Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Winning The Battle But Losing The War?

Fables and parables are likely as old as language itself. Aesop's Tortoise and The Hare is more iconic of patience & method than anything yet written, springing to mind yet again just the other day as I'm cycling atop the north downs.  I am mid-ride, and ascend up the steeps overlooking the Darent Valley on my way through Warlingham , then across east to leafy lanes of Knockholt on my way to descending into sleepy Otford Village. Despite the beauty of this area, I rarely ride north of M25. The lanes are tighter, the driver's more impatient, he troads less well-kept (if such a thing were possible). I am in gawking mode -  taking in the scenery of roads not-yet-traveled. I begin my descent and pass a super-high security area as I am coming down the hill enroute to Otford. High-tech cameras… double-fences….fencecd-in cameras and cameras trained on the fences. I follow a truck down a side road towards an entrance gate at the base of the hill, also with double gates, infra-red cameras. I could slip in drafting behind the 18-wheeler, but think it wiser to stand my ground. I think: WTFF is THAT in leafy old Kent?!?! 

When I get home, I check out my maps, and it turns out that the installation is the old Fort Halstead (I'd never heard of it) but all locals have  Apparently, the Brits built it at the turn of the last century as part of a ring of strategically-located fortifications in order to protect London from what one might only guess to be a land invasion (from ummm  errrrr I don't know…the Germans?) which were meant to be manned by Dad's Army.  After the first world war, it was home to sercret weapons research and other things no one likes to talk about . Anyway, the German's failed to breach blighty's shores (for which they [the Germans] are undoubtedly thankful, preferring Spain and Greece in any Event) never testing the Volunteer Force (likely a good thing for the occasionals). After WWII,  Fort Halstead housed top secret military research (think of Ian Fleming's likeable "Q"). Though in its hey-day, it was thought to be center of UK Nuclear Weapons Research,  with time, (and the 1970s) (and the fact that half this island eats baked beans for breakfast), it became quite clear the UK couldn't really afford such luxury. So with an empty billfold, in one of the last sales of state assets,  the UK Government privatised it (calling the outfit QinetIQ, eliciting thoughts of  "The Smartest Guys In The Room) after which management and directors paid themselves larger salaries and big bonuses before remembering that they've only got one big (and very skint) customer, who occupies a rather over-crowded island in the very North Atlantic and no longer has an empire. QinetIQ, in a move to cut costs so that they could continue to pay generous salaries and bonuses to management and directors, decided that they didn't really need the Fort Halstead installation (with their skint customer now in need of fewer , if any, Nukes) and, sitting as is does upon some 300 or so acres of the most expensive real estate outside of London, they decided they would close it (NB: It was the largest employer in the Sevenoaks area with > 1200 people!!) and cash in on the soaring land values. The sale process was set in motion and irony of ironies, who buys this former fortification designed to protect the people and government of London, thereby capturing the proverbial flag? Yes, you guessed it….The Germans!  (Deutsche Bank's Anglo-sounding property development group Armstrong Kent LLP for a whopping "undisclosed sum" of millions).  One would be forgiven for wondering if The Brits only won the battle but really lost the war...?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I read yesterday morning in the Japan Times that the JP Morgan settlement is thought to be a blueprint of future settlements. Some recompense to the Treasury, some putative damages to act a deterrent for the future, but a decided lack of culpability in the veritable errrr ummm culprits.

Why, pray tell, is it believed correct by a majority of lawmakers in America that "Gun's Don't Kill People - People Kill People",  yet, the same lawmakers fail to apply similar conviction (no pun intended) to the thought that "Banks Don't Commit Financial Crime - People Commit Financial Crime"?  It is quite obvious that in the truest sense, a bank cannot (yet) commit a crime, and until such time as HAL or Holly take over the reins and execution of bank trading and management, there are individuals, and responsible managers, and their Managers (upper-case "M") who, should be culpable. Yet, in 2013 America, if one pays enough, it seems the perps and perp-enablers and perp-encouragers and perp-incentivizers can walk free.

The question as to "why" there exists a paradox of culpability is a rhetorical question. The answer is  rather obvious: the legislature and its lawmakers have been captured, which leads to laws and standards of convenience, rather than consistent logic. In the game of political rock-paper-scissors, money trumps philosophical consistency each and every day.

While I am admittedly both curmudgeonly and, at times cantankerous, and I am known to be periodically nostalgic, none of these are behind my belief that partnerships-of-old, as compared to publicly-listed joint-stock companies, throttled behaviour in ways that were palpably superior, precisely because there was a semblance of culpability - at the very least to one's partners. And if you weren't a partner, you can be certain that the culpable partner would insure potential tumors under his remit were excised, as such a cancer would impact both his partnership and therefore his children's patrimony. I am of course, using this as an example, and I am not suggesting banks return to a partnership model. But it is important to question precisely what message is being sent by the decided lack of personal culpability, directly, by line managers, and their senior managers. Yes, their Senior Managers. In most areas of the law (it has been pointed out to me on more than one compliance-related occasion)  ignorance is no excuse.

So "Pay Away" your sins, while a palliative to the Treasury, is no cure. Only the bona-fide prospect of sharing a cell with a father-raper, near-total asset seizures vs. to most individuals what now appears to be eventual repayment of an interest-free loan (if caught) and a possibly blot on one's employment record (which BTW others less pure-minded may see as a virtue). In practice, this must mean more than  selling out a few of your subordinates to take the rap, and make it go away. Like cancer, if you don't get it all, it will return, metastasize, and kill the host. And to be clear: WE are the host.            

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Join Today! The "Trade of The Month Club"

In 1928, Harry Scherman a JWT coptwriter founded the Book-of-the-Month Club to help the aspiring masses populate their scant libraries with leather-bound tomes their friends and guests might impressedly fondle. Over time, the idea spawned many copycats from "Wine-of-the-Month" Club, to the more absurd "Fruit-of-the-Month" Club. The year nineteen hundred and twenty-eight was, I might point out, rather near to the denoument of the roaring bull, and so padding out a library for show, rather than one's edification, was certainly apt.

But here we are in the year two-thousand and thirteen - one that finds investors, in a word, apathetic, and adding a few more, decidedly lacking in conviction. Investment is determined by the negative of asset-class avoidance ("I hate bonds"), reaction to market action ("Silver isn't working") rather than by inspired imagination (excepting the promise of Tesla Motors or the Strontium/Cesium eating algae of Japan Best Rescue Co. (TSE Code 2453).  Even the most dire of Euro-skeptics (excepting Mish and The Telegraph's Ambrose Five-Names) those who only months before were hyperventilating in their predictions that the Greeks would shortly be wiping their bottoms with light-blue EU Flags - have lost their conviction in Europe's and the Euro's imminent demise, and returned to their local Brasserie  for a plate of Jarret à l'os. 

So uninspired are investors, both Macro and Micro, Chernham & Burnham Publishing will, effective immediately, attempt to solve this crisis-of-no-obvious-crisis, by forming, and opening for membership a "Trade-of-the-Month" Club, along lines inspired by Mr Scherman back in 1928.  Each and every month, on its first day, The Trade-of-the-Month Club will provide you (and it must be pointed out all other club Members) with a single, inspired, carefully-bound idea that Members can sink their money into, and concertedly both move, and benefit from others moving, the price of the chosen investment. This will provide relief from market boredom, narrow ranges, and unpredictable whip-saws. Accompanying each volume will be a simultaneous month-long dissemination of sponsored research, press-reports, "briefing notes" for stringers and content providers to construct their own articles as well as selected Experts made available to talk on the "Trade of The Month" in multi-media interviews of all formats.  Recent 2013 Trades-of-The-Month (available to our Beta members) have included: "Jan 2103 Short Yen/Long Nikkei", June 2013 - Long the USD,  May 2013 - Short AUD, Aug 2013 -Short US Bonds, rounding out a stunningly attractive set of trades for our Members trading pleasure.

Finally, I want to highlight that like all good research with commercial objectives - whether Independent, Private, Sell-Side, Newsletter - the Trade of The Month Club will offer tiers of membership: "Basic", "Preferred", and "SAC".   I am quite certain that this needs no further discussion and that everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - knows what's going here.

So sign up today! And begin receiving your "Trade of The Month commencing immediately!

COMING SOON!: The "Trade of The Month" Club will shortly introduce its special Monthly Activist Section. This will be tailored specifically to the interests of Activist members highlighting a different target every month. In addition to focusing Members' attention upon a single well-researched thesis, it will also include provocative boiler-plate letters composed to company chairmen and their board members that members can customize accordingly, and a special Xmas Focus Edition to help members with a year-end busting performance boost. Join today!

Freedom To Choose (...to be buggered)

Her Majesty's Post Office, The Royal Mail, has been privatized. As such, it is an opportune moment to evalute past experience, in order to ruminate upon whether, in totality, as proponents might suggest, this is a "good thing".

There is no small contingent repeating the mantra "Privatization Is Good" with a religious fervency that would make Lubbovitchers envious.  Their arguments - free markets, competition, consumer choice, efficiency - are, by now, well-known to all. But I often wonder whether any such proponents have taken a (UK) train in the past decade, paid a gas bill, tried to swap electricity providers, have ever been employed by a privatized regulated quasi-monopoly, or for that matter, ever required the installation of a private telephone line.

I will state my thesis clearly and directly: upon reflection, I reckon that the overwhelming majority of the much-trumpeted economic benefits have been appropriated by Management and Shareholders of privatized entities, leaving the other constituents - captive customers, and long-serving employees and, most importantly, the taxpayer - decidedly worse-off than what was the case with former monopolies, or what is the case in comparison to state-sponsored monopolies across peer nations in Western Europe. While it is likely that there are many studies sponsored by the beneficiaries demonstrating unmitigated success, in addition to numerical analyses from the losers, concluding overwhelming failure, what IS undisputed is that the "Privatization is Good" arguments have gained primacy amongst the polity to such an extent that it feels heretical to re-open discussions to the contrary.

Let's detail and review the textbook arguments promised in favor. Lower prices. Better service. Greater simplicity. Increased investment in infrastructure. More consumer choice. From my observations on an absolute and relative basis, I anecdotally conclude the following: Lower prices (than otherwise would have prevailed)? No. Better service? Not really, unless one enjoys being tortured by rat-hole mazes of automated telephone menu systems. Greater Simplicity? No, it is likely that to NOT be buggered by the plethora of sucker "deals" and teaser offers, one needs a more advanced degree than the engineers providing the service.  Greater Investment in Infrastructure? I will concede 'perhaps in airports'.  These are neither indictments against markets nor a trebuchet aimed at the notion of competition. The dismal experience to-date may be the result of insufficient regulation or regulatory failure, corporate lobbying & rent-seeking, or simply ineptitude or short-sightedness on the part of The State in the sale of assets or management of the long-term concession process, which is undeniably complex, and subject to asymmetrical expertise when facing off against better-funded and better remunerated private interests (at least in nations where the most able opt for private rather than public administrative careers). Or it may simply be that exchanging public for private ownership of natural monopolies are just not fit for the purpose of exemplifying Libertarian-inspired policy benefits. 

Consider, now, what is self-evident: Capex is likely lower (and now conflictual needing to, as best as possible, be stipulated by contract), and where adequate is typically funded directly by the consumer through higher charges. Yet, the consumer/taxpayer, who regressively pays for the capex and infrastructure receives no long-term benefits such as lower charges once depreciation rolls off, nor carried interest in the resulting long-lifed assets whose (monopoly) values have tended to rise at greater than the rate of inflation. Consumer costs are by definition higher since they must now directly repay the up-front dowry investors forked over in exchange for a guaranteed rate of return. Here, again, incentives are conflictual as prices are rapid to rise and sticky to fall. Moreover, non-volatile non-commodity things like transport or water/sewage NEVER fluctuate down (on an average basis).

Risks also appear skewed asymmetrically-favoring shareholders at the expense of the Taxpayer and Consumers.  The risk is fully-borne by the consumer. Price increases typically have a guaranteed floor with a minimum (again in the case of trains) guaranteed escalation of "CPI + 1" formula with options for more upside should regulators be strong-armed or feel charitable, or wages be strong-armed or fortuitously move lower in real-terms. And in fact, wages and benefits for most employees have been doing just this: falling in real terms, irrespective that the contractual  basis for perpetual increases on the revenue-side of the equation is CPI. This is unimaginably good luck since CPI is unreflective of their costs - rising residential property prices, rents, food and - in a perverse feedback loop - the higher rail and utility charges themselves. Over time, this runaway feedback-loop has left (for example) UK fares ridiculously out on the tail of comparative European costs. 

"Consumer choice" is one of the favourite arguments of proponents, yet also one of the lamest - particularly when applied to the typical privatized monopoly. Supporters may conjure images of the dour Leonid Brezhnev, a cigar-chomping Fidel or an army-fatigue clad Bulgarian women in Ceaușescu-like Halls of The People hissing and spitting in customer's faces. But I believe this is a canard, and that there is, to put it frankly, little public utility in competing utilities - from a customer choice point of view. Competing oligopolies can hardly be considered to provide truly competitive choice. Can anyone honestly say that privatization has improved customer service? I see no end to understaffed gas, telecom, or electric  works snarling critical byways, workers unchaffed, sipping tea. One can wonder whether public monoplies might have provided even greater benefits had they the luxury of the productivity gains resulting from IT revolution just as one may wonder whether the Average Russian, as opposed to the 135 oligarchs controlling 40% of Russia's wealth, would have been better off had The Party remained in power, or a newly democratic state had maintained monopoly control of assets at least through the main part of The Commodity Supercycle.   If legacy monopolies were empowered to invest half the resources that newly-privatized entities spend concocting deceptive half-baked fare structures or confusing tariff-schemes with weird-ass terms in which the consumer always loses, "customer choice"would be a proverbial red herring. Gas would be delivered; waste-water cleansed and it would be done simply and sufficiently above cost to fund capex for the next generation. It truly isn't difficult. And in any event, customers do NOT want choice - they want what they want, which is good value for money - rather than a jolly-rogering from one's service provider. 

Yet another vastly inflated argument is the 'Benefits of Competition' justification. One needn't be a Trotsky-ite to see the paradoxical oxymoronic absurdity of "monopoly competition"- particularly with respect to a natural monopoly. It is all well-and-good to suggest that a bus, car, bicycle, or private helicopter serve as reasonable substitutes for a suburban commute from the Green Belt keeping operators honest, but this is just horse-shit. While the Southern or  Southeastern train service may be 35 minutes to a London from my mainline station, a bus (or several pairs of buses) is not (and has never been) a viable substitute and would, in actual, fact take several hours, as might a car journey at the same time in the AM, or PM, forgetting the negative externalities and near-impossibility of parking. As a keen cyclist, I would happily contemplate cycling the 25 miles were it not perpetually life-threatening (even Tour de France-winner Brad Wiggins was knocked off his saddle in the UK) and were the roads properly maintained. I would hitch a ride on Lord Asa Three-Names' chopper were it on offer and make my own way across town, (though sadly I've yet to be invited).  And while my garden is of sufficient size to house an Aggreko generator should my Electricity provider fall out of my favour, the resulting vibrations and humming might sour neighborly relations just a tad, and while I am fortunate to also have space for a diesel storage depo, I do have my doubts whether the requisite permits would be forthcoming. Let's stop the weaseling: it is a bullshit of an excuse. There is a simple blended cost of production (raw material plus large depreciating capital costs), delivery across a network (also with  maintenance, & high and depreciating capex) plus the SG&A of billing & admin (and perhaps the cost of placing one's name on a Premiership jersey. Tweedle Dee's price cannot be more than basis points from Tweedle Dum (nor his logo more inspiring). If it is then (1) Tweedle Dee is stealing from us all, or (2) Tweedle Dum is completely inept and has wasted valuable resources that could have been used to contribute to ongoing system-wide capex. Oh and of course there is not an improbable chance that: (3) Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum collude on pricing and both steal from us all.  

Ah, one might interject, The Taxpayers are surely better off. After all, they received generous proceeds from the sales, didn't they?  Apart from a lower borrowing requirement and some freebies, I don't see where the Taxpayer is better off. Privatisation was always about fiscal diddling and the last round by New Labour were no different as I 
called out here and here (should anyone think me partisan) and were little different to American's taking out HELOCs on overvalued homes to take a cruise, or make other non-investment-related expenditure that shredded any hope of retaining equity on their home.  More importantly, for fiscal rectitudists, they prevented UK politicians from having the type of adult conversation with their child-like Constituents about sustainable spending (which BTW includes the very same public servants' pensions!!). The point is, the state needn't ever bear the brunt of capital investment (directly on-balance-sheet) since a state-controlled natural monopoly can borrow and invest in its own name, even without an explicit government guarantee. This is strictly off-balance sheet. A typical natural monopoly's assets are vast, and rarely are it's claims-paying ability in question (with a few exceptions e.g. USPS) where ostrich-like union intransigence fails to acknowledge the arrival of the twenty-first century upon jobs, service and working practices. One could argue that it in certain situations, such a monopoly borrowing in its own name is preferred by investors since it's assets (a Gas distribution network, rollingstock, a power grid) are typically less encumbered than a Govt's G.O. promises - DB, SNCF being a case in point. Who wouldn't lend to Deutschebahn or SBB? Moreover, it needn't be Leviathan, or a Michael Palin-inspired "Brazil" bureaucracy.  DB (as well as others on the continent) is organized as a private corporation, run on corporate lines, where the shareholders have broader, wider objectives (like "let's not make it a priority to think of devious ways to fuck our customers) and more importantly, being in a position to exercise the requisite control to make it so. Taxpayers get short-shrift in other ways. Since newly privatized firms notoriously drive down real wages and benefits, there is a greater burden on the social services and government expenditure - both directly and indirectly. And there are the negative externalities that come with outsourcing and greater employment instability - either through the increased rate of contract workers, or outsourced contract workers. Were waste and largesse pursued in the name of the customer to reduce prices, or with a view to investing the gains in new plant, equipment, better services etc. this could be a powerful argument. Instead these gains are pocketed primarily by management and shareholders - a net transfer from workers, captive customers and taxpayers to management and shareholders, aptly characterized by Billie Holiday in her signature tune: "Nice work if you can get it....", or if you're allowed to get it.

Not only are taxpayers NOT better off, they likely are worse off. They are being abused by clever financial engineering (like the type the Li Ka-Shing used to control Thames water) which after years of minting coin and contributing to the HMRC miraculously no longer makes any trading profit on-shore and therefore pays no income tax as a result of inflated interest payments to foreign debt-holders (who are, Yes!, Li Ka-Shing). By selling up, the taxpayer has ceded a most valuable inflation option on precisely the type of inflation we are witnessing and are likely to continue to witness:  Stagflating Resource Stuff coupled with falling real wages resulting from dual pressures of globalization and persistent output gaps. For IF real median wages are falling (and they are), why don't the customers share the benefit?  Why should management and shareholders receive this windfall? Surely this wasn't the spirit of privatization. The option is asymmetric: a guaranteed rate of return on the downside and asymmetric embedded options everywhere else. Investors (and management) are long a free-call on stagflation, and inflation, and long a put on deflation via return guarantees on the downside. The Taxpayer, through privatization, managed to go short perpetual, free straddles!! Both Employees and customers are short the same inflation put. The State (and hence Taxpayers) got a right shite deal because they swapped an asset - i.e. hugely valuable infrastructure and monopoly privilege whose Tobin Q-ratio (as HS2 and Cross-rail show) is many many many times higher that that implied by the typical sale price - for cash which was effectively a one off reduction in taxes/revenue.  

Holding one of the winning tickets are management & directors, who receive far-higher salaries for doing the same thing they were doing before, with the added bonus of golden parachutes and additional benefits previously "not cricket" with being the manager of an enterprise in "the public interest". Before one judges harshly, this might be warranted given the reduced job-security and icnreased stress now associated with a private enterprise. Ummm but wait: wasn't the same argument used to throttle employee wages, and outsource their (better-paying) jobs? There is no less fierce or heated competition for management's jobs as there are for labour's, yet the outcomes are decidedly different, and neither is in the public's interest.  Combined with Shareholders spoils,  the gains are now wholly-privatised, with the attendant risks - including unemployment, and tax-predation, fully-socialized. Cost rises and capex are borne ultimately by the consumer without recompense;  employees are left with even less stability, fewer benefits and falling real wages; while at the same time salaries and benefits for management outpace inflation. Add to that the injustice of free embedded options awarded to management and particularly shareholders, to the insult of consumers having to endure collusion amongst so-called competitors, more complex and deceptive pricing and attendant stickiness in prices that borders on cheating & dishonesty, and it's hard to get very enthusiastic about the whole exercise.

At least, for the economy as a whole, whatever the drawbacks of Bulgarian-inspired customer service, 1980's 'GUM'-style choice in Public Utilities, the patronage, sloth, over-staffing, higher-than necessary employee wages and benefits - whether imagined or real - likely made positiver contributions to the stability to macroeconomic 'Consumption', contributed to reducing both the level and the cyclicality of 'Government' expenditure, reduced the stress and uncertainty amongst workers generally thus contributing to marginally higher consumer spending, and investment since the velocity and marginal propensity to consume the additional pound are more elevated when distributed throughout the median income household and below.  

So the next time your ideologically-driven MP tries to convince you of the benefits of privatizing your natural monopoly, remember that, adapting Frank Zappa's apt words, there is a big difference between kneeling down before the altar of privatization and bending over. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kim DotCom Takes on Hedge Funds

Kim Dotcom takes on Hedge Funds! OK, so the headline is a tad sensationalist, but one might be forgiven for thinking that the idea of swapping research on hedge funds opens some moral (and indeed some potential copyright) issues. PirateBay always denied it was jolly-rogering the record companies and artists, just as one wouldn't expect to see Albourne's watermarked reports, or Cambridge Research's proprietary research offered verbatim on HF Investors' potential Pirate Bay. That said, the concept sure looks like Napster has arrived at the doorsteps of hedge fund research.

Information does apparently have some serious value to potential investors wiring nine-figure sums to HF's accounts. One might indeed wonder whether there will be an even more highly-prized back-room on the exchange (think of the most private and exclusive of Baccarat tables at a Casino) where whistle-blower secrets on HFM's dirty-deeds could be exchanged for even larger sums? In this way, a mid-level operations clerk, or contract programmer at an HF, PB or administrator can vault to a big-time Wikileaks-enabled pay-day.If exchanging such info for money,  would they be protected by whistleblower laws? Though the intent is to disrupt the cozy rarefied world of the upper echelons of manager research, the potential effects may be much wider (and more dangerous to those managers surfing the edge or dabbling in the Dark Arts. Like Cosmo suggested in the Cult-hacker movie Sneakers, "No More secrets, Marty...."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nialling Down Before the Altar

Precisely what is it about a posh polished British accent and Oxbridge authoritativeness that causes Americans to become weak-kneed, flustered and forget all sense (critical and otherwise) as Og, Wally & Vermin do in the presence The Supreme Being??!? A smart dark suit, a smug and condescending  manner of superiority coupled with a self-attributed sense of intellectual omniscience about ummm errrrr everything, a dramatic flair accompanying words that flow smooth as hot oil with nary a stutter, hesitation, repitition or stumbling utterance - not unlike Ralph Richardson (above left) or convincing  director/thespian-turned-Smith-Barney-pitchman, John Houseman, or one might even suggest the historian (say that again, historian - not the economist) Niall Ferguson, that arrest the bullshit detectors and scream integrity - deserve-ed or not. The former, are, of course serious actors and entertainers of the first order, thereby having excuse and justification to play the part. The latter...well...appears to just enjoy the adulation, and yankee aversion to head-to-head verbal combat - the kind that amongst more critical experts might very well reduce his smugly and superiorly-rendered "facts" to the realm of mere conjecture and opinion proffered by an historian somewhat astray from his recognized comfort zone at best, to 'bat-shit' at worst. In simpler days past, with more humility, one such as Mr Ferguson might have been termed and perhaps even been respected as a 'polymath'. In the ever-increasing complexity of modernity, however, I fear that, when pontificating from up high on the subject of economics, he is, like Mssrs. Richardson and Houseman, just a convincing entertainer, and policy circles - particularly in America - would be judicious to treat him as such.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Things You Don't See Everyday #117

GOOG finance has a rather interesting business description summary of the fishin' prods co' company formerly as Daiwa Seiko (TSE Code #7990), but now known as Globeride to reflect its repositioning towards things two-wheeled (something I personally approve). For it is not every day - at least not in the USofA where companies compete with other to devise new ways to avoid providing their employees with healthcare or sufficient hours to qualify for benefits - where one sees an overt statement by a company of its responsibilities to its workers.

GLOBERIDE, Inc. is a Japan-based company. The Company, along with its subsidiaries and associated companies, is mainly engaged in the manufacture and sale of sports-related products. The Company is also engaged in the provision of welfare for the Company staff. As of March 31, 2012, the Company had 23 subsidiaries. On August 31, 2011, the Company completed the dissolving of its wholly owned subsidiary's subsidiary engaged in wholesales of fishing gear.

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Trend is Your Friend....(until it's not)

So Farewell then
FX Concepts
An early entrant
in the trend
to follow trends.

Your fund had
some good years,
and some not,
though overall:

You went from
Nil, to $14bn,
And back.
Ashes to ashes...

Your catch-phrase
The Trend
Is Your Friend...

...but not when
The Trend is in

(with apologies to PrivateEye & EJ Thribb, aged 23-1/2)