Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

Low Life | 11 April 2009

Take cover

Another soulless office in a bank: another ebullient robot in a dark suit in the chair opposite. This one wanted me to invest a small inheritance in one or both of two investment funds. With these in mind, he showed me a laminated diagram of an equilateral triangle illustrating the correlation between risk and financial gain. It was the kind of thing researchers show chimps to find out how bright they are. The nearer the apex, the greater the profit, but also the greater the risk. It was a bit rich showing me this, I thought, when they should have been showing it to themselves for the past five years. I kept my thoughts to myself, however, and studied it gravely.

His opinion of the current state of the financial markets, which he gave me with the air of sharing a confidence, was that they aren’t in nearly as bad shape as the media pundits are claiming. Yes, the stock markets have fallen, but to the levels of which past year? I hazarded a guess. ‘Fifteen eighty-eight?’ I said. Wrong, he said. It had fallen back to the level it was only a few years ago. So what were my thoughts? he said. Did I have any thoughts so far about how I was going to invest my windfall?

I certainly did have some thoughts. I had already decided to withdraw the whole lot in £50 notes, seal it in a Tupperware box, and bury it in the back garden, under the laurel bush most likely. He could talk about stock markets and investment funds until he was blue in the face — my money was going in the ground.

Two main reasons for my new take on the hedge fund.

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