last week i distributed in a meeting what I thought was a well-reasoned argument for engaging in more quantitative, metrics-based evaluation of fund managers, as well as some qualitative researched informed by the academic discipline known as “depth psychology.” (none of that dr. phil crap for us. we’re serious over here). It seemed to me that bernie madoff provides the perfect example of the highly-driven portfolio manager with whom we should be investing over the short-term – in other words, a manager for the investor looking for the quick “in-and-out” market opportunity. Much of my analysis was based on recent allegations made against madoff regarding his person and his character. remember – we’re here to make money, so one’s own ethical reservations should be held in check.
i began the meeting by reading statements made by madoff’s former mistress, sheryl weinstein, in her recent book, intriguingly entitled madoff’s other secret, which contains much crucial material, salacious though it may seem to those not as market-minded as me, about her alleged affair with the ponzi-scheming madoff. mrs weinstein’s words, courtesy of the n.y. daily news, as read aloud in my own beautiful irish tenor voice (although I see know I should have attempted to mimic weinstein’s “new yawker” timbre):
this man was not well-endowed… bernie had a very small penis. not only was it on the short side, it was small in circumference. that he was now pointing it out to me was telling. it clearly caused him great angst. i wanted to be careful how i responded. men and their penises have a strange and unique relationship… liked this man and didn’t want to emasculate him. his tiny penis hadn’t prevented me from climaxing… when we made love, i was on fire…
incredibly, no one in the room could realize the brilliance of what I was proposing! i guess they were all tired from watching so you think you can dance or whatever shit they do at night.
i explained in laborious detail that all we had to do was assign an investigator to research the private lives of some of our prospective portfolio managers, interview their ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, even their mothers … maybe offer the manager’s g.p. or urologist a small cash honorarium for divulging a couple of facts about said manager’s anatomy, and soon we would be in a position assemble a roster of highly motivated managers adept at the art of the quick turn-around, the so-called “in-and-out” market manager.
remember, i told my slow-on-the-uptake colleagues, in freud’s world, everybody is always compensating for something…
based on the venerable english legal maxim that “silence implies consent,” i figured that i had the go-ahead to begin getting quotes from private investigators and corporate security firms. i mean, i am dealing with people who think that the quality of street musicians or attractiveness of waitresses in mid-priced restaurants are reliable economic indicators… who think that mutual fund fees are reasonable!
alas, long story short, my boss approached me with the news that this initiative of mine was considered “a non-starter – some senior people think it is at odds with our brand values of ethics and professionalism… but surprisingly a number of the folks in design liked it.” she then broached the idea of a “working vacation — and the company will pay for it! there’s a conference in ibiza we’d like you to attend. take a friend and stay a few extra days. take your dog if you want.”
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