PIMCO’S GROSS LOWERS THE TONE WITH A TOUCH OF TOILET HUMOUR
FULL marks to Pimco managing director Bill Gross, who has excelled even his own high standards of witty repartee in his latest Investment Outlook newsletter. The most recent missive is dedicated to none other than the humble toilet – more specifically, the advent of electronic “eye” sensors in place of a manual flushing system.
“It’s after the dirty deed is complete that the real intrigue begins,” writes Gross, who clearly isn’t too concerned about the delicate sensibilities of his more prudish readers.
“Does it flush or doesn’t it?…Sometimes, after the paperwork has been filed, pants pulled up and an attempted getaway initiated – nothing happens. No flush. Well, what is one to do in such circumstances? You can’t just leave it there, you know. Sometimes when the toilet’s plugged and there’s no plunger like in European bathrooms, you can get out of there quick with conscience intact, but only, of course, after checking to see that there’s no one else in the restroom who might be able to testify against you in court for being a non-flusher. With electronic eye toilets, however, the conscience is never clear…”
On and on Gross rambles, for a page and a half, before getting to his point – the consequences of a global deleveraging drive in the face of slowing growth in world population, and the dangers of “cyclical policy errors that thrust Keynesian consumption remedies on a declining consumer base”. His conclusion? We’re in “deep demographic doo-doo”.
HOT OFF THE BLOCK
Off to an informal drinks party on Tuesday evening at the Devonshire Terrace bar near Liverpool Street, where fund manager Henderson was entertaining its staff and their friends at a bash in aid of young people’s charity Fairbridge.
The showpiece of the event was a charity auction, which raised £6,000 via the sale of a number of juicy lots, including signed sporting memorabilia, tickets to the opera, pop concerns and sports matches, and golfing days out. The Capitalist was somewhat bemused by the tastes of the fund managers present, who let a driving experience day for six people at Silverstone go for a mere £650, but were willing to stump up £430 for a signed print of a painting by grizzled Aussie animal-lover Rolf Harris.
Institutional sales associate director James Lucas was on hand to auction off the first items, though the entertaining display was rather more one of charm than of skill. Luckily for the charity’s revenues, he soon handed over to head of corporate communications Richard Acworth, who divvied up the remaining big ticket items with flair.
While we’re on the subject of asset management, let’s turn to the hot source of gossip in the industry: New Star and Jupiter founder John Duffield, who’s now busy with new venture Brompton Asset Management on the other side of town.
Tongues are wagging that Duffield has recently been trying to convince his sidekick, former Sunday Times business editor John Jay, to pen an autobiography, funded by the great man himself. I call Jay, kicking back on holiday this week with a copy of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail, to find out more.
“I’m not writing any book at the moment,” comes the reply, accompanied by the requisite
hearty guffaw. And yet he does make sure to add: “That comment would not preclude me
from writing one in the future…” Let’s wait and see, eh?
First we had the Brics – Brazil, Russia, India and China – and now everyone is burbling about the hot new tips for emerging market economies with the potential for runaway growth, the Civets – Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa. With all these initials flying about, the City has been getting acronym-happy, and a reader emails in to float a few new possibilities.
“I suggest that other contrived investment regions could consist of Bulgaria, Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania and Serbia?” he begins. “Or perhaps Armenia, Russia, Serbia and Estonia? Or moving east, maybe Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea? Or in Africa, how about Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania and Sierra Leone? Armed with a map of the world, the possibilities are almost endless.”
NECK AND NECK
Happy news for NewSmith Capital Partners founder Paul Roy yesterday at Goodwood. Roy, who is also chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, saw his horse Canford Cliffs storm to victory in the prestigious Sussex Stakes, winning by a neck against last year’s victor Rip Van Winkle to claim the £300,000 race.
City table tennis fanatics should get ready for some furiously competitive action over the summer, after Lord Mayor Nick Anstee launched the Square Mile’s outdoor ping pong league yesterday. Tables are located at Paternoster Square, the Barbican and Finsbury Square, while City workers can sign up to take part at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/sport/2012.