in my youth, but they should try it for a couple of weeks. The isolation would do them good, and they could meditate on their funds.

Friday, 26 October 2007

EasyJet buys GB Airways for £103.5 million

EasyJet has just bought GB Airways. It will now be able to compete with British Airways at Gatwick airport. However, EasyJet did not want GB Airways's slots at Heathrow.

Keith Busby says, 'I can't understand why people even use airplanes. If I want to go to New York, I can be there in under a minute - using astral projection. I can travel anywhere in the world and it doesn't cost me a penny.'

I also use astral projection to get around the world, but there are problems with this mode of travel. The main problem is that you can't take your body with you. Have you ever tried to book into a hotel without a body? It's bloody difficult. Have you ever eaten food in a restaurant without your body being present? You leave an awful mess behind. I think airplanes are going to be with us for a long time to come.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

No need for Tony Hayward to get depressed

I hope BP chief executive Tony Hayward isn't going to get depressed about BP's terrible third quarter results. These things happen in business, but I'm sure BP will bounce back.

I suggest that Mr Hayward goes in for a bit of meditation. It will chill him out a lot and he'll probably forget all about his troubles.

Here's what he should do. Lie down in a darkened room. Only ponces sit with their legs crossed. Think about a happy event in his childhood. Relax and take deep breaths. Imagine a money spider is crawling over his head. Imagine a blue orb is floating above his head. Concentrate hard. HIS PANTS ARE ON FIRE!!! - at this stage, Mr Hayward should jump up in a mad panic. This is called shock meditation. It is a special technique I have developed over the years that prepares you for anything. After realizing his pants aren't really on fire, the BP boss should be able to go about his normal business with a new enthusiasm and an amazing amount of energy.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Michael Coogan criticizes the Chancellor

The director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Michael Coogan, has laid into Alistair Darling. He says the Chancellor risks causing a panic among customers by saying that mortgage companies are being irresponsible when it comes to lending.

Everyone seems to have it in for the Chancellor at the moment, maybe it's his eyebrows. I spoke to Keith Busby last night - yes, we're speaking again - and he said, 'Alistair Darling has white hair and black eyebrows. A very interesting combination. It suggests to me that the Chancellor has a very mystical side to his nature. I would not be surprised at all if he converses with spirits in his spare time, but I can't imagine what advice they must be giving him.'

I can't imagine either. His plan to scrap taper relief on capital gains tax is crazy. He may or may not converse with spirits, but he certainly hasn't had any training in financial shamanism.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

A vision of Canary Wharf

O beautiful, glorious Canary Wharf, where the investment bankers roam free, I had a vision of you. You were a living thing alive in my dreams while I was still awake! In a mad rush through the astral plane of my mind I saw bankers, traders and analysts all dancing and singing - they were so happy to be alive. Your skyscrapers are magnificent - piles of banknotes reach for the sky! Where is the pain of life when you're surrounded by money? There is no pain. There is no grief. A wild celebration of the world's most mystical financial centre should swim through the minds of all the people who love money, who love stock, who love derivatives, who worship the gods of the holy cash.

The Square Mile is square! O Canary Wharf, come alive in the dreams of the men and women who work in your towers. Barclays, HSBC, Citigroup - let's celebrate the presence of these banks and all the others.

I had a vision. Financial shamans and money mystics and zombies and gods became one with the bankers and traders and analysts. One mass of people! Financial masters living in harmony. A money heaven on earth! It was so beautiful. Canada Square and Cabot Square were shimmering in a haze of mystical colour bleeding from the smiles of money ghosts on a day trip from the City of London. Don't fear the ghosts. Yes, they steal, but show no fear. And the money vampires? Forget them. For this was a good vision. There was no evil and no fear and everyone had money. People were stumbling around with money stuffed in their pockets - they were drunk on the success of the markets. Do not fear the credit crunch. It is a nightmare we shall all wake from. But my vision will live on. It will not fade. Take it into your heart and live it forever.

Where are your bonuses, your fortunes, your millions and billions, O you bankers and financiers? The greatest fortune is in your soul. There is money in your heart and you must cherish it. And cherish the towers of Canary Wharf. These are your temples where you worship the money gods. Big Herb and Ganesh are on your side.

My disciples, you've heard the words before, now hear them again - money is fire in the head! If you work in Canary Wharf, O my dreamy workers, toilers in cash, you must learn about the fire. Money is a burning! In my vision I saw the flames of the holy cash in everyone's eyes. No banker was without this fire. It will come to pass. It shall become the truth. The wise ones will live this truth. O you brave workers in Canary Wharf, you must take the lead now. Surely the Square Mile and even Wall Street will follow. You are the blessed ones. Take responsibility for all the money in the world and live a life in the fire of this money. You will grow. Your minds will expand. New horizons will open up for you, and you will glide towards your destiny.

O Canary Wharf, you are truly a living thing to me now. You breathe money and suck in all the souls of the money people who work in your towers. The glory is yours. Spread this glory. Let everyone share it. This is my vision. I am the money king and I can do anything. This is what I know. My vision will live. Money will burn me. Money will burn everyone.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Kitty Ussher: it's all good

City Minister Kitty Ussher has rejected the crazy notion that the troubles with Northern Rock have damaged the City's reputation as the world's leading financial centre.

She's right. I have been speaking with top financial shamans and money mystics in the City, and they have all told me that the omens are good. Michael Oliver from Mystical Cash Gurus said, 'I have been studying the clouds above Threadneedle Street. Fortunately, there is no blood in the clouds. As we all know, bloody clouds are bad news. But there's no blood.'

I have also been speaking to award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby. I phoned him yesterday and he told me, 'I'm eating my lunch at the moment. Can you call back later?' I didn't actually phone him back because I felt he was deliberately being awkward. There was no reason why he couldn't interrupt his lunch for a minute or so and say a few words. Don't get me wrong, I like the man, but he really pisses me off sometimes. Yes, he has emotional problems and all that business with the breakdown, but still - do you know what I mean? There are ways to behave, and ways not to behave.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Resolution: takeover battle

There could be a takeover battle for zombie fund manager Resolution this week. Standard Life and Swiss Re are plotting a joint bid to rival Pearl's bid of £4.5 billion. Clive Cowdery, Resolution's chief executive, is considering all the options.

Dougie Smith, secretary of the Finsbury Square Zombie Club, says, 'It doesn't really matter who gains control of Resolution. I'm just surprised that there is a need for zombie fund companies these days. Here at the Finsbury Square Zombie Club we do a lot of fund-raising for zombies down on their luck. There is also the new club in Canary Wharf. What's the problem?'

There isn't really a problem as far as I can see, but I don't think the zombie funds should be closed down. There will always be a lot of zombies who need money, and the zombie clubs can't help every time. Matthew Soames is a zombie who works for HSBC, and he told me recently that he approached the Canary Wharf Zombie Club for a small loan and the club wouldn't give him one. Now, this is nothing to do with Dougie Smith, but it shows that zombies need a wide range of companies and organizations to support them in times of trouble. Resolution and other zombie fund managers are here to stay.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Felix Dennis

My mystical powers are increasing by the day. Where will it all end? I'm going to be like Richard Burton in The Medusa Touch at this rate.

Do you know of Felix Dennis the publishing tycoon? He used to be a hippie living in a bedsit. Now he's worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Well, I was walking down Regent Street around midday yesterday when a man passed me who looked a bit like Mr Dennis, but without the beard. I then started to think about Felix Dennis and his brilliant book How To Get Rich, and I wondered what I would say to him if I did actually bump into him in the street. ONE MINUTE LATER. Only one minute later, who walks right past me? Mr Felix Dennis himself! Large as life. And the funny thing is I didn't even say anything to him. I was too shocked. Yes, sometimes I even shock myself with my amazing powers.

What are the odds of something like that happening? Tell me, what are the odds? Incredible.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Peter Taylor: happy to pay more tax

Private equity tycoon Peter Taylor is happy to pay more tax. Mr Taylor is the boss of Duke Street Capital, and he is not at all bothered by the changes to capital gains tax that the Chancellor Alistair Darling announced yesterday.

But I know a man who isn't happy. I won't name him - not yet, but he is also a private equity tycoon. I spoke to him last night and he told me, 'I am very upset about this. I need all the money I can get my hands on - but not for selfish reasons. I am in the process of setting up a religious cult. Do you know how much money that takes? I will need at least two mansions in the countryside in which to house my devotees. I will also need a headquarters in the City. I am aiming to be bigger than Big Herb.'

Well, this man is deluded. Surely his devotees - if they are devoted enough - will stump up the money for the mansions. And how can he claim not to be selfish when he admits he is setting himself up as a god? And bigger than Big Herb? It won't happen. Big Herb is not going to be eclipsed by a johnny-come-lately money god who isn't even dead yet. You can't be a true money god and live in the material world at the same time, unless of course you're a charlatan. The only reason I haven't named this man is because his uncle is a good friend of mine. But I'm tempted to name him, really tempted. There is still time for him to abandon this idea of a cult.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Graduate financial shamans getting jobs

Some good news. The first crop of graduates from the Chaos College of Finance are now finding jobs in investment banks in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf.

Arthur Simmons, founder of the college, says, 'I must admit I'm feeling a bit nervous. I hope my old students don't let me down. This is the first time financial shamans have been trained in a college. We're entering a new phase of mystical capitalism.'

I'm sure everything will work out fine. I had my reservations at first, but when I met a few of these students at the Exchange Square show in May I was very impressed by their ability and professional attitude. I wish them all the best.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Absolute Capital Management: portfolio managers leaving

Two portfolio managers, Frank Siebrecht and Stefan Heieck, are leaving Absolute Capital Management for personal reasons. This follows the departure of Florian Homm last month.

This reminds me of the time I left Shaman Money Management for personal reasons. SMM has gone out of business now - mainly because I left the company. The bosses there didn't have a clue. The main problem was that they insisted all their shamans were office based. I tried to explain to them that shamans need to spend a great deal of their time in the desert. Sure, there aren't any deserts in Britain, but there are plenty of caves in places like the Lake District. But they wouldn't even consider that option. They wanted their shamans to keep regular office hours - nine to five! What a joke! And that's why I left.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Andy Hornby: time to be cautious

No, no, no, it is not time to be cautious. I say throw all caution to the wind. Andy Hornby, chief executive of HBOS, is worried about the mortgage market.

Don't be worried! Don't be cautious! Fortune favours the brave. O brave financiers of the world, come together! Unite! We will face the horror.

When the abyss opens up before you, what do you do? You jump in! Enjoy the danger and live life to the full. Nietzsche once said that you should build your home on the side of a volcano. I think he said it anyway. Sounds like a pretty stupid thing to do. Didn't he go insane? Never mind.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Light Blue Optics secures £12.7 million funding

Light Blue Optics is a company that makes miniature laser projectors that one day may be embedded in mobile phones. The company has just secured £12.7 million venture capital funding and Maurice Marble III is not at all happy about it.

I spoke to Maurice earlier today and he said, 'Why won't people invest in any of my inventions? I'm smart. I want some respect. I've invented a projector that you plug into your brain. It projects your dreams on to a wall while you're sleeping. It could make millions and yet no one is interested. It's so frustrating.'

Poor Maurice. I guess he's one of those misunderstood geniuses, like Van Gogh. Or maybe not.