They call him The Plumber, because he was a pipe fitter who made his fortune after inventing a radiator fitting that enables them to be swung away from walls, allowing the area behind to be redecorated. Now Paul Davidson has applied that remarkably fecund mind of his to attempt a spectacular spread betting coup. He placed £6m on a bet that the share price of Cyprotex, a drug-testing company in which he owns shares, would rise when it floated in the stock market; it is the nearest thing the world of finance offers to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now, of course, this audacious move has come under intense scrutiny. Investors have asked the Financial Services Authority to investigate the affair. Mr Davidson says that he took legal advice before placing the bet and denies that the share price has been manipulated. "It's not market abuse. I've not made a secret of this."
Perhaps not, but it is hard to see the spread betting companies and the authorities not trying to prevent this sort of thing happening again. It is not what the Stock Exchange calls an "orderly market". At any rate, many a spread-betting boss will be telling his staff: Watch out for The Plumber.Reuse content