Friday 29 October 2010

Hugh Hendry is a tortured soul

You read it here first. Have you ever wondered why the infamous hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry expresses so many controversial opinions? It's not because he loves the limelight - although he certainly does; no, it's because the man is a tortured soul. He is haunted by demons - literally. Every night, Jack Pickles and his hellish crew enter Mr Hendry's world of dreams. They turn his subconscious into a horror show. Naturally, the horror slides, like a snake, into Mr Hendry's conscious mind; and then, in his waking hours, Mr Hendry opens his mouth and the words pour out. Insane, terrible words which no rational man would dare utter, not of his own volition. Do you remember, a few weeks ago, Mr Hendry was telling everyone he was planning to short the entire cosmos? Where do you think he got that idea from? From Jack Pickles! The world's most demonic financier! Of course, ask Mr Hendry about Mr Pickles, and he will tell you that Jack is a charming character and a personal friend of his. Ha! Nonsense! Mr Hendry is terrified of Jack, and Jack hasn't even introduced him to the lord of the lower levels yet; yes, Satan! That's what this is all leading up to. And it will happen, believe me. Then where will Mr Hendry be? 'In hell' is the short answer.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Mr Hendry has expressed a desire to spend some time in the astral desert of our love. I have made it pretty clear to him that he doesn't have the correct attitude at present. Now, right now, Mr Hendry has got to make changes in his life. Getting rid of Jack would be a great start. He should push Jack away. Out, out, evil one, go! Tonight, in the land of Nod, Mr Hendry must make a stand. Out, out, evil one, go! When Jack Pickles enters him, Hugh Hendry must summon up all his willpower and shout out in his sleep: out, out, evil one, go! IT MUST HAPPEN TONIGHT! Halloween is only two days away! Christ! I feel like the Duc de Richelieu. This isn't my job. Oh, the things I do for complete strangers! I must be some kind of saint. However, I have absolutely no intention of going after the Talisman of Set. I mean, it's a mummified penis. No thank you. Not my cup of tea at all.

If Mr Hendry gets through this, children, we'll throw a party for him in the astral desert. Maybe even the physical desert. Why not? It'll be a lot more hassle, but I think Mr Hendry will deserve it. He needs to be strong now. Tonight is going to be a big night for him.

Good luck, Hugh!

Thursday 28 October 2010

SEC charges Craig Karlis and Ahmet Devrim Akyil (and their Forex firm) with fraud

Those crazy cats at the SEC have been at it again. Yes, charging bad guys with crimes against humanity, and money. The latest two hapless traders to experience the wrath of the SEC are Craig Karlis and Ahmet Devrim Akyil of Boston Trading and Research. They fraudulently raised $40 million or so from 750 investors!

'The bait was the promise by Akyil and Karlis to limit investor risk, and the switch was the theft and unauthorized trading that cost investors 90 percent of the invested funds,' said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. 'If you don't deliver what you promise and violate the securities laws, we will hold you accountable.' More here.

So what's the moral of the story? Always deliver what you promise.

Craig and Ahmet strike me as simple guys, simply trying to make a living. As far as I'm concerned their biggest crime was to not offer their investors a taste of the mystic life. Just a little taste! A taste of a more complicated life, where you can hardly breathe if a ghost stuffs sand in your mouth. [Breathe through your nose. What's your problem, man? Ain't ya human or nothin'?] And that wasn't me! Not that any of this has ever been me. [Don't believe him. It's all him. Every word. He just doesn't want to take responsibility.] But that wasn't me! Some demonic nut has hijacked my square brackets. It'll be my soul next. You wait and see. [Oh, the confusion!] How on earth, dear reader, are you supposed to keep up with all these developments? It's not as if there's a York Notes on this shit.

Some think hell is a broken tooth, heaven a mouth of ice. I am here to let it be known that hell is an ego and heaven is no identity at all, just nothingness. Now, how does that fit in with your desire to know all the facts concerning these unfortunate Forex traders and their even more unfortunate investors? It's not an ideal situation, I'll grant you that. But you must understand that there is more going on here than meets the eye.

'You say you got some other kind of lover, and, yes, I believe you do. You say my kisses are not like his, but this time I'm not going to tell you why that is.' Thanks, Zimmy! That's for her. Let's hope she gets the message.

I promise everything. I promise the cosmos. I promise the day. I promise the night. I'm trying to deliver. As for the securities laws, they ain't got nothing to do with me. But to live outside the law you must be honest. Zimmy knows.

Who is Todd Combs?

Who is he, this Todd Combs? Isn't he Puff Daddy's brother or uncle or something? Whatever. I know he had his own hedge fund. Anyway, Warren Buffett has just taken him on at Berkshire Hathaway. People are saying Todd will run Berkshire Hathaway one day, once Warren has joined that great investment firm in the sky.

O Master, what great investment firm in the sky? Is this a Big Herb thing?

O my child, don't worry about it. Oh, Todd Combs! I remember Todd Combs. Yes, Castle Point Capital, of course! How could I forget?

O Master, do you know him, then?

Well, not really. I once tried to get into Castle Point's office, but ... couldn't quite manage it.

Oh. What was the problem?

It was late in the evening when I arrived. The village was deep in snow. Castle Point's office was hidden, veiled in mist and darkness, nor was there even a glimmer of light to show that it was there. On the wooden bridge leading from the main road to the village I stood for a long time gazing into the illusory emptiness above me.

Right. So why didn't you just go in?

Well, I went on to find quarters for the night. The inn was still awake, and although the landlord could not provide a room and was upset by such a late and unexpected arrival, he was willing to let me sleep on a bag of straw in the parlour.

Oh, that was nice of him!

I certainly appreciated it. I was in a warm corner, the peasants were quiet, and letting my weary eyes stray over them I soon fell asleep. But very shortly I was awakened. A young man dressed like a townsman, with the face of a trader, his eyes narrow and his eyebrows strongly marked, was standing beside me along with the landlord. The young man spoke to me, saying: 'This village belongs to Castle Point Capital, and whoever lives here or passes the night here does so in a manner of speaking in the Castle Point office itself. Nobody may do that without Todd Combs' permission. But you have no such permit, or at least you have produced none.'

What did you say?

Well, I had no idea whether what he said was true. I just asked him if I really needed a permit to sleep on a bag of straw on the floor of some grotty inn.

Nice one! What did he come back with?

He said: 'One must have a permit,' and with an ironical contempt for me stretched out his arm and appealed to the others, 'Or must one not have a permit?'

What a cheeky git! No doubt you told him to piss off.

I just said to him: 'Well, then, I'll have to go and get one,' yawning and pushing my blanket away as if to rise up. Then he asked me: 'And from whom, pray?'

Pray?! What a ponce!

I said: 'From Todd Combs. That's the only thing to be done.'

How did he take that?

'A permit from Todd Combs in the middle of the night!'


I said, coolly: 'Is that impossible? Then why did you waken me?'

Oh boy. Then what?

Oh, he flew into a passion. 'None of your guttersnipe manners! I insist on respect for Todd Combs' authority! I woke you up to -' Blah blah blah.

What happened in the end?

Well, he went off, eventually; and I was able to spend a few days at the inn. But I never got a chance to enter Castle Point's office, let alone meet Todd Combs.

What a shame!


Wednesday 27 October 2010

Hands, Wormsley, Fowke: the conference call

Right, I said I wasn't going to speak to "The Worm" ever again. But I took part in a conference call late last night with David "The Worm" Wormsley and Guy Hands, at Guy's request. He had to practically beg me though because I can't stand that Wormsley. It was a favour to a friend. I'm writing songs at the moment and I'm hoping Guy will be able to place them with a few of his artists at EMI. Basically, Guy owes me one now.

Anyway, there's been talk in the media about the phone calls between Guy and David. Who said what to who. Who conned who. Who made a monkey out of somebody. No one knows the whole truth. We get snippets of the truth, don't we? It's not good enough! This Citigroup/Terra Firma crap needs to get sorted, before everyone dies of boredom. We tried our best last night. You can be the judge of whether we were successful -

Edited highlights

Worm: First of all, I want to apologize to Mr Fowke for calling Jim Morrison a silly man, during our last phone call. I was out of line. I've always wanted to wear leather trousers, but have never had the courage to do so. I took it out on Jim. Apologies.

Guy: Maybe you should apologize to Jim.

Worm: Jim Morrison is dead.

Guy: There you go again! Jim is a personal friend of mine. We spend a lot of time together.

Worm: Oh yes, on this mythical astral plane. A world of spirits and goblins, I understand.

Me: Goblins?! What do you mean, goblins? I have never - not once in my life - seen a goblin on the astral plane. I knew this was a mistake!

Guy: Mikey, calm down! He's just doing it to wind us up. Let's focus on EMI. David, are you going to come clean with the court? Are you going to admit what you did?

Worm: What did I do?

Guy: You know.

Worm: I know nothing, Guy. I was your friend. I was trying to help you.

Me: What did he do, Guy?

Guy: He tricked me into buying EMI. That's the truth. He told me that if I were the boss of a major record label, I would have groupies chasing after me, desperately trying to get their hands on my ... naked body.

Me: Two questions. Why would you be naked?

Guy: To make it easier for them; to facilitate, er, the process, well, getting laid, and that.

Me: Fair enough. Now, the other question. Guy, mate, I thought you had all the groupies, yeah? Don't you?

Guy: No.

Me: No?! The Jack Daniel's, the cocaine, the -

Guy: Yes, yes, I have all ... but ... no one wants to ... to sleep with me.

Me: Oh dear. How much did you pay for EMI?

Guy: Well ...

Worm: Four billion pounds!

Guy: Yes, thank you, Worm. Four billion pounds.

Me: Four billion pounds! Oh, for fuck's sake! So it has nothing to do with Cerberus Capital Management?

Guy: No.

Me: Oh my God. Guy, I can introduce you to a few girls. Okay, you're no oil painting, but -

Guy: No, Michael, I want to ... to forget, if you don't mind. But I want compensation.

Worm: You're not getting any compensation from Citigroup! Just because you didn't get your rocks off, I don't see why -

Guy: Listen to me, you fucking

The conversation degenerated into a slanging match at this point.

Oh dear. I love Guy like a brother, but I can't see him getting compensation. Not for this.

JPMorgan has bought Gavea Investimentos!

Oh, I love those chewy Mentos sweets! Is that what we're talking about? No, afraid not. 'Investimentos' is Portuguese (I presume) for 'investments'. Okay, so we're writing, then, about some Portuguese hedge fund that has just been snapped up by JPMorgan Chase (Highbridge) for a cool $6 billion. No, no, no! It's a Brazilian hedge fund, run by Arminio Fraga; JPMorgan hasn't bought it yet (but it will today), and the bank is not paying $6 billion for it. It's a $6 billion hedge fund, and JPMorgan is getting its greasy mitts (can a bank have greasy mitts?) on 55 per cent of the fund; so it is paying ...?

O Master, can't you leave this shit to the squares? It's not your forte. Concentrate on all the groovy mystical stuff, man.

O my child, see if you can dig this -

The basic tenets that underlie Gavea's philosophy as an investment manager and drive its business conduct are:

Absolutely driven, seeking opportunities throughout the astral plane, these guys don't restrict themselves to the astral desert, they go everywhere, even the astral sea, on a little boat, dodging the sea monsters in their heads, waves of gold, money washes over them;

Investment strategies defined by the investment(os!) committees, established for each of its three primary business areas, all of which are presided over by Arminio Fraga Neto, Gavea's founder and chief investment officer, a man who will often appear as the skeleton of an animal which may have died thousands of years ago, no one really knows, or as an image of a future creature there is no name for, that is the way he does business, so don't complain, it's his life, take a good look at yourself;

Intensive research-oriented investment process, with full team staffed in the areas of macroeconomics, equity research, and quantitative analysis, but it is the other areas and the special team everyone wants to know about, they go everywhere, the shamans of Gavea, even the astral sky, like vultures, looking for corpses, below, watch out, they think you are one of the dead, liven yourself up a bit;

Risk management is of utmost importance, with an emphasis on stress testing and liquidity controls, in your nightmares, they will test you, they will try to control you, give in to them, they only want the best for you, look, see the man on the wall, a shadow, a ghost, he risked everything to be with you;

Solid corporate culture, based on ethical principles and the alignment of interests with its investors, in their dreams, they go blank, all white, pictures come on a screen, there is a picture for you, something solid, something you can believe in, but it, Gavea, is drifting off, like me, not fixed, not solid, ethical, ha, you must be dreaming;

Belief in attracting seasoned professionals, as well as up-and-coming talents, that's what we all want, we all want to attract a bit of talent, only last night, I was looking for my angel in the dark, couldn't find her, Arminio understands;

Partnership culture, we are partners, friends, brothers, sisters, we are all in this together, gods, shamans, and mystical children, we will share the spoils, look at the sun, look at the moon, partners in the sky, eclipse, astral, like my blood, my flesh, my bones, like your blood, your flesh, your bones.

That's what I'm talking about!

Friday 22 October 2010

Zedd Capital

Only if one hoped to create a whole out of the fragments, some complete work to which one could make a final appeal, a breast on which I could beat in my hour of need. But I know that is impossible here, there is no help for me in these. So what am I to do with the things? Since they can't help me, am I to let them harm me, as must be the case, given my knowledge about them? - Franz Kafka

[The very last literary quote at a beginning, I promise. Kafka on his 'bungled' novels. He wanted them dead. Kafka was the greatest writer of the twentieth century, and probably the most important writer since Dante. How many novels are published every day in the world? Who cares?! Zadie Smith reckons that Kafka felt superior to the form of the novel. I remember reading that somewhere. Well, imagine feeling so superior that you refuse to even write one. Imagine that! I understand Kafka's attitude towards his 'fragments.'. I recently deleted over fifty fragments. I could delete hundreds more. I believe a whole can be created out of fragments though. Here is a fragment -]

Zedd's alive, baby. No one needs to tell us that one of the best ideas to come from the hedge fund world is 'long-short' investing. It's an equity investment technique that has been used to great effect by some of the world's most successful hedge funds. But we need to tell them ['they'!] there are plenty more great ideas that come [zzzz!] from the astral plane: the burnings, the sticky money on happy faces, and the love of a good elephant - Ganesh!

Fortunately, David Staton, the founder of Zedd Capital, is intelligent enough to realize that the hedge fund world must connect with the astral plane. He told me in my buzzing head: 'Everyone knows I was a dreamy scholar at Oxford, but it was Goldman Sachs which gave me the taste for blood, fire, and sandy ways. There were no shamans or mystics at Goldman in those cold days on this wretched earth, but the clever ones at the bank were watching you, Mikey. They knew what you were up to in the astral/physical desert. They knew that ONE GLORIOUS DAY you would return to the dull reality with blood and fire for all the children. I was one of those clever ones. Cleverer than most, if you want the truth. I had an inkling it would be ALL OUR DAYS. That's when I decided to follow you. I was watching you. I saw Jesus frowning upon your activities. And I saw Satan. Oh, his pathetic attempts to take you with a mouthful of ashes! Burnt banknotes! You didn't fall down. My respect grew. I realized you were the shaman man who would change everything. When I was at Tribeca as managing director and senior portfolio manager I grew the European long-short fund from $50 million to $380 million in just two years! How do you think I did that? O Master, I was one of the first! You were living in the desert, and your blog was nothing but a twinkle in your eye, but I was there with you - in spirit! I saw

[That's enough. I would delete this post, but I like the

Thursday 21 October 2010

Morgan Stanley loses $91 million

Yes, Morgan Stanley has lost $91 million. But there is nothing to worry about. I once dropped a ten pound note outside a guitar shop in Uxbridge. I went back half an hour later to see if I could find it, and a nice lady was waiting for me, and she handed it over. That's karma. I'm a good person. Good things happen to good people. It's the same with banks. I know that Morgan Stanley will see this money again.

As we can all imagine, James Gorman is the chief executive of Morgan Stanley. (I like him. He's a great guy. He's making changes.) Mr Gorman says that Morgan Stanley is just looking for progress. Obviously, he is not satisfied with the bank's recent performance; but he believes in the future, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. Tomorrow he will run faster and stretch out his arms farther. We all will - if we've got any sense.

Well, I have been speaking to Mr Gorman. This is what was said: 'Mikey, it's a sad affair, ain't it? (Losing $91 million?) Yeah. What am I going to do, man? (Jimmy, mate, you've got to think of the future. You're a great guy. Great things are coming, for you and the bank.) You're right, Mikey. I believe in the future, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. (Of course you do! That's why they call you the Great Gorman.) Who calls me that?! (Well, no one actually. I was trying to bolster your ego a little bit. But I'm sure they will one day - whoever 'they' are.) Oh, the mythical 'they'. Where are 'they' when you need them? I don't know. I've just got me a real down at the moment. Michael, can I ask you a question? (Shoot. That's why they call me the Wizard.) I thought they called you the world's foremost financial shaman? (What's your question, Jimmy?) I don't know, I mean ... (The banking life, you mean?) I really, you know, I really wanna, I got some bad ideas in my head, I just ... (Yeah, I know. It happens to the best of them. Look at it this way, you know, uh, a man, a man takes a job, you know, and that job, I mean, like that, and that it becomes what he is. You know like, uh, you do a thing, and that's what you are. Like I've been a, I've been a financial shaman for over ten years, fifteen years maybe, in the astral night, and I still don't own my own cave. You know why? Because I don't want to. I must be what I, what I want. You know, to be on the astral night shift sharing caves with guys like Bobby. Understand? You, you, you become, you get a job, you, you become the job. One guy lives in Brooklyn, one guy lives in Shepherd's Bush, you get an analyst, another guy's a trader, another guy dies, another guy gets well, and you know, people are born. I envy you your youth. Go out and get laid. Get drunk, you know, do anything. Because you got no choice anyway. I mean, we're all fucked, more or less, you know.) Yeah, I don't know, Mikey. That's about the dumbest thing I ever heard. (I'm not Bertrand Russell. But what do ya want? I'm a shaman, you know. What do I know? I mean, I don't even know what the fuck you're talking about.) Yeah, I don't know. Maybe I don't know either. (Don't worry so much. Relax, killer, you're gonna be all right. I know. I seen a lot of people, and uh, I know.) Thanks, Mike.'

I enjoyed that conversation. It's very satisfying when you can help someone like that. It's good for the soul. And I hope you noticed how pleasant and well-mannered Mr Gorman was. Nothing like Lloyd. Well, who could be like him? John Gotti is dead.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Jupiter is launching a Ucits III fund (investing in global emerging markets) for the benefit of Kathryn Langridge

Now, I'm sure Kathryn Langridge is a lovely lady, but why does she deserve this? Why isn't Jupiter launching a fund for my benefit? I could be a fund manager. There's nothing to it.

Yes, I could manage a fund. But I wouldn't manage it the conventional way. I wouldn't mess around meeting management teams or studying charts or any shit like that. I don't know what they do, exactly, fund managers, but I would be different. Whatever they do, I wouldn't do. I would go into a peyote trance. That's something I would do. Like Jim Morrison! Of course, Jimmy was never given the chance to run his own fund. It was probably the leather trousers that put people off. Why are there so many squares in the fund management business? Just because you wear leather trousers it doesn't mean you can't monitor risk by keeping a portfolio diversified across markets, sectors and capitalization.

You have to see the blood. You have to feel the drums in your head. You have to touch the sky. You need to go down, on the desert sands, and writhe with snakes. You need to make Death your friend. He is waiting for you, for all of us. You need to forget the people who pretend that they have knowledge. This is important. We all know who they are. The miserable ones. THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE. They are deluded. They live in darkness. Fuck them. They cannot tell us anything. They add no value whatsoever. I feel love. Big Herb is here. Ganesh the elephant god is here. Have you ever loved an elephant the way I have loved one? I know THEY haven't. But they haven't lived. Touch the trunk! And people say: 'Ganesh shouldn't be in the desert. He ain't no Native American god. You're all confused, man'. Fools! This is my subconscious we're talking about, my astral desert. I make the rules. It's my way or the highway, you understand? There's a killer on the road. Charlie is here. He's inside all of us. But we will not give in to him. Jack is here. Look at him! Hiding in the shadows, getting ready to pounce. Well, let him pounce! WE ARE NOT AFRAID. I love you. Could I grow to love Kathryn Langridge? Anything is possible. It all depends. Would she be willing to let go? Could she drift away from Jupiter into a world of dreams, and nightmares? But there are shamans at Jupiter. Let's be fair. They could show her the way. Jupiter ain't that bad, really, compared to some of the others. But would Jupiter allow Kathryn to wear leather trousers? That's the question. Not that I'm interested. If it were Gillian Tett in leather trousers, then we would be talking. Even that gorgeous Heather. She's another top bird. There are possibilities. I'm getting distracted! Where is the blood, the fire?

Here is the blood. Here is the fire. Taste the blood. It's in your mouth! Let the fire burn you. Do not wander off. Take it, here, now. WE ARE NOT AFRAID. We are alive. We are not the dead. Let's make the most of it!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

BlueBay's Hugh Willis and Mark Poole to get £82 million each!!!

I don't really need three exclamation marks, probably don't need one, but they don't do any harm, do they? I understand it's a matter of taste. Some of you may think I'm incredibly vulgar, but I think the exclamation marks show my excitement. And I am excited. It's not every day that two people get their hands on so much money. £82 million each!!! It's better than winning the lottery, or Lotto, or whatever the fuck it's called. But they haven't got their greasy little mitts on it yet. But they will, unless the deal falls through.

O Master, what deal?

Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to pay £963 million for BlueBay Asset Management, which was formed by Hugh Willis and Mark Poole nine years ago. They each own 8.5 per cent of BlueBay, so they'll be getting £82 million each!!!

Oh, that's great! I wonder what they'll spend it all on.

They'll probably reinvest it. Start a new firm. Something like that.

No! They should spend it on having a good time.

O my child, what would you spend it on - if you had a life, if you weren't just a voice in my head?

I would buy myself a big house in a posh part of London, like Shepherd's Bush maybe. A lot of classy people live in Shepherd's Bush, all those Scottish alcoholics. I would buy a Ford Escort RS2000, one of the really old ones from the Seventies, and do it up a bit. Get some fluffy dice, you know? And I could race around town in it, with my bird. She would like that. She'd love it! I'd get a season ticket for QPR. I would buy a few tracksuits and some manly aftershave from Shepherd's Bush Market, and splash it all over, the aftershave, that is, though the tracksuits would be all over me like a ... but not Brut. I'm not paying those prices. I don't care how rich you are, you shouldn't waste money. I'd eat in Mickey D's every night of the week. Except Sunday. I would go to Nando's on Sundays. You've got to treat yourself sometimes, ain't ya? I would get some jewellery for me old mum. She loves anything that looks gold. I'd have to get my bird a few things as well. Maybe a couple of miniskirts. They'd be for me more than anything, you know what I mean? Of course you do, we're all men of the world here. I don't have to explain nothing. Right, how many millions is that then? I got £82 million to get through. Fucking hell! I don't know how I would spend all of it. £82 million!!! I reckon Hugh Willis and Mark Poole are going to have the same sort of problems that that Carroll geezer had. Having said that, he had parties like the Giant Gatsby, didn't he? I mean, the Great Gatsby. Oh, we would find some way of spending it. Just have loads of parties. Invite all my mates round, and Hugh, and Mark. We could smash the place up with hammers. We could smash their houses up! Where do the BlueBay guys live?

O my child, you're an idiot.

Neil Collins, ex-Reuters journalist extraordinaire, sends me an email!

Yeah, he sent me an email late last night because he was just overwhelmed by this great desire to explain himself to the world's foremost financial shaman. It's what I would do. I don't blame him. I mean, if I were a mere journalist who had got himself into a spot of bother (and not a godlike shaman and blogger blessed with genius) I would also want to explain myself to someone I considered my superior, my Master. I get a lot of emails like this. From insider traders, sacked bankers, and hacks down on their luck. Here it is (with my comments in square brackets, just in case he reads this post) -

Dear Michael

Thank you for being a friend. I know we've never met, but there is a connection between us. You feel it too, don't you? [Not really, Neil, mate.]

I am sorry that neither you nor Big Herb took the opportunity to discuss this affair with me on the astral plane, when it was first reported that I had broken Reuters' internal rules. [Yesterday morning, Neil. Give us a chance.] I know we'll meet one day. [We'll see.]

In the light of your decision yesterday evening [What decision? Are you cracking up, boy?], I feel it worth saying now what I would have done had I been given the chance. [Fair enough.]

I have a basic pension fund from my time at the Daily Telegraph [Good for you! I don't give a shit.], but I manage all my other assets, including my family's ISA and SIPP portfolios. As you have seen from the comprehensive contract notes and dealing sheets I have provided for you, I deal infrequently. [I didn't get no notes or sheets. Are you getting me mixed up with someone else?]

I saw an opportunity in BP, and added to my SIPP holding as the price fell. I failed to connect my comments for Reuters - among millions of words written on BP at the time [What if it were hundreds?] - with the purchases. I had read Reuters' rules about share dealing on joining the company in March 2009, but my recollection was incorrect. [Oh yeah. Whatever.] I did recall the phrase "The test is whether the editorial activity might continue to have an impact on the securities." [Yeah. Sticks in the mind, don't it? Like - 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse'.] This is surely the point of the rules.

I made no attempt to conceal my activities from my colleagues. When during a conversation, Chris Hughes [Who?] suggested I might be in breach, I immediately (4 October) emailed David Schlesinger [Who?] with the facts. I did this because I understood from Chris that he (David) was likely to be the decision-maker in the affair.

I also realised that I had failed to disclose my interest in shares that I had written about, although I had not traded them in Reuters' 30-day "exclusion zone".

Following our formal discussion on 13 October [You're a fantasist!], I reviewed the portfolio dealings and discovered that I had sold the substantial holding of Marks & Spencer from my late father's estate five days after commenting on the company's results. As with BP, I view this as a serious, but technical breach of the rules. At no stage do I consider that I have abused my position at Reuters.

On discovering the second breach, I felt I had no choice but to offer my resignation, which you accepted on 15 October. [Nothing to do with me, mate.]

I am pleased that my comments are now to be revised to carry the appropriate disclaimers. I am saddened and embarrassed by my breaches of the rules and hope that you will shortly be able to draw a line under this unfortunate episode. [For fuck's sake, Neil, why are you beating yourself up like this?! It's not the crime of the century.]

Best wishes


I haven't replied to his email yet. I guess I will, when I get a moment. Neil Collins reminds me of Kevin Costner at the end of the greatest film ever made, Fandango. What is going to happen to him? Where is he headed?

I have a feeling he's going to spend some time in the desert of our love. Best thing for him. He'll be all right.

Monday 18 October 2010

Polar Capital has hired David Keetley, Steve McCormick, and Kendrick Li

It's some sort of global convertibles team is what it is for some kind of new convertibles hedge fund that Polar Capital is launching. And David Keetley, Steve McCormick, and Kendrick Li have been dragged away from Vicis Capital. Hypnotism? Oh, I don't know how it was done. I don't care. All I know is, Polar Capital is a research driven investment management company providing a highly entrepreneurial environment for outstanding portfolio managers within a structure that offers a level of marketing, administrative and operational support normally found in much larger organizations. And that's good enough for me.

David Keetley is an interesting character. Don't you think? [I'm not saying you don't think. Merely asking a question.] Or maybe you haven't formed an opinion of him yet. I think he's interesting. And he likes me. He's a big fan of my blog, believe it or not. And I'm behind him all the way. I just know that he's going to be really successful at Polar. He has the right attitude. And he's very intelligent. And he has a lot of taste. Well, I haven't actually bitten him, but I've been told that he has a lot of taste. 

Thursday 14 October 2010

Schroder Investment Limited Guaranteed Bullion and Commodities

Oh, what's this? A new fund? No, it's another scam. From Fund Strategy - here. We all know how much Fund Strategy like its little scams. Maybe the FSA should investigate. Oh, I'm twisting things. Fund Strategy isn't running the scam. Just reporting on it. Let's not get confused! There's enough confusion in the world. We don't want to add to it, do we?

Or maybe we do. Maybe we're devilish muthas from the bowels of hell. Have you ever considered that possibility? Maybe I'm Jack Pickles. Maybe you're one of my awful fiery demons. You are looking a bit red in the face. Is that normal? It could be your aura, I suppose, bleeding into your face, sticking there. Or it could be my eyes. My physical eyes, my astral eyes. Yes, I see you. You cannot hide. Not that you would want to hide. We have no secrets. I tell you everything; and you, well, you rarely tell me anything at all, do you? But I slip into your subconscious every now and then. Just to check up on you. That's all right with you, isn't it? It better be because there's no way you can stop me.

'This is not a fund of Schroder Investment Limited, Schroder Investment Management Limited or any subsidiary of Schroders plc. Any funds invested with regard to this offer will not be invested with Schroders.'

Someone's statement. Someone from Schroders. I have a statement of my own.

'I am not Jack Pickles. I am not the world's most demonic financier. I am not in league with the devil. I have no desire to confuse anyone. Fund Strategy would never try to rip people off with a share or fund scam. What a suggestion! There are so many troublemakers around. That's the problem. I blame the devil myself. Someone is in league with him. Not me. Someone else. Who? Jack Pickles. That's who. I blame Jack Pickles. Boiler rooms? There's more to it than that. Murder, blackmail, kidnapping, extortion. The list is endless. And it's nothing to do with me. I want to float around on the astral plane in peace. I want to write my blog in peace. Is this too much to ask? Why do people always think I'm up to no good? I've never even been to the Cayman Islands. I'm not a billionaire. I don't have a pot to piss in. Not since falling out with Lloyd. Although he wants me to work for him again. I'd rather work for the devil! And Bobby hasn't paid me yet. He was going to give me an advance. So this is how it is. Who can judge me? Only Big Herb can judge me. I have nothing to be ashamed of.'

That's my statement. I feel much better now.

Svend Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby: traders, heroes, men, not machines!

Svend Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby are men. And I could leave it there. But I have more to say. These heroic Norwegian day traders fought the machines and beat them at their own game. They defeated Timber Hill's automated trading system. (Timber Hill is a part of Interactive Brokers.) The price they paid was prosecution, conviction and suspended sentences for market manipulation. I hope Christian Stenberg can sleep at night. He's the Norwegian police attorney who took the side of the machines against the human race. His name will live in infamy!

What would Knut Hamsun have to say about this affair, if he were alive? Knut Hamsun (for those of you who don't know, and shame on you) was the greatest Norwegian writer who ever lived. He made a monkey out of Ibsen and his moralistic crap. He wrote his best novels in the 1890s - Hunger, Mysteries, and Pan. Like all right-thinking people he loathed left-wing politics. Unfortunately, this led to his shaking hands with Hitler. He supported the Nazis during the Second World War. That's why you won't see his books piled up on a table at the entrance of your local bookshop. He would have been better off staying completely apolitical, like me. If he were alive today, maybe he would be labelled a libertarian. I don't know. But his achievement (besides giving Ibsen a good pasting) was to cut all the waffle out of novels, thirty years before Hemingway was credited with doing so. Imagine a ruthless editor ripping Dostoyevsky to pieces. You would be left with the work of Hamsun.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure Hamsun wouldn't be too keen on these infernal trading machines. And he would most probably be outraged by the behaviour of that police attorney. I can imagine him writing a letter of support to Svend Egil Larsen and Peder Veiby. Something like this -

There are so many strange things between heaven and earth, beautiful, inexplicable things, presentiments that can't be explained, terrors that make your blood freeze. Imagine hearing someone brushing against the walls on a dark night. You're wide awake, sitting at a table smoking a pipe, but aware that your senses are somewhat blurred. Your head is full of plans that you are anxious to sort out. Then you distinctly hear someone brushing against the outside wall - or in the room, over by the stove where you can see a shadow on the wall. You remove the lampshade to get more light, and approach the stove. You stand there facing the shadow and you are face to face with an unknown person - a man of medium height wearing a black-and-white woollen scarf around his neck, with incredibly blue lips. He looks like the jack of clubs in a Norwegian deck of cards. You're more curious that afraid and you walk right up to the fellow and give him a withering look. But he doesn't move, though you're so close to him you can see his eyes blink and know he's as alive as you are. Then you try to be friendly (you realize you've seen him before); you say: 'Your name isn't by any chance Stenberg, Christian Stenberg?' When he doesn't answer you leer at him. But he still doesn't move and you don't know what to do next. Then you take a step back, poke at him with the stem of your pipe, and say: 'Bah!' Still his expression doesn't change. That's going too far! Your anger mounts, and you give him a good whack. The man is definitely there in the room, though he doesn't react to your whack. He doesn't keel over but sticks both hands deep down in his pockets, and shrugs his shoulders, as if to say: 'Well, what is that supposed to mean?' 'What is that supposed to mean?' you repeat, and by now furious, you give him another whack in the pit of the stomach. After this, the man begins to fade away. You watch him slowly vanish, his form becoming more and more blurred, until at last there is nothing left but his stomach, which also eventually disappears. All this time he has kept his hands in his pockets, looking at you with the same defiant, scornful expression, as if to say: 'What's that supposed to mean?'

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Ralph Cox with the BlackRock UK Smaller Companies fund ...

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places - Ernest Hemingway

[There's a gap in the market for phoney twats putting literary quotes at the start of their posts, but don't worry, I'm not going to keep it up. This is the last one.]

... on his own, lonely [I know the loneliness], wandering, wandering, out in the astral sunshine. Not afraid though. Strong! At the broken places. Yes, that is Ralph Cox. His soulmate has left him to it. Oh, don't you know? Haven't you heard? Richard Plackett couldn't cope with the burning. He has gone. Withdrawn. Still there somewhere, in the shadows, but not managing the BlackRock UK Smaller Companies f[F?]und. No. Head of the smaller companies investment team. That's nice. Just the head, rolling. Still hot. But not as hot as ... well, you know. And he'll feel the cold soon. Let's not rub salt into an open wound. It's his choice. We must not judge him.

It's Ralph I'm worried about. He won't show it, but he'll be hurting now. Abandonment is a hard thing to come to terms with. I don't care how strong you are at the broken places. I knew BlackRock was getting its act together regarding mystical capitalism, but I had no idea Ralph Cox was a financial shaman. I had no idea Richard Plackett was a financial shaman. I can't keep up. The financial world is changing so fast. It's not the loneliness. Shamans should be able to deal with it. It's the abandonment. You are there, in the desert, with your brother, your soulmate; the two of you, side by side. No women around to spoil things. [Only a handful of female financial shamans, remember. That will have to change.] Then he walks away. 'Richie, where are you going?' Maybe he was called. Maybe a voice told him that his work in the desert was done. We all hear voices.

If Ralph Cox has any sense, he will listen to those voices now. The time for asking questions is over. 'Richie, where are you going?' No! Listen. I will meditate and bring the voices up. One voice: 'Chaos, your heart, unless, you close ... it. Close heart. Lonely one, only one, who touches ... love.' Another voice: 'Let go. Surrender. Fall down. Give in.' [What?] One more voice: '...' Nothing said. That's okay. Or did I miss a whisper? Did the noise of the cold world drown out a few words that would have changed everything, not just for Ralph but for me as well? I guess we'll never know. One thing I do know: Ralph must listen to the voices. They are out there. And in here.

Simon Somerville and the Japan Income Fund

I think it's about time we took a look at Simon Somerville and his Japan Income Fund. We all know he's been avoiding me. Some of these fund managers are so shy. By the way, it's not his fund. He doesn't own it. He just manages it. [He's a fund manager.] The fund actually belongs to Jupiter Asset Management. And you know what they say about Jupiter, don't you? They say Jupiter has an established reputation for delivering investment performance. Created as a performance-driven boutique, the company has now grown into a substantial institution without shedding its entrepreneurial, talent-based spirit. They say something along those lines. Not only that but they [the same they?] claim to be on the planet to perform. Pretty ironic really, considering what we know. And what do we know? We know there are enough financial shamans at Jupiter to take the firm off the planet in a peyote-induced fantasy until the end of time. And we also know that Jupiter does most of its business on the astral plane now, so what is it with this 'on the planet to perform' nonsense? Let me tell you, that's just for the squares, the investors. If only they knew what really went on! [The other they, the very other, the square investors.] But I digress. I'm supposed to be writing about Gillian Tett.

O Master, can you forget that dizzy bird for one minute and concentrate on business? You're supposed to be writing about Simon Somerville.

Dizzy bird?! O my child, you're ... I'll deal with you later. Right. Simon Somerville and the amazing dancing bear. No. The Japan Income Fund. My head is all over the place today. The Japan Income Fund. I love her. Not Simon. He's not a woman. And certainly not the bear. But ... the Japan Income Fund. Please!

'The Jupiter Japan Income Fund was up 3.7 percent in the 12 months to end-September, beating its Lipper Global Japan equity peers by 3 percentage points.'

Where the fuck did you get that?

Reuters - here.

Oh, and that's your job now, is it, putting quotes and links into my blog posts?

O Master -

I'm not even interested in the fund. Funds don't have any personality. It's people I'm interested in. Men and women like Simon Somerville. Do you know he has a degree in Economics from Durham University?

Who gives a shit?! 'The fund has a 3 percent overweight to financials expected to benefit from the Bank of Japan's liquidity injection.'

Oh great! That means a lot to me. Let me tell you about Simon. That man has got potential! Go to the Jupiter website. Take a look at him. There's something in his face. It's a cheerful face, but with a hint of melancholy. Always a winning combination! It's the face of a man who searches for truth. The seeds of wisdom are there. We must encourage them to grow. ALL IN THE FACE! I am a mystic. I know these things. I see them. I am a seer.


Tuesday 12 October 2010

Why is Keith Speck leaving Santander Asset Management?

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there - Isaiah 13:21

Oh, we know who's replacing him. Tom Caddick. Caddick will become head of multi-manager, whatever that is. But why is Keith Speck leaving Santander Asset Management? [And I had absolutely no idea that Santander was into managing assets. You live and learn, don't you?] No one knows. It's one of these mysteries I'm so fond of. But I can imagine.

But I will not imagine. I refuse to imagine! If Mr Speck is planning to roll around in astral sands, good luck to him! I will not imagine it. I will not see Keith in mad visions. If Keith is going to dance beneath the moon ... oh, dear reader, if you have knowledge of any such plans, or can imagine them, do me a favour, eh? Keep them to yourself.

It's not that I'm leaving the visionary life behind. I would never do that. It's just that some of these bankers annoy me - the way they expect to be imagined by me, to appear in my visions, and ultimately, to be written about in this blog. Keith is one such banker. He has been pestering me for months. He will deny this, of course. But the fact remains that when Keith falls to sleep at night he drifts over to wherever I happen to be and tries to get into my subconscious. This is his idea of how a grown man should behave. And now, what does he do? He runs away from Santander in the wild hope that I will be intrigued enough to write about him. No! I will not write about him. I refuse to even think about him. If he has set his heart on wandering in the desert, good luck to him! Good luck to him again. And again, and again, and again. For he will need as much luck as he can get. He is not a financial shaman. He has no experience of the mystical life. How will he deal with the astral snakes, the astral jackals? He doesn't know. He hasn't considered the dangers, has he? What a fool! By the way, the astral jackals aren't that dangerous. They may take a bite out of your astral body, or rather, Keith's astral body. [I don't know why I'm getting you involved in this.] But he should watch out for the snakes.

And yet - why is Keith Speck leaving Santander Asset Management? Why oh why oh why? A better question would be: why am I so weak? Another question: why do I give in to these people? One more question: why the Bible quote? Well, I was looking for something about jackals in the desert, and found that. But enough of questions! As Dylan Thomas once wrote, questions are hunchbacks to the poker marrow. [How true!]

Dear reader, Keith is leaving for reasons best known to himself, and we will have to be content with that. I have no proof he's heading for the desert. He'll probably turn up at another asset manager at some point. It's likely to be something as unglamorous as that. Then we'll laugh about this. Keith will have embarrassed himself terribly, and we'll be laughing. It doesn't pay to pretend you're the mystical sort when you're patently not. But we'll see.

Friday 8 October 2010

Star-struck SEC charges Larry Wilcox (CHiPs star!) with securities fraud!

Hi! I'm Perez Hilton. Welcome to my blog!

No, I'm Michael Fowke, the world's foremost financial shaman. But I almost fooled you, didn't I? I'm not going to discuss anything mystical today. I know it's my business to be all mystical and shit, and I know my readers (you!) expect it, but - like the SEC - I'm just so excited that I have some low-rent celebrity to write about.

'The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged more than a dozen penny stock promoters and their companies with securities fraud for their roles in various illicit kickback schemes to manipulate the volume and price of microcap stocks and illegally generate stock sales. One of the schemes was perpetrated by an actor who starred as a police officer on the long-running television show CHiPs.'

My God! An actor who starred as a police officer on the long-running television show CHiPs! It doesn't get any better than that!

'Larry Wilcox, who lives in West Hills, Calif., and played Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker on CHiPs, perpetrated interrelated kickback schemes with two other penny stock company executives.'

He played Officer Jonathan "Jon" Baker! Fuck me! What a result for the SEC this is!

More here.

But that's not all. I HAVE BEEN SPEAKING TO JONATHAN "JON" BAKER. Check this: 'Mr Fowke, I - (Jon, mate, you can call me 'Mikey' if you want to. All my friends call me that. And we're friends now, aren't we?) Mikey, I just want to apologize to all of my fans for - (Jon, let me stop you right there. There's no need to apologize. Everyone loves you. You're a star! Even the SEC didn't want to charge you, not really, but you know how it is.) They've got a job to do. (Of course they have. I bet they were in tears when they did what they had to do - their duty!) So many people love me, Mikey. I know that. I'm an entertainer. Like you say, I'm a star. You should have seen the SEC boys and girls. (I bet they were begging for your autograph, weren't they?) They tore at my clothes! And my hair. It was crazy.'

Jesus. H Christ! The SEC tore at his clothes, and his hair. That's fame for you.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Who is Bambos Hambi? Should we be concerned?

My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them - as steps - to climb beyond them. He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it. - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Bambos Hambi is the sort of man you can find working at Insynergy Investment Management. I am not saying he is working for that particular firm. You'll have to use your imagination. He could be working somewhere else. As for Insynergy Investment Management, it identifies unmet investor needs and searches the globe to find world-class 'off-market' managers - those previously not available to the retail market. Should we be concerned? No. That's the short answer. I'm sure Insynergy knows what it is doing, and I'm sure Bambos Hambi can look after himself - wherever he happens to be working.

O Master, is that it, then?

No, my child, it is not. I suppose I could leave Bambos moving around [stealthily] in my readers' heads like a shark in a swimming pool, waiting for a leg or an arm, a thought or an image, to take a bite out of, but I have -

O Master, they wouldn't expect it/him. Not in a swimming pool. Not in their fucking heads! You're evil, you are.

O my child, I am not evil. And I am not good. I am beyond good and evil. Amoral. I eat when I am hungry. I sleep when I am tired. The earth is cold. I am a burning man on this earth, looking for someone, anyone, who has the passion I have. Who can match me? I am alone. When the owl hoots, they see me, a shadow. Almost a ghost. On the way to becoming a god. It is only a matter of time. I am a patient man. I have been waiting for millions of years. My time is coming. Hopefully, all the children will follow me. My writing is a mystic ladder. Up I go. Come with me. Through blood and fire, and pain. This is my pain. Do you think this does not hurt? Of course it hurts! I take the pain. You can take it too. Some sort of heaven is up above. My writing is a mystic crutch for my will. I am what I say I am. I am the world's foremost financial shaman. My visions will heal the tribe. But the tribe must believe. I am a storm of blood and fire. I am a soul in pain. Money is nothing. Money does not exist in my mind. Money is a ladder for the material world. Fools climb to power and then find that they are NOWHERE. I am going SOMEWHERE. That is all, for today.

O Master, Bambos Hambi?

Och-Ziff Capital Management or OCH Capital?

Well, she was just seventeen, and you know what I mean. I've got The Beatles on. I'll be writing some songs soon. When I can be arsed. But let's get down to business. What's in a name? If you were an investor, dear reader, who would you rather do business with, Och-Ziff Capital Management, one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, or OCH Capital, a bunch of shitehawks operating out of a flat on the South Acton Estate?

Oh, I'm being unfair. OCH Capital is actually a very respectable firm. It was founded in 2009 by Thomas Ochocki, and it is based in lovely Mayfair, in a lovely office, no doubt. OCH Capital's primary objective is to provide a superior investment service encompassing the professional guidance of global securities and assets. Well, that's what we want, ain't it? Who could argue with that? I'll tell you who: Och-Ziff Capital Management. Och-Ziff is suing Thomas Ochocki because it hates his name, especially the 'Och' bit. There's a fair chance Mr Ochocki will have to sue his parents for dropping him in the shit like this. A bloody nightmare, eh?!

Well, I have been speaking to Mr Ochocki. This is what was said: 'Mikey, I'm glad you're on my side. You are on my side, aren't you? (Tommy, mate, I'll be with you until the very end. You've got a friend for life in me. I always support the underdog. Except when I'm supporting the top dog. Did you read my post on Warren Buffett yesterday?) No. (Never mind. Unless you're into dogs and scarecrows, it's not really ... well, you know what I mean.) Yeah. (So what are you going to do about these Och-Ziff muthas?) Och-Ziff? Er, I was hoping you could do something, Mike. A little curse maybe. You know, lay your shamanic nuttiness on them. Put the fear of Big Herb into them. Something along those lines. (Yeah, that can be expensive, what you're asking. I normally only work for Goldman, and BarCap - lately - because they are the only ones who can afford my services.) Can't we work something out, Mikey? I'll be eternally grateful. (Hold me tight. Tell me I'm the only one.) Pardon? (Sorry, Tommy, I'm listening to The Beatles. Been listening to them all day.) Oh, right. (The best thing I can think of is that I phone Daniel Och, and see if I can get him to change his mind. I'll do that for free. Although I may ask you for a favour one day.) Anything, Mike. What will you say to him? (I'll just explain to him that you're a young lad, trying to make your way in the world, and that you want your firm to be named after yourself. That's not unreasonable. I believe Mr Och is a reasonable man. And he doesn't want an enemy like me.) Thanks for this, Mike. (That's all right, Tommy.) You know the funny thing though, don't you? (What?) My middle name is Ziff!'

His middle name is Ziff. What a character!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Warren Buffett can't imagine anyone having bonds in their portfolio when they can own equities

How much my life has changed, and yet how unchanged it has remained at bottom! When I think back and recall the time when I was still a member of the canine community, sharing in all its preoccupations, a dog among dogs, I find on closer examination that from the very beginning I sensed some discrepancy, some little maladjustment, causing a slight feeling of discomfort which not even the most decorous public functions could eliminate; more, that sometimes, no, not sometimes, but very often, the mere look of some fellow dog of my own circle that I was fond of, the mere look of him, as if I had just caught it for the first time, would fill me with hopeless embarrassment and fear, even with despair. I tried to quiet my apprehensions as best I could; friends, to whom I divulged them, helped me; more peaceful times came - times, it is true, in which these sudden surprises were not lacking, but in which they were accepted with more philosophy, fitted into my life with more philosophy, inducing a certain melancholy and lethargy, it may be, but nevertheless allowing me to carry on as a somewhat cold, reserved, shy, and calculating, but all things considered normal enough dog. - Franz Kafka

Well, that's fair enough. If Warren Buffett can't imagine anyone having bonds in their portfolio when they can own equities, I don't think we should hold it against him. It doesn't make him any less of a man. I'm not saying people should have bonds. I wouldn't dictate to anyone. I'm all for freedom of choice. But I am saying it's a good thing to imagine their having bonds. We should try to imagine all possibilities. We shouldn't cut ourselves off from any reality. This isn't a criticism of Mr Buffett. I am sure there are many things he can imagine. I'll bet you anything you like that if we were to ask him to imagine a scarecrow in a field in the English countryside, he could do it. Of course, scarecrows are a common sight in the English countryside. Everyone knows they can be found there. So it wouldn't be much of a test of Mr Buffett's abilities. Unless we asked him to imagine the scarecrow in question coming to life. Oh, imagine that! Would we even dare to imagine asking him to imagine such a thing? Well, why not? I believe we would dare [I just have, myself, can't speak for you, stranger], I believe we would ask him, and I believe Mr Buffett would rise to the challenge. He's not too old to become a visionary and a shaman. There's plenty of life in the old dog yet.

I would like to stress that Warren (I can call him Warren, he is a friend, after all) is not a dog, and has never been a dog. 'There's plenty of life in the old dog yet' is just a phrase. I shouldn't have to explain this to you, dear reader. The visionary imagination is a fine thing, but you can take it too far. Yes, I know I egg you on a lot of the time, but you have to behave in a responsible manner. If a rumour were to start that Warren were actually a dog, it could have an enormous negative impact on Berkshire Hathaway's share price. Let's restrict ourselves to fantasizing about that scarecrow in the English countryside. It's what Warren would want us to do, if he were here with us now. [Come on, Warren, show yourself.] And he would be up for it. I'm sure he would get his teeth into it, this scarecrow. The scarecrow would run for its life, and Warren, on all fours, would chase after it, and catch it, and tear it to shreds. There wouldn't be any blood. Maybe some straw? Oh, there would be straw! Headpiece filled with straw! Torn, scattered. The scarecrow ... crying out in terrible pain, then dying. Imagine it! A short, brutal life. But not a tragedy. We reserve tragedies for our human friends, and for ourselves. I mean, we are human, aren't we? We are not gods, yet. Maybe Warren Buffett would be better off as a dog.

How is Jerome Kerviel going to get his hands on €4.9 billion?

That's what he owes Societe Generale. He'll probably have to go to prison for three years first. He's out on bail at the moment, pending an appeal. Once he's left prison, he'll have to get a job. Doing what? Stacking shelves? I don't know. Jesus H. Christ! How on earth is Jerome Kerviel going to find €4.9 billion?

Obviously, Jerome needs an off-world solution. Yes, I'm talking about the astral plane. I'm always talking about the astral plane, aren't I? I'm obsessed with the joint.

O Master, we could ask Hugh Hendry if he will help.

No, no, no. I know what you're going to suggest, my child. You think I should allow Mr Hendry into the desert of our love; and get him to bring all the money that he's going to make from shorting the cosmos.

We could pass the money on to Jerome.

O my child, if the cosmos were to collapse, Societe Generale would cease to exist. Jerome wouldn't have to pay the money back.

Two birds with one stone!

No, it's not going to happen. And I'll tell you why. After yesterday's post, Big Herb had a word with Hugh Hendry. Put the fear of, er, Big Herb into him. I'll be surprised if Hugh ever shorts anything ever again, let alone the cosmos.

Well, what are we going to do for Jerome?

We'll have a whip-round for him the moment he gets out of chokey. How about that? The ghosts of the dead financiers are minted. They'll put up most of the money, I'm sure. We don't need Hugh. We don't need anyone from the cold world.

All's well that ends well, then. Or it will end well. We've got to be optimistic.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Hugh Hendry is planning to go short on the cosmos

The world is not enough. Not for this evil bastard. I've discovered [late last night, voices came] that Hugh Hendry, chief executive of Eclectica Asset Management, has set his black heart on shorting the entire cosmos.

Well, I spoke to the Scottish lunatic this morning. This is what he had to say for himself: 'Mikey, don't get upset. Business is business. (Hugh, you're insane! You can't short the cosmos. What are you hoping to achieve?) Michael, if the physical cosmos collapses, I will make more money than anyone has ever dreamed of making in the history of the world. (And where will you spend it?) I won't spend it at all. I'll burn it in the astral desert of our love. (Hugh, firstly, you don't know anything about the astral desert of our love. You've never been there. And you're not even welcome, with this attitude. Secondly, the cosmos isn't going to collapse any time soon, so you're going to lose money, aren't you?) I know someone who could arrange it. (Arrange what?) The collapse of the cosmos, its absolute destruction. (Oh, I see. I think I understand. You've had dealings with Jack Pickles.) Jack Pickles? Never heard of him. (You've never heard of Jack Pickles?!) No. What is he, a trader or something? (You must think I'm really stupid, Hugh. Jack is the world's most demonic financier, as you well know. He makes you look like a Boy Scout. And he's the only man alive who has the power to bring about a total collapse of the cosmos. Well, I could probably do it. But he's the only who would have the ambition to do such a thing.) All right, Mikey, I'll fess up. Yes, I've been talking to Jack. You happy now? But he's not demonic in the slightest. He's one of the most charming men I've ever met. He just gets a bad press, that's all. (Hugh, he doesn't get any press, good or bad, man! He controls the media. Even Rupert Murdoch shits himself at the mention of his name. You have no idea what you've got yourself mixed up in, have you? Don't you know who's behind Jack?) Who? (Satan.) Satan?! Are you having a laugh?! Michael, this is the twenty-first century, not the Middle Ages. I think we've all moved on a bit. Satan! (Hugh, listen to me, please. Your soul is in danger. Satan is as real as I am, and as real as you are. He lurks on the lower levels of the astral plane, in his empire of evil, his kingdom of pain, and he's a nasty piece of work, by all accounts. Don't just take my word for it, read Dante.) Yeah, I'll read Dante. (You'll be glad to hear Satan does take prisoners though.) Oh, that's all right then. (However, they have to spend eternity in torment.) Oh. That's not so good. That's the downside, I presume? (Hugh, you're not taking me seriously, are you?) Well, come on, Mike, really. All I want to do is short the cosmos. Jack is a nice guy. It'll work out fine. I'll see you in the desert. (Hugh, you won't be welcome! You're going down to the lower levels! That's where your future lies, unless you wise up.) You're such a drama queen!'

I put the phone down. Slammed it down, in fact. It really pisses me off when people don't take me seriously. But he'll find out. Smug git. He's not genuinely evil. He's just a smug git. I hope I get a chance to see his face the day Jack introduces him to the lord of the lower levels. That'll wipe the smile off. And, yes, he was smiling to himself throughout our phone conversation. I kept an astral eye on him.

Monday 4 October 2010

Richard Buxton at Schroders says the FTSE will gain 20 per cent in 2011!

Not only will there not be a double dip recession, but the FTSE will gain 20 per cent in 2011! [Is there an echo in here?] That's Richard Buxton for you. Fund manager extraordinaire and all-round optimist. He manages the Schroder UK Alpha Plus fund, in case you don't know. Well, you know now, don't ya? I just told you.

You know what I like about Mr Buxton? He's a real person. He's not a puppet. Moreover, he's one of these real people who doesn't behave like a puppet. That's a rare thing. We should all be thankful.

Well, I have been speaking to the man. This is what he told me: 'Mikey, I'm glad you phoned me. I've got things to say. (Oh good. I suppose you want to talk about this amazing prediction of yours? 20 per cent!) No, Mikey, I want to talk about literature. You know I studied English Literature at Oxford, don't you? (No, Richie, I didn't know that.) Oh Mikey! You must know, surely? (It's news to me.) Well, I just want to reassure you that I'm not one of these awful puppets you find in the works of the great authors. (I know you're not.) You would never catch me coming out with a line like, "Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I!" (Richie, mate, I'm sure you would never say anything like that.) "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (Yeah, a nice bit of Fitzgerald, that. I know someone who has read all his books. With great lawyers he has discussed lepers and crooks. I'm sure you understand.) It's not a problem, Mike. I'm a very understanding person. (Do you read much French literature at all?) Afraid not. I don't read Fitzgerald, really. Just the English guys. I went to Oxford, you know. Studied them all there. Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley - (Yeah, they're a bunch of wankers, Rich.) I beg your pardon? (You want some Rimbaud, some Mallarme, some Celine, mate.) Oh, I don't think so. (I do.) "Do you feel the fierce paradise like stifled laughter that slips from the corner of your lips to the deep unanimous crease?" (Can't say I do. But lay some Celine on me, man!) "He rocks me on the bed next to the two pigs ... he lies on top of me too ... he's crushing me ... belching at me ... jabbering at me ... 'I love you! ... I love you!' ... he's fondling me ... 'Ferdinand my baby-face!' he calls me ..." (Great!) Oh, Mikey! I don't feel my normal self. (Oh dear. What's up, Rich?) It's as if you've taken control of me. (Perish the thought!) I feel like a puppet! (Richie, you're not a puppet! Get a grip!) I feel like a character in a work of fiction. (Oh, you're delusional!) Help me! I'm losing my mind!'

Dear reader(s), it can get very confusing. Some people think I'm a fictional character, a mere puppet. Then I turn up at their place of employment with a scalpel. I cut them. I make them bleed. They see the reality of my existence on their own bodies. Then I touch them with my soul. I pull them from their shells and take them on a wild trip. That's when they start to doubt their own existence(s). They know I'm real. I've proved it to them. The blood trickling down their arms and legs is proof enough. But they look at themselves, high above, the earth below, astral sky. They can't believe it's really happening. At that point, even the blood seems fake. I guide them back. Their colleagues are glad to see them again, relieved almost. I let them get on with making money. They have seen me in a new light. I want you to see me in a new light.

BarCap's Tim Bond washes up on the shore of Odey Asset Management

Isn't this what we all dream of, the chance to work as a macro strategist at Odey Asset Management? That's Tim Bond's fate. That's where he is now. That is what he is doing. He is living the dream, with more to come. He may start his own fund at the firm! The possibilities are limitless!

I didn't mention it at the time, but Tim Bond left Barclays Capital in July. He was sitting at his desk, on a sunny afternoon, trying to focus on allocating global assets, the next thing he knew, his mind had set sail for Odey Asset Management. Yes, it can happen just like that. It wasn't a conscious decision on Tim's part. He had no control over the situation. He found himself in that peculiar state of mind that I often (practically always, let's be honest) find myself in. But this state of mind was induced by someone at Odey. Oh, I'm sure of it. Tim is not a natural drifter on the astral waves of the subconscious. And I have never seen him in the desert. No, not once. Someone at Odey wanted him. Someone got him. Let’s leave it at that. I am not going to point the finger. I may cut a thumb, Tim's thumb, put the thumb in my mouth, and suck the sticky blood out till the fever subsides and I am satisfied, as long as Tim doesn't mind, but I will not point the finger. The person at Odey responsible for this consciousness-jacking knows who he/she is. At least, I hope this person does. Imagine working at a hedge fund like Odey and not knowing who you are! The phone could ring. You would pick it up. And you would say, 'Hello, this is ...' No, it's too horrible to contemplate! I pity any poor stranger who has to suffer like that. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, Mr Jack Pickles. Although obviously, dear reader(s), if your name were Jack Pickles, you would never forget it, would you? Satan and his pitchfork would remind you, for one thing. 'You are Jack Pickles!' That's what he gets. Yes, even Jack. As the pitchfork goes in! Oh, it would take a heart of stone not to laugh. A soul of iron. Or a soul with some iron in it.

It took months. The journey. From BarCap to Odey Asset Management. What a brave man! He had no choice, true. But still, he coped with it, didn't he? He didn't burst into tears at the first sight of rutting behemoths in thick whirlpools. Give him some credit, for fuck's sake! Tim is a man we can trust, children. He will not run away from the tough challenges that life throws up every now and then. He doesn't expect everything to be safe and transparent. He knows there are dangers in reality, and mysteries, that must be faced. I know you agree with me. Come on. If you were alone, one night [ain't it always the nights? life is so easy in the daytime], in an attic or a cellar, and you were offered a companion, to help you make it through that night, wouldn't you choose Tim Bond, if I weren't available? Think about it. I want you to seriously think about it. You have some insight into his character now, so wouldn't you choose him? Forget about me. I could be indisposed. Incommunicado, maybe. It does happen. I'm sure you would choose Tim. And he wouldn't let you down.

I think Tim is someone we need to see on the astral plane, regular, like. Let's arrange something, eh?

The inProp UK Commercial Property Fund

I shall have company. In the beginning. A few puppets. - Samuel Beckett

The interesting thing about Paul Ogden is that he's actually a real person. However, he behaves like a puppet. And I can't have that, so I have silenced him. I will report what he says. Of course I will. It is only right that I do so. I feel, dear reader, that you need to know everything he truly believes. Well, not everything. But I will not allow him to speak directly to you. And I will not report his exact words. That does not mean I will twist anything he has to say. Oh no. But these real people who behave like puppets have got to be controlled. We don't want chaos. Not here. At least, not today. I'll see about tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day, as you know. As you can imagine.

Anyway, the inProp UK Commercial Property Fund offers a ground-breaking approach to commercial property investment. Or so they say. Who? They. [That's enough, mystic child. I will allow the 'Who?' You sounded almost like the owl.]

Yes, Paul Ogden is one of the infamous 'they' at inProp Capital. He says the fund was designed to be safe and transparent. He says investors want physical property funds to be safe and transparent because many of them were burnt in the crash. The investors, that is ... got ... burnt.

Like it's a bad thing getting burnt when hot mystic love crashes into your head. Some people don't know they're born. And that's a serious problem. They don't know they're alive, these investors. They got burnt, in the crash, in the desert, one night, while they were wandering, outside ... the comfort of their bodies. Then when they awoke, their sheets were stained, with a sand trail on the bedroom floor, and their faces bright red from the fire, yes, and from the blood I rubbed into their cheeks in a fit of passion. You see, I bit my hand. I was so excited. And I rubbed it [MY BLOOD!] into their cheeks. They loved it at the time. They were smiling. But they awoke to a cold world where such glorious insanities are frowned upon. Their partners, their wives, their husbands, oh I don't know, lying next to them, horrified. And pressure was put on them: 'You must never ever ever again drift off in your dreams to the realm of the financial shamans, the dead financiers, and the money gods. You've ruined the bed now. And what is that smell?' And so ... these investors settle for all that is safe and transparent. Yes, that's what they do. Cowards, all! Paul Ogden, wretched puppet, comes to them with his promises, and they fall into his arms. Anything to escape the burning in their dreams. Anything to escape the disapproval of the square, cold world.

Oh, oh, oh! What am I supposed to do? If they won't help themselves, am I supposed to drag them kicking and screaming into a bloody and burning realm of phantasmagorical happenings, that is not safe, is not transparent, but which offers the seeker [any seeker!] the chance to catch a glimpse of the ultimate reality, I mean, the Absolute? No! That is not my responsibility. I will not play nursemaid to these investors!

It will be unleveraged. It will offer monthly liquidity. The InProp fund. It will track total returns. Paul Ogden wants an ungeared and liquid exposure! Oh, I could weep. Bring on the Edgar puppet!

The weight of this sad time we must obey; speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most; we that are young shall never see so much nor live so long.

Friday 1 October 2010

SEC charges James D. Hopkins and John P. Flannery with misleading investors about subprime investments

Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said, to no one in particular: 'Hopkins and Flannery misled State Street's investors about the risks and credit quality of a fund concentrated in subprime bonds and other subprime investments.'

Well, worse things happen at sea. Just imagine Hopkins and Flannery on a little boat in the astral sea! Even better, imagine that Hopkins and Flannery are a little boat, pissed out of its head.


Lighter than cork, they revolve upon waves, Hopkins and Flannery, rolling with the dead forever in the deep, credit crunch days, beyond the blinking eyes of land! Lulled by storms, they drift seaward from sleep. Sweeter than the Limited Duration Bond fund to an investor, green water fills their cockle shell of pine. Anchor and rudder drifting away, washed in vomit and stained with blue wine. Now they drift through this blog post of the astral sea; this gruel of stars mirrors the milky sky, devours green azures; ecstatic flotsam, drowned investors, pale and thoughtful, sometimes drift by. Staining the sudden blueness, the slow sounds, enhanced cash, deliriums that streak the glowing sky, stronger than drink and the songs they sing, it is burning, bitter, red; it is love! Hopkins and Flannery watch lightning tear the sky apart, watch waterspouts, and streaming undertow, subprime residential mortgage-backed securities and derivatives, and dawn like dove-people rising on wings - they see what SEC employees only dream they see! They see the sun with mystic horrors darken and shimmer through a violet haze; with a shiver of shutters the waves fall like actors in ancient, forgotten plays! They dream of green nights and glittering snow, slow kisses rising in the eyes of the sea, unknown liquids flowing, largely illiquid holdings, the blue and yellow stirring of phosphorescent melody! Oh, the surge of the sea, hysterical herds attacking the reefs; they never imagined the bright feet of Mary could muzzle up the heavy-breathing waves! They jostle - you know? - unbelievable Floridas, and see among the flowers the wild eyes of panthers in the skins of regulators! Rainbows bridling blind flocks beneath the horizons! In stinking swamps they see great hulks: a leviathan that rots in the reeds! Water crumbling in the midst of calm, and distances that shatter into foam. Glaciers, silver suns, waves of pearl, fiery skies, giant serpents stranded where lice consume them, falling in the depths of dark gulfs, from twisted trees, bathed in black perfume! Hopkins and Flannery want to show children these fishes shining in the blue wave, the golden fish that sing - a froth of flowers cradles their wandering and delicate winds toss them on their wings. The sea rocks them softly in sighing air, and brings them shadow-flowers with yellow stems - they remain like women, kneeling. Hopkins and Flannery, their dung, their screams! They drift on through fragile tangled lines, drowned investors, still staring up, sink down to sleep. Now they, a little lost boat, pissed out of its head, in swirling debris, tossed by the storm into the birdless upper air - all their friends at State Street cannot fish up their bodies drunk with the sea; free and soaring, trailing a purple haze, like Jimi, shot through the sky, a reddening wall, lichens of sun, and snots of dull grey sky; lost branch spinning in a herd of hippocamps, covered over with electric animals, an everlasting October battering the cloudy sky; shaking at the sound of monsters roaring, rutting behemoths in thick whirlpools, eternal weaver of unmoving blues, they think of State Street! Hopkins and Flannery see archipelagos in the stars, feverish skies where they are free to roam! Are these bottomless nights your exiled nests, swarm of golden birds, O strength to come? True, they cry too much; heartsick. The moon is bitter and the sun is sour … money burns them; they are swollen and slow. Let their keel break! Oh, let them sink in the sea!