Category Archives: Family Office

The Rogue Trader

We had a wonderful Christmas fair.I was in charge of the books. It was lovely being around books and seeing people still interested in them. One member of the church who helped in setting the books came across “Rogue Trader” by Nick Leeson. He told me not to get any ideas. Today the sermon in church was about stories that we tell other people about ourselves. I would rather not discuss the stories of my work. In 2006 I looked forward to the columns by Geraint Anderson. I could relate to a few stories. Some I thought were fiction. I was in the industry for two years when his columns started to come out. I looked forward to what he had to write. I was naive then. Years on from then and a lot less hair I have come to realise it is much worse. Rules are bent every which way. Banks, law firms and tax advisors figure out ways to help their client to minimise tax payment. The High Net Worth people will always end up paying less tax than normal people.Relationship managers don’t want to know whether rules are broken. They just choose to selectively ignore facts. People act like your friends as long as you are of use to them. After that, they do not care. I love investments and investing. I don’t like the world of investments. It is a world where you lose your soul. It is a world where you do not know who to trust. People over there deserve to go through the refiner’s fire. I will not come out unscathed. I have been asked to hide the truth. I have been told to lie to people about the reasons for not getting into investments. Sometimes I feel like bursting out. If I knew what the impact of it would be then I may let myself explode. Until then I may just keep quiet until the burden of that weighs me to death or to the point I will have no option but to reveal all.

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Filed under Banking, Compliance, Family Office, FATCA, Investments, Private Banking, Regulations, Tax Avoidance

Sex and the city

(Originally posted on November 11th 2009)

The other day as I read a headline of a lady claiming that a hedge fund manager in the city had sexually harassed her. As I read the article I saw the name Mark Lowe. The name sounded familiar and I panicked. I practically ran to my desk and checked my business cards but could not find any reference to him. I checked by emails and then I noticed that emails from him regarding his fund. I cannot recollect if I met the person but in the time that I have been in the industry, I never was taken out by anyone to a gentleman’s club or were introduced to willing ladies. This I do not say with any regret. I do not know what I would have done if I was made such offers. However I can say with a clear heart that I have not taken any decision with regard to investments based on any action that could be classified as a gift.

I was and I guess I still am sheltered. However I have heard sufficient stories to know that these things do happen in the city. It is a deadly spiral. Banks want more of their clients money. Clients must be kept happy. If certain clients can be kept happy by providing sex then it will be done. In the end the bank is happy for getting the profit. The relationship manager has a more plush cushion. Part of the clients need has got satisfied. If the investments do well then that is an extra bonus.

I do not need to be taken out to keep me happy. Provide me with good ideas, warn me when something bad is going to happen and be truthful to me. Trust is a very fragile commodity. Quite a few times it has been broken by people I least expected to. Now I have learnt that I have to be careful with everyone. I hope the people that broke my trust never find out. They will act as if they love me and I will do the same. However deep down and behind closed doors we know which way the current flows.

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Filed under Family Office

The veil of secrecy

(Originally posted on October 26th 2009)

This whole Galleon affair has got me nervous. Where do you draw a line on insider trading? Can something I say about a particular hedge fund or share over the phone or a glass of whisky be counted as a recommendation to buy and later on become a candidate for hedge funds? I classify hedge funds into three categories.Funds that potentially can be suited for the family office, funds that I like and funds that I would feel comfortable to invest in. I do not think I have revealed the specific names of funds that the family has invested in. I have told people of funds that I like or do not like. However now I think I will keep that too to myself. Hopefully the lack of a current confidant will not cause me to burst my seams. I do miss the person I used to talk to. In this industry it is very hard to trust people and even harder for someone to understand what you are saying. I hope a quarter century from now my son will share my passion for the markets. I also hope that half a decade from now I will not be a Madoff. The last thing I would want is to spend the last 4 years of my life depending on the hospitality of His Majesty’s Prison Guard.

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Filed under Family Office, hedge funds