Thursday, 28 February 2008

Marcel Ospel and his supreme duty

Marcel Ospel, chairman of UBS, was given a rough ride yesterday at an emergency shareholders' meeting. The meeting was shown live on Swiss TV, and various characters from top fund managers to small investors called for the resignation of Mr Ospel. This was all because UBS has been Europe's biggest loser in the US subprime crisis. But Marcel stood firm. He said he was not resigning, and that it was his supreme duty to stay with the bank and help it overcome its current troubles. Well, I've got news for Marcel. As a capitalist and banker, it is actually his supreme duty to devote himself to Big Herb the money god. I'm afraid that comes before everything else. Sure, I admire his devotion to UBS - he's not a quitter - but this talk of supreme duty disturbs me.

It also disturbs David Pitt - chief priest in the cult of Big Herb. I spoke to him this morning, and he said, 'Is this guy on drugs? Big Herb is the lord of all money. Your supreme duty is to fall before him, on your knees, and worship him. If bankers like Mr Ospel forget that, well, we're all going to hell in a handcart, aren't we? This is the thin end of the fucking wedge, this is. What's going to happen now? Are we going to see bankers, traders, and analysts just pleasing themselves, eh? Saying - oh, Marcel reckons it's all right to do this or say that, fuck Big Herb and what he wants. Well, let me tell you, you don't fuck Big Herb. Big Herb fucks you. If he wants to, he can close your whole stinking life down. He can take away your bank accounts, cancel your credit cards, dispose of your shares, smash your Porsche up. There ain't nothing he can't do, or won't do. You pay him respect, or you're fucked.'

I then asked David what he would say to Mr Ospel if he met him. He told me, 'Simple. I'd just say - on your knees, boy! Offer yourself to Big Herb. Beg for forgiveness. Oh, you sinner. You terrible, terrible sinner - repent! Bring Big Herb into your life. That's what I would say, or something along those lines. But what I'm thinking of now is sending the boys round to have a word with him. No, fuck it. I'll send a team of ghosts in. That will scare him shitless. I did that once to some bloke at Barclays Capital. He wet himself. Really funny.'

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Schroders funds: a mystical celebration

O Schroders, the time has come to bestow a great blessing upon you. Your funds are magnificent, and the gods are mad for everything you have to offer.

O Schroders, Ganesh loves Asian Alpha Plus A! A blessing on all your funds!

O Schroders, let's celebrate - Corporate Bond A, European A, Euro Alpha Plus A, Euro Smaller Cos A, Far East Income A, Gilt & Fixed Interest A, Global Climate Change A, Global Emerging Markets A, Global Equity Income A, Global Prop Securities A, Income A, Income Maximiser A, Japan Alpha Plus A, Managed Balanced A, Managed Wealth Port A, Medical Discovery A, Monthly High Income A, Pacific A, Recovery A, Strategic Bond A, Tokyo A, UK Alpha Income, UK Alpha Plus A, UK Equity A, UK Large Cap A, UK Mid 250 A, UK Select Growth A, US Small & Mid Cap A, US Smaller Cos A.

O Schroders, Big Herb loves your funds as well. Celebrate - All Mats Index Linked Bond I, Diversified Growth Fund I, Global Quant Core Equity I, Institutional Global Equity I, Prime UK Equity I, US Quant Core Equity I, Emerging Retail PUT.

O Schroders, what a great joy to be alive in these times!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

O Satan, you love the money

O Satan, you love the money, but you're not getting mine. Oh no, you're not. You and Jack Pickles can take me to hell and back, but you're not getting the money.

In the howling chaos of that dark night when I saw you and Jack dancing to a Rolling Stones record, you thought you could come to me and steal all my cash. O you damn fool! I am protected by the angels, by Big Herb and Ganesh, and I have the power of a million mystic candles burning in my righteous heart.

O Satan, you love the money, but you will not triumph in the Square Mile or Canary Wharf. I can see your dark workers skulking about. Do you really think that Jack and his cohorts can outwit me? Do you think I was born yesterday?

O you mad devil, you sick angel, I have never been born! I swim through the eternal cosmos for all time! I am outside time - imagine that! You can stretch your tiny mind as far as you like and still not know half of the truth of the world's foremost financial shaman. Ha! I will destroy Jack Pickles! He will get what's coming to him. And who will you send against me then?

O Satan, you love the money, but you're not getting mine. Down, Satan! Down into the pit! You want to sprinkle me with fire? It will never work. I'm fireproof!

O Satan, you love the money, but it will be your undoing.

Monday, 25 February 2008

City law firms and the hourly fee system

Top London law firms are being forced by their clients to reform their hourly charges system. A lot of work now is either fixed fees or success fees. Good. No one wants to see lawyers ripping people off.

But you're probably wondering, aren't you, how financial shamans and other mystical workers charge for their services? I bet you're wondering that. Well, don't worry, I will tell you. A lot of banks employ shamans and mystics, and they get a salary plus bonus. But there are some shamans - such as myself - who work freelance, and they negotiate with the client. It can be hourly rate, fixed fee, or success fee. Do you feel better now? Too many people are needlessly worried about financial shamans and money mystics. Ooh, what are they doing? How much are they getting paid? Are they going to destroy the banking system? Just chill out, will you?

I have been speaking to award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby, and he told me, 'I work on a success fee basis. If I don't get results, I don't get paid. There was an interesting case recently. Some goon at ABN Amro wanted me to use my mystical powers to track down his Rolex watch, which he had lost in a nightclub somewhere. Not my normal work, but he was willing to pay top dollar for its recovery, so why should I give a shit? I'm just out for the money, me. Anyway, I found the watch, but he tried to pull a fast one. He said the Rolex I had found was not his. He said he would know his Rolex anywhere. But then the cheap bastard tried to buy it off me for £500. I said - listen, mate, this is your fucking watch. I know it is because I did a fucking soul scan on you. And it's worth thousands. You were going to pay me £1500 for getting it back, and that's what I want. Well, he gave me £1000, and I took it. But Jesus Christ! Getting money out of a banker is like getting blood out of a stone. I'm seriously thinking about doing something else for a living. I sometimes think I would be better off working in a fairground, do you know what I mean?'

Friday, 22 February 2008

Goldman Sachs: Guardians of the Mystic Candle

The following 346 Goldman Sachs managing directors have joined the Guardians of the Mystic Candle (third echelon) -

Christopher M. Barter, Mark Carroll, Jane P. Chwick, Nicholas P. Crapp, James H. Donovan, Michael L. Dweck, Gregory H. Ekizian, Richard A. Genna, Gary T. Giglio, Peter Gross, Douglas C. Heidt, Peter Hollmann, Philip Holzer, Peter T. Johnston, Gioia M. Kennett, Gregory D. Lee, Johan H. Leven, Tobin V. Levy, John V. Mallory, John J. McCabe, Leslie S. Nelson, Nigel M. O’Sullivan, Arthur J. Peponis, Michael J. Richman, Thomas M. Schwartz, David G. Shell, Ralph J. Silva, Caroline H. Taylor, Peter K. Tomozawa, Eiji Ueda, Gregg S. Weinstein, Martin M. Werner, C. Howard Wietschner, Kurt D. Winkelmann, Wassim G. Younan, Donald W. Himpele, James H. Rogan, Ruud G. Hendriks, B. Michael Covell, Lori B. Appelbaum, Scott B. Barringer, Joseph M. Busuttil, Jin Yong Cai, Valentino D. Carlotti, Eduardo Centola, Daniel L. Dees, Gregg A. Gonsalves, Rumiko Hasegawa, Edward A. Hazel, Kenneth L. Josselyn, Ryan D. Limaye, Allan S. Marson, Lance P. Meaney, J. Ronald Morgan III, Mark J. Naylor, Todd G. Owens, Alan M. Rapfogel, Susan J. Scher, Nicolas F. Tiffou, John E. Waldron, Hilary E. Ackermann, Elizabeth D. Anderson, Susan M. Benz, Nicolas F. Burgin, Kenneth W. Coquillette, Alvaro del Castano, Robert K. Ehudin, Katherine B. Enquist, Benoit Herault, Lisette M. Lieberman, Lora J. Price, David Z. Solomon, Randolph A. Stuzin, Damian E. Sutcliffe, Pawan Tewari, Gavin E. Wilson, Steve Windsor, Martin Wiwen-Nilsson, Mark Perwien, Edward Madara III, Stephen J. O'Flaherty, Alasdair J. Warren, Ian Gilday, John Chrysikopoulos, Vincent Duhamel, Nick S. Advani, Analisa M. Allen, Andrea Anselmetti, Stephanie K. Bell-Rose, Andrew C. Bound, Russell A. Broome, Shawn P. Byron, Marguarite A. Carmody, Christian P. de Haaij, Mark E. DeNatale, Katinka I. Domotorffy, David P. Eisman, Patrick J. Fels, Maria M. Grant, Christopher E. Hussey, C. Annette Kelton, Michael E. Koester, Roy I. Lapidus, Laurent Lellouche, Jesse H. Lentchner, Marvin Markus, Thomas F. Matthias, Carolina Minio-Paluello, Junko Mori, Massoud Mussavian, Louis Piliego, Michelle H. Pinggera, David D. Seeberan, Jonathan W. Summers, Klaus B. Toft, Naomi Matsuoka, Philip J. Moffitt, Marc A. Rothenberg, Peter A. Seibold, Joseph F. Squeri, Christoph W. Stanger, Irene Y. Tse, Andrea A. Vittorelli, Denise A. Wyllie, Oliver R. Bolitho, Lester R. Brafman, Cynthia A. Brower, Philippe L. Camu, Robert J. Ceremsak, Frederick C. Darling, Gregory A. Finck, Timothy B. Flynn, Elizabeth Fontenelli, Linda M. Fox, Kieu L. Frisby, Vishal Gupta, Elizabeth M. Hammack, Brian J. Lahey, Hugh J. Lawson, Deborah R. Leone, Scott E. Molin, Craig J. Nossel, Carol V. Pledger, Louisa G. Ritter, Josephine Scesney, Clare R. Scherrer, Eileen M. White, Deborah B. Wilkens, Samuel J. Wisnia, Michael P. Lap, Rachel Ascher, Patrick T. Briody, Martin Cher, Ann S. Costello, Matthew J. Fassler, James R. Garman, Laura A. Holleman, Steffen J. Kastner, Annette L. Krassner, Arline Mann, Charles P. Eve, Jonathan A. Beinner, Andrew S. Berman, Laura C. Conigliaro, Douglas C. Grip, Mitchell J. Lieberman, Theresa E. McCabe, J. William McMahon, Jonathan S. Sobel, Michael A. Troy, Kendrick R. Wilson III, Peter C. Aberg, Robert A. Berry, Craig W. Broderick, Gordan E. Dyal, Roger C. Harper, David J. Kostin, Hughes B. Lepic, Robert J. Markwick, Pamela P. Root, Gary B. Schermerhorn, R. Douglas Henderson, Michele I. Docharty, Keith L. Hayes, Daniel E. Holland III, Teresa E. Holliday, Paul J. Huchro, Edith A. Hunt, Timothy M. Kingston, Richard E. Kolman, John J. Lauto, Kevin A. Quinn, Karen D. Seitz, Daniel L. Sparks, Stephen P. Hickey, Teresa M. Wikinson, Joel M. Wine, Andrew E. Wolff, Jennifer O. Youde, Lauren J. Zucker, Edin Buturovic, Thomas G. Fruge, Clifford D. Schlesinger, Steven Ricciardi, James W. Kilman, Simone Russo, Charles W. Lockyer, Mark R. Etherington, Carlos Pertejo, Reza Ali, Gail Kreitman, Enrique Del Rio, Vincent L. Amatulli, Ramaz A. Ashurov, Andrew J. Bagley, Susan E. Balogh, Jennifer A. Barbetta, William C. Bousquette Jr, Janet A. Broeckel, Lisa O. Busumbru, John H. Chartres, Hong Lum Julian Cheong, Teresa Clarke Ellis, Cyril Cottu, Kyle R. Czepiel, Manda J. D'Agata, Sven Dahlmeyer, Iain N. Drayton, Christina Drews, Suzanne Escousse, Steven A. Ferjentsik, Sarah J. Friar, Masaki Gobayashi, Kandace K. Heck, Alison J. Howe, Stephanie Hui, Kota Igarashi, Raymond W. Kamrath, Svetlana Kurilova, Nyron Z. Latif, Matthew D. Leavitt, James E. Levine, John H. Ma, Matthew F. Mallgrave, Edith Mandel, Graeme E. McEvoy, Shane McKenna, Penny A. McSpadden, Lisa Rabbe, Wendy E. Sacks, Vivien Khoo, Tammy A. Kiely, Dirk L. Lievens, Dimitri Linde, Patrick O. Luthi, Whitney C. Magruder, Monica M. Mandelli, Christina M. McFarland, Carolyn E. McGuire, Joseph J. McNeila, Jack Mendelson, Rodney B. Miller, Grant R. Moyer, Gersoni A. Munhoz, Michael Nachmani, Allison F. Nathan, Gregory G. Olafson, Beverly L. O'Toole, Daniel A. Ottensoser, Peggy D. Rawitt, Kathleen M. Redgate, Mark G. Retik, Robert E. Ritchie, Scott M. Rofey, Denis R. Roux, Noah C. Roy, Andrei M. Saunders, Gabriel T. Schwartz, Wenbo Shao, Connie J. Shoemaker, Jonathan E. H. Sorrell, Bertram N. Spence, Steve Sun, Sulian M. Tay, Jacquelyn G. Titus, Pamela C. Torres, Stellar K. Tucker, Russell J. Watson, Vivien Webb Wong, Steven D. Winegar, Maria Teresa Tejada, Jill L. Toporek, Klaus Umek, Thomas S. Vandever, Richard C. Vanecek, Daniel S. Weiner, Stefan Weiser, Donna A. Winston, Brendan Wootten, Haitao Zhai, Ruibin Meng, Alexander Dubitsky, Xuan Karen Fang, Julie A. Harris, Tamin H. Al-Kawari, Timothy F. Vincent, Ronald S. Kent, Damien Liebaut, Erich Bluhm, Celeste J. Tambaro, Eric M. Kirsch, Randall L. J. Yasny, Jason B. Mollin, Linda Koster, Chetan Bhandari, Daniel J. Bingham, Sergei S. Stankovski, Kyu Sang Cho, Mark A. Belamaric, Andre H. du Plessis, Clark B. Winter, Matthew A. Grayson, Julian C. Allen, Joanne L. Alma, Victoria J. Attwood Scott, Caroline R. Benton, Neeti Bhalla, Roberto Caccia, Christian H. Carl, Glen T. Casey, Eva Chau, Michael J. Civitella, Luke E. Clayton, Anne Marie B. Darling, Mary L. Dupay, Andre Eriksson, Karen A. Frank, Huntley Garriott, Belinda S. Gaynor, Gabe E. Gelman, David J. Goldburg, Franz A. Hall, Ning Hong, Pierre Hudry, Andrius Jankunas, Amna Karim.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Angela Merkel threatens to isolate Liechtenstein

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has threatened Liechtenstein with isolation in Europe. She wants the tax haven to change its bank secrecy rules. She reckons that Liechtenstein's banks are encouraging lawbreaking in Germany by basically offering opportunities for tax evasion.

I think I can understand why Liechtenstein is so secretive - and it has very little to do with tax evasion. Just like the City of London, Liechtenstein is absolutely infested with money ghosts. They are everywhere and they steal any money they can get their ghostly little hands on. Otmar Hasler, Liechtenstein's prime minister, is understandably embarrassed about the ghosts, and that is why it is highly unlikely that the principality will want to make its banks more open any time soon. I urge Angie to be sensitive about this issue. How would she like it if, one day, she fancied buying an ice cream, only to dip into her purse and find all her money gone? And then imagine she turned around and saw some foul ghost laughing, stuffing its face with ice cream bought with her hard-earned money. How would she like that?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Credit Suisse suspends traders

Credit Suisse has had to suspend some of its traders. The bank has just revealed losses of $2.85 billion, and a lot of this loss was due to pricing errors made by the now suspended traders.

Well, Credit Suisse must take action. I recommend it brings in a crack team of financial shamans right away. Forget about the money mystics. This is a job for the big boys. Top shamans do not make pricing errors. Remember we get our information straight from the astral plane. We're dealing with the ghosts of dead stockbrokers. We're dealing with Big Herb and Ganesh, for Christ's sake. Give us the job, and we will do it. You can always count on a shaman. We will never let you down. O Credit Suisse, you fools! When will you come to us, with your arms open? We only want to help. Hark! What is that sound? Is it the wailing of a trader in the bowels of hell? Call on us! O Credit Suisse, call on us, and we will save you!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

UBS allowed to open a branch in India

Great news for UBS. After a three-year wait, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to grant UBS a commercial banking branch licence. This means UBS can now establish a branch that will offer wealth management services. Drinks all round!

But why was there such a long wait? Er, officially, it had something to do with a tax department investigation. However, I know the real truth. Why do you read this blog? Because you know I am privy to inside information that no square financial journalist can access. Well, here's the real truth. It was Ganesh the elephant god who was holding everything up. Basically, he was pissed at UBS because it was not treating him with the right respect. He told me, 'UBS thought it could come to my country, my territory, and start throwing its weight around. But I have forced senior executives at UBS to pray to me every day. And so they have their little licence. That's all it took. A bit of respect.'

Monday, 18 February 2008

Northern Rock nationalization: is there life on Mars?

The chancellor Alistair Darling announced yesterday that Northern Rock is going to be nationalized. Apparently, Goldman Sachs has advised the government to do this as the bids put in by Virgin and the bank's management team did not offer good value for money for the taxpayer. Understandably, shareholders are spitting blood. They will probably lose all their money now.

Well, this is just like that TV programme Life on Mars, isn't it? Nationalization? Nationalization! I have been speaking to Maurice Marble III - my adviser on all scientific matters - and he told me, 'I have known for ages that both Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown are time travellers. They are obsessed with the 1970s, and they are determined to drag the entire country back to that period. How will they do this? With a giant time machine which is hidden under the Millennium Dome or whatever it's called now. Northern Rock is just a test. As soon as they switch this machine on we will all be wearing flares again and listening to Slade, and eating Space Dust, and riding around on Chopper bikes, and working three days a week. Personally, I can't wait. I've always been a big Suzi Quatro fan.'

Thursday, 14 February 2008

I've got the flu like you won't believe

It's been a real struggle for me to write my blog this week because I've got the flu like you won't believe. I'm worried it might be bird flu. I haven't felt this bad since I had shaman's sickness when I first became a shaman many years ago. I think Carlos Castaneda wrote about shaman's sickness in his book The Teachings of Don Juan. Basically, to become a shaman you almost have to die. You get as close to the other side as you can, but without actually passing over. Well, that's what this week has been like. A nightmare.

And it has really screwed me up on the astral plane. I can't do business without the astral plane - it's more important than the internet - but there is no way I can show my face on the plane in my present condition. And various spirits have been trying to contact me. Have you ever tried to drink a Lemsip, while wrapped up in blankets, while sneezing all over the place, while coughing your lungs up, and while fighting off the advances of a ghost who wants to enter your body and pass on some hot financial news? It's really stressful.

Anyway, I'll be back on Monday next week.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Les Echos editor resigns

Erik Israelewicz, the editor of France's top business newspaper Les Echos, has resigned and gone to rival La Tribune. He said the owners of Les Echos were interfering with him. Shocking. However, the chairman of the Les Echos group, Nicolas Beytout, claimed that Mr Israelewicz was setting fire to the newspaper. This is shocking as well.

My friend Benny Monroe once set fire to an investment bank's headquarters using only his mind. He had a grudge against the company. Is this what is happening over in France? I have no idea if Erik is a shaman or not, but if he is one, setting fire to his old newspaper will be a piece of piss. All he has to do is meditate on the offices of Les Echos, and then send a cosmic fire spark from his mind to the newspaper. I hope he can control himself though. I don't want to see financial shamans getting a reputation for this sort of thing. We have enough problems with Jack Pickles.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

BlackBerry email crashes in America

The BlackBerry mobile email service in America had a critical severity outage yesterday - according to the company. Basically, top executives and financiers were unable to use their BlackBerries and were left up shit creek without a paddle. Well, you should never rely on only one technology.

I have been speaking to my friend Benny Monroe who works on Wall Street, and he told me, 'It was very funny actually. All my colleagues were banging their heads against the wall in utter frustration, but I just switched to telepathy. An old shaman's trick. I was able to do business all day long while everyone else was standing around in awe of my amazing ability.'

But one of his colleagues later told me, 'Benny is too impressed with himself. When my BlackBerry went the way of all flesh, I used the email on my computer. Telepathy? It's a joke. Benny was carrying on like a drama queen.'

Monday, 11 February 2008

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn: spotting financial crises

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, reckons the IMF is brilliant at spotting brewing financial crises - much better than the Financial Stability Forum.

I have been speaking to Arthur Simmons from the Chaos College of Finance about this, and he says, 'The IMF can't spot jackshit. Do you know it doesn't employ one financial shaman? Not one! My graduates have been turned away. The IMF says it doesn't have any time for witch doctors and associated goofballs. Are these people insane? Why don't they ask themselves a few questions? Like: Would Goldman Sachs be the most powerful investment bank in the world without its secretive shamans committee? Er, no. Is Barclays Capital bitterly regretting the fact that it didn't employ any shamans or mystics as managing directors the other month? Er, yes. Was that picture of a small figure on the surface of Mars a genuine alien? Well, I don't know. But you can see what I'm getting at, can't you?'

BASF chief Jurgen Hambrecht: teaching the banks a lesson

Jurgen Hambrecht, the chief executive of BASF, reckons people who work in banks are pretty stupid because they are not doing what BASF is doing. He says BASF is just wonderful at managing risk and keeping its products as simple as possible. Banks should follow BASF's example, apparently.

Well, BASF is a chemicals group. I'm quite sure that chemical products are completely different from complex banking products. Unless I'm missing something. I have been speaking to Susan Flint from Bad Moon Investments, and she says, 'Banking and chemicals? There's no connection! As far as I know, mystical workers haven't shown any interest in chemicals - except for Maurice Marble III, and he's nuts. Financial shamans and money mystics only work well in finance and banking. I can't explain why. I suppose Mr Hambrecht doesn't understand how banking has changed over the last year since Money is the Way came online. I wish these people would keep up.'

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Yahoo: staff morale declining

Due to all the Microsoft takeover talk, staff morale at Yahoo is falling fast. So much so that Jerry Yang, the Yahoo chief executive, had to tell staff yesterday that other options were being considered. It seems Yahoo is scared of Microsoft, and of what the software giant may do to its vision and ethos if it gains control of the internet firm.

Well, I have no idea how this will all pan out - but let's concentrate on morale! Firstly, as soon as Yahoo employees turn up for work in the morning they should all be herded straight into the meditation room for a thirty-minute session. Clean out those chakras! Feel the mystic force of the cosmos! That is just common sense. I was shocked to find out yesterday that meditation sessions at Yahoo are not compulsory. Ridiculous. Jerry will have to make them compulsory if he wants to stop his company disappearing down the toilet. After meditation, what next? The desks where employees spend most of their day. You need crystals! A desk without at least one crystal is a desk that ain't going nowhere - mystically speaking. You need vibes! Vibes from the cosmos streaming into the crystal and then filling the whole workplace with pure love. Without that, any company - and I mean any company - is screwed. In this modern world where mystical capitalism is really taking off, you are lost unless you can get this love, these vibes, and the whole package working for you and your company.

Finally, Yahoo employees have to take responsibility for the state of their own souls. It's no good relying on Jerry the whole time. He may be the leader, but he can't see into everyone's soul, can he? Of course not - I'd be very surprised anyway. I can do that stuff, but then I'm me. So I say to all Yahoo employees - take a good look at yourself, be happy, don't worry too much about the Maharishi passing away (he wasn't all that), and trust in God.

The Maharishi is dead

As anyone involved in mystical capitalism knows, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has died and presumably gone over to the other side. How do I feel about it? Well, it's sad when anyone dies, but I always considered the Maharishi a charlatan. Sure, he was a top capitalist - worth up to £1 billion - but still a charlatan.

I have been speaking to David Pitt - chief priest in the cult of Big Herb - and he said, 'This guy was about as spiritual as Yogi Bear, or my arsehole, or Yogi Bear's arsehole. I mean, give me a fucking break. This mofo took everyone for a big ride. He made hundreds of millions of dollars - nothing wrong with that - but where was the spirituality? At least with Big Herb you are guaranteed enlightenment, mystical power, and a whole load of cash. Big Herb had so much money he made the Maharishi look like a welfare case. And if anyone reading this wants to get rich, come and see me or one of my associates at one of our Big Herb temples. Money is just the start. You'll be flying around like a yogi motherfucker in no time with us. And I mean the real thing. Not bouncing up and down on a mattress like some halfwit. You'll be flying through the fucking air! And making a shitload of money while you're doing it. Who could want for more?'

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

It's the Year of the Rat, not Cat

The 48 Group held a dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel this week to celebrate the Chinese new year. Loads of business types were there, including a certain Ian Barlow who is a senior partner at KPMG. Unfortunately, Ian was going around wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Cat. I suppose his heart was in the right place, but it is actually the Year of the Rat.

I have been speaking to Michael Oliver from Mystical Cash Gurus about this, and he said, 'Easy mistake to make. No doubt he was thinking of the Al Stewart song. I've been in a similar situation, but not with the Chinese. A couple of years back I attended a special meeting of the Finsbury Square Zombie Club. I was one of the guest speakers. Everything was going swimmingly until I wished everyone a happy Night of the Living Dead. I thought that was what they were celebrating. Well, the mood turned ugly. I now know that zombies working in finance and banking consider the Night of the Living Dead as a vulgar event. A stain on their culture. It was dreamt up by a couple of entrepreneurs in Haiti. Basically, these two guys were trying to cash in on the zombie craze. They're dead now. Died in mysterious circumstances. I nearly died in mysterious circumstances, I can tell you. One zombie approached me and threatened to suck my brain out through my nose. I was sceptical myself, but had to take him seriously, as he was so aggressive. But a stroke of luck - Dougie Smith, whom we all know and respect, appeared at that very moment. He was late for the meeting, but turned up just in time to save my skin. And who knows what would have happened to my skin? Do you know what I mean? Anyway, he calmed things down. I had to apologize to everyone, and it's all forgotten about now - hopefully. They're very touchy though, aren't they, these zombies?'

Brian Pitman: Northern Rock investors have to face reality

Sir Brian Pitman, the man leading Virgin's bid for Northern Rock, has said that a takeover of the bank will not mean that there will be a gravy train for the consortium. He says that investors in the bank have to face up to reality.

Ah yes, but what reality? There are many realities in this world, and the next. Should investors face the reality of nine-to-five life, taking the kids to school, fish and chips for dinner, and a silly sitcom on the TV? Or is there something else? Is there a deeper and more confusing reality beneath or above everyday life? Is Sir Brian a mystic? Is he alluding to the world of spirit? Is he saying that a ghost could very well be sitting next to you on the train in the morning? Is he saying that? Is he saying that you should light a candle before you make any investment decisions? Maybe he is saying that you should never trust a lonely old woman living all alone in a small cottage in the woods. Who knows what he is saying? Who cares?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Moody's wants to change the debt rating system

Moody's has got a great idea, apparently. It wants to rate complex debt securities with numbers rather than letters. Under this new system there would be grades from one to 21. Does it matter? Isn't any system confusing? Sometimes I feel so tired.

I must be a masochist because I phoned Keith Busby this morning and asked him for his opinion. He said, 'Forget about letters. Forget about numbers, my friend. What we need are mystical symbols. Symbols would separate the wheat from the chaff. A picture of the sun could be the top rating. Think of the sun and its beautiful rays of sunshine! Think of the warm glow inside you! As for corporate or government bonds, well, I don't know. How about a picture of a smiling hermit? A happy, smiling hermit! Just imagine that. There are endless possibilities. All it takes is a bit of imagination.'

Monday, 4 February 2008

Martin Currie: looking for weirdos and nutters

Martin Currie Investment Management has a recruitment advert in a newspaper today. Martin Currie reckons it is not the usual place for such an ad. The company claims it is not looking for the usual people. It wants to hire unusual people.

Well, what a breath of fresh air this is. At last a financial company has come out and honestly announced that it wants to employ financial shamans and money mystics. No more skulking around. No more emails to me in the middle of the night, shyly enquiring if I might possibly know a shaman or two who would be interested in sprinkling their magic in the direction of whatever firm. This is what we want to see! Bold as brass. A company practically screaming - give us your shamans, your mystics, your zombies and gods!

Martin Currie has to be careful though. It is highly unlikely that a recruitment manager inexperienced in the ways of the shaman would know what to look for. Instead of hiring top-notch pukka shamans and mystics, Angela Petrie at Martin Currie will probably find herself bringing in an assortment of oddballs, loners and freaks. I've seen it happen. When I was at Shaman Money Management the bosses decided to go on a big recruitment drive. The human resources girl was a nice girl, but she didn't have a clue. I tried to intervene. I advised caution. But the bosses wouldn't have it. They told me to keep my nose out and concentrate on my own department. So I did. You can guess what happened next. The biggest collection of nutballs, kooks, misfits, degenerates, junkies, whores, chancers, cads, ponces and muppets ever assembled in one place all assembled in the office of Shaman Money Management. The sort of people Terry-Thomas would call an absolute shower. The company went bust four months later. Let that be a warning to Martin Currie.

Tony Burke goes to Ansbacher

Tony Burke has moved from Citigroup to the private bank Ansbacher to be its head of product development. Brilliant news. I'm sure he'll do a good job.

However, I have been speaking to Maurice Marble III about Mr Burke's new position, and he is not at all happy. He told me, 'That should have been my job. They offered it to me first, but it didn't work out. I was there for one day. Ansbacher didn't approve of the products I was developing. Bastards. They didn't want my money machine. Are these people sick? Tell me, are they sick? I have invented a machine that materializes money, you know, cash. And not counterfeit moolah either. The real stuff! But they didn't want it. Oh no, not them. Ansbacher wanted to know where the money was materializing from. I told them straight. I said it's nothing to do with them where the fucking money is coming from. Jesus! Money is money. Just be grateful that money is coming in. Or do you want to end up on the street begging strangers for change with snot all over your raincoat? That's what I actually asked them. And then they said I was immoral. Me! The balls of these people. Everyone knows what a racket the banking system is. I was just trying to turn it into a bigger and better one, that's all. But I'm immoral now! Unemployable as well, no doubt. What a fucking world this is! Can you believe it? Can you believe the shit I have to put up with?'

Friday, 1 February 2008

Fear and loathing in the Merrill Lynch fixed-income department

It's bonus time in the City and most bankers have something to smile about - despite the credit crunch. But the word on the street is that all is not well in Merrill Lynch's fixed-income department. Some characters there have seen a cut in their bonus, and workers in other departments have been told not to venture into fixed income.

I know a financial shaman at Merrill - I can't name him - and he told me, 'Everyone in my part of the bank was egging me on to go into the fixed-income department. They know I'm good at astral travel - and so wouldn't be seen. Well, I gave it my best shot but somehow ended up in the ladies toilet. Really embarrassing. People have to understand that astral projection is not an exact science.'

Goldman Sachs: at the mercy of Jack Pickles?

This is all rather serious, but there is absolutely no need to panic. I have been tipped off that the demonic financier Jack Pickles is planning to recruit up to 286 Goldman Sachs managing directors. I have compiled a list of these directors below. None of them are financial shamans or money mystics, but Jack feels that they are susceptible to his charms. He is hoping to train them in the dark arts.

Can anything be done to stop Jack Pickles? Well, maybe. I have adapted a curse from Magnus's Book of Money Curses which may help. If you are one of the directors on the list, I advise you to recite the following before bedtime every night -

O Jack Pickles, if you come near me, if you even think of coming near me, you will burn! Yes, burn, burn in the pit, with all your confederates, the sick angels. O mad Jack, there is no hope for you. Michael Fowke will protect me. Big Herb will protect me. You're going to lose. Go away, Jack. Flee!

Here's the list: John P. Curtin Jr, Richard A. Friedman, David A. Viniar, Armen A. Avanessians, Gary D. Cohn, J. Michael Evans, Peter S. Kraus, Edward C. Forst, Timothy J. Ingrassia, Richard T. Ong, David R. Boles, Matthew S. Darnall, Laurie R. Ferber, Audrey A. McNiff, J. Michael Sanders, Matthew T. Fremont-Smith, Robert D. Hormats, Geraldine F. McManus, Ravi Sinha, Steven H. Strongin, Eileen Rominger, Dean C. Backer, Alision L. Bott, Jeffrey F. Fastov, Bruce A. Heyman, Ivan Ross, Jack Levy, Mark F. Dehnert, William A. Badia, Tin Hsien Tan, Timothy H. Thornton, Ingrid C. Tierens, Nadia Titarchuk, Mark R. Tolette, Patrick M. Tribolet, Sebastian Varga von Kibed, Massimiliano Veneziani, Nicholas H. von Moltke, Alan S. Wilmit, Carinne S. Withey, Salvatore T. Lentini, David N. Frechette, Khaled Eldabag, Leonard Brooks III, Keith Tuffley, Alla Gil, Ana C. Cabral, Dina H. Powell, Anthony Gutman, Miriam T. Esteve, Patrick Tassin de Nonneville, David M. Inggs, Shirish B. Godbole, Jonathan R. Symonds, David R. Cukierman, Andrea Vella, Karl J. Robijns, Timothy Callahan, Markus L. Aakko, Nicholas Alston, Alexandra J. Anido, Jean-Baptiste Aussourd, Brian W. Bolster, C. Kane Brenan, Michael A. Cagnassola, Christian Channell, Yves Checoury, Remi Colinmaire, Gavin S. Da Cunha, Bruno P. De Kegel, Jeffrey L. Dodge, Andrew J. Duke, Jonathan M. Egol, Halil Emecen, David A. Fox, Maksim Gelfer, Tamilla F. Ghodsi, Marc C. Gilly, Douglas Horlick, Toby C. Watson, Han Song Zhu, Pekka I. Soininen, Michael T. Smith, Heather Arnold, Tuan Lam, Jess T. Fardella, Kristin F. Gannon, Jonathan M. Penkin, Craig W. Packer, Kevin A. Lockhart, Massimo Della Ragione, David Z. Alter, Oliver B. Benkert, Joshua S. Birnbaum, Emmanuel Bresson, William E. Burgess, Trevor R. Busche, Roy E. Campbell II, Steven N. Cho, Timothy Craighead, Joshua C. Critchley, Tracy DeBlieck, Michael Dinias, Vance M. Duigan, Steve T. Elia, David A. Friedland, Paul Graves, Norman A. Hardie, Ericka T. Horan, Kathleen Jack, Edward C. Knight, David W. Lang, Alexander G. Loosley, David B. Ludwig, Aedan M. MacGreevy, Jeff Mullen, Hideyuki Fred Omokawa, Zara Pratley, Lloyd S. Reynolds, Michael E. Ronen, Ricardo Salaman, Thierry Sancier, Ian M. Schmidek, Stephen B. Scobie, Judith L. Shandling, Graham P. Shaw, Steven R. Sher, Ramsey D. Smith, Robert A. Sorrell, Konstantinos N. Pantazopoulos, Kenneth A. Pontarelli, Vijay C. Popat, J. Timothy Romer, John R. Sawtell, Mark D. Shattan, Adam Sherman, Keith A. Shultis, Norborne G. Smith III, Robert C. Spofford, Joseph J. Struzziery III, Adam L. Taetle, J. David Tracy, Damian J. Valentino, Pei Pei Yu, R. Martin Chavez, Atosa Moini, Dorothee Blessing, Marshall Smith, James C. Wardlaw, Mark A. Allen, Jeffrey D. Barnett, Patricia L. Bowden, Oonagh T. Bradley, Samuel S. Britton, Steve M. Bunkin, Jason G. Cahilly, Denis P. Coleman III, Carl Faker, Peter E. Finn, James P. Ganley, Michelle Gill, Alicia K. Glen, Martin Hintze, Todd Hoffman, Bradley Hunt, Dimitrios Kavvathas, Hideki Kinuhata, Geoffrey C. Lee, Lindsay P. LoBue, Bryan P. Mix, Timothy A. Morgan, Basant Nanda, Peter J. Ort, Andrew D. Richard, David T. Rusoff, Jasper Tans, Eric N. Tavel, Simone Verri, Paul E. Vigilante, Simon I. Mansfield, Matthew B. McLennan, Bruce H. Mendelsohn, Marc O. Nachmann, Claire M. Ngo, Andrew F. Pyne, Jean Raby, Daniel M. Shefter, Claudia Spiess, Roland W. Tegeder, Neil J. Wright, Sheila H. Patel, Gareth W. Bater, Marjorie Boliscar, Sally A. Boyle, Randall S. Burkert, Colin J. Corgan, David H. Dase, Colleen A. Foster, Timur F. Galen, Mark Howard-Johnson, James P. Kenney, Robert A. Koort, Jonathan A. Langer, Aadarsh K. Malde, Dermot W. McDonogh, Olivier F. Meyohas, Anthony J. Noto, Lisa L. Parisi, Krishna S. Rao, Peter J. Zangari, Alan M. Cohen, Jane Hargreaves, Linnea K. Conrad, Gregory B. Carey, Slim C. Bentami, James R. Charnley, Karl M. Devine, Laurent M. Dupeyron, Paul E. Germain, Robyn A. Huffman, Alastair J. Hunt, Poir-Mok Kee, Scott G. Kolar, Wayne M. Leslie, Kemp J. Lewis, John S. Lindfors, Christopher Milner, Elizabeth A. Mily, Kiele E. Neas, Peter H. Comisar, Brahm S. Cramer, Michael D. Daffey, Donald J. Duet, Norman Feit, David P. Hennessey, Roy R. Joseph, Todd W. Leland, Bonnie S. Litt, Joseph Longo, Mark G. Machin, Blake W. Mather, Robert A. McTamaney, Fergal J. O'Driscoll, B. Andrew Rabin, Lisa M. Shalett, Lucas van Praag, Brian Duggan, Alison J. Mass, William J. Bannon, Linda S. Daines, David A. Fishman, Orit P. Freedman, Enrico S. Gaglioti, Sean C. Hoover, Eric S. Lane, Robert A. Mass, George N. Mattson, Julian R. Metherell, Helen Paleno, Sara E. Recktenwald, Abraham Shua, Raymond B. Strong III, David H. Voon, Timothy H. Moe, Gene Reilly, Charles Baillie, Bernardo Bailo, Johannes M. Boomaars, J. Theodore Borter, Gerald J. Cardinale, Craig W. Crossman, Stephen D. Daniel, Kathy G. Elsesser, Gail S. Fierstein, Gonzalo R. Garcia, Eldridge F. Gray, Axel Hoerger, Shin Horie, Joon Kwun, Lewis S. Kunkel, Edward J. Lawrence, Nicole Martin, Dave S. Park, Sean D. Rice, Jeroen Rombouts, Michael L. Warren.