Credit Crisis Diary: 16/05/2009
Saturday 16 May 2009
One return for us, another for the clients
The US hedge fund star James Simons, rarely puts a foot wrong, but he was certainly wrongfooted by some cross investors who used a conference call with the great man to ambush him.
Mr Simons's flagship fund, Reif, is down 17 per cent this year, investors pointed out. That would be bad enough, but another fund, in which the money of Mr Simons and several colleagues is held, is up 12 per cent over the same period. "We certainly understand our clients' discomfort," Mr Simons told investors recently. But they clearly don't share it.
Not to prejudge the issue, but...
Looks like the oil company Shell needs to draft in a few extra security guards for next week's annual general meeting. One protest group at least is promising a noisy demonstration over Shell's environmental record and its activities in the Niger Delta. Given the group's web address – www.shellguilty.com – it seems unlikely to be turning up for a considered debate.
A good home for MPs' money?
ING Direct continues to target the UK savings market – and one bunch of cash-rich individuals in particular. Almost every story about MPs' expenses on The Daily Telegraph's website appears with an advert from ING Direct. At least MPs know where best to stash their ill-gotten gains.
The not so great government giveaway
Say what you like about Alistair Darling, but he's not daft. Parker's, the car buying gurus, point out that his scrappage scheme won't cost a penny – indeed, it will make money for the Treasury. Since the Government is only putting up £1,000 of the scrappage incentive, there is not a new car cheap enough for the Treasury not to make more back on VAT than it is shelling out. On a £17,000 Ford Focus, for example, it will net almost £2,200 in VAT for its £1,000 investment.
Pennies (and more) from heaven
German police yesterday closed a section of motorway for financial reasons: a man driving a convertible car with the roof down left an envelope containing €23,000 on the back seat, only for the cash to blow across the carriageway. The money had been meant to pay for the Audi car, which the unfortunate chap was test-driving near Hanover. Police spent half an hour searching for the money, but could not find €3,000 of it. Meanwhile the man, 23, could be also charged for the cost of the police operation.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West
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