Feb 26

The Insider

KYC, come on now chaps it’s 2008 end even my old Dad knows that KYC has nothing to do with fast food take away chicken and everything to do with “Know Your Client”. Unfortunately, however, Insider has had to witness a grown and professionally qualified man make a fool of himself over the last few months by failing to grasp this 21st century concept. Come on, we now must all take responsibility for whomever we introduce, or have as a client. You cannot any longer casually introduce or retain people as clients if you do not “know them”. With FICA and FAIS in full operation as well as a number of other international acts snapping at our heels we all must accept that suck slack attitudes can only bring dire consequences and professional damage, to my old mate, I say “if you lie down with the dogs you will catch fleas!”

OLD MUTUAL, well done to the Mutual, they produced some excellent results recently and they seemingly come off the back of Skandia, showing that if you identify a good acquisition target you should pursue it to the end, well done Jim Sutcliffe! On another tack I note one of Old Mutual’s very focused investment subsidiaries told a friend of mine recently simply that their clients were too up market to attend Kenilworth Race track, it was not exclusive enough and they were more suited to Polo! Another mate in a rival private bank wanted to know if that was water polo? Meow!

FIDENTIA, a word that has appeared in the press even more than Jim’s Old Mutual although I still think Fidentia sounds like a security firm. Anyway it would appear that old Fidentia is a bit of a .com, all boom then bust. It has allegedly scooped up all its clients money for the entertainment of its directors, a bit like Leisurenet and Masterbond and is led by a man called Arthur Brown. Now my Dad tells me Arthur had a hit in the 70’s with “Hell Fire” a catchy tune about burning everything down, I can only assume it’s another Arthur Brown? On a more serious note the curators at Fidentia need to act quickly and sell the assets for realistic prices, keep their own fees reasonable and get the absolute maximum possible for all the widows and orphans of the mine workers actually effected by this crisis, whether the alleged crimes were committed by Fidentia or not!

The FSB, never far from a mention in the plethora of Fidentaia column inches, is feeling a little battered. I cannot help feeling a little sorry for Rob Barrow and Gerry Anderson at the head of the FSB, they were tasked with the job of getting the Financial Services Industry licenced, which they have successfully achieved, but they simply have not had the resources to police it. It is like being asked to conduct a census then be given 100 police officers to patrol the Whole of South Africa, how can that work?

So having made a good fist of getting all the IFA’s registered and organised, can’t we have some decent funding for the FSB, Trevor? If the money was well spent then we could possibly see the birth of an institution along the lines of SARS. It would perhaps need a Czar like head and a greater passion enforcement, but the money would be a drop in the ocean compared to that lost recently in such debacles as “Leader Guard” and “Fidentia”. So give Rob and Gerry some cash and let’s get the monitoring up to the 1st World standards we all want!

THE MARKETS, we caught a slight chill in March 2007 but quickly took the medicine and recovered. John Maynard Keynes said: “When the facts change I change my mind, what do you do?” Well John, was that a great big BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious) or a challenge to keep ourselves asking how we sit, or stand, on a particular point?

PERSONAL ATTENTION, finally how could a man that ran a private bank for nearly thirty years and actually had his affairs run by the very same institution get into such a mess, well I just don’t know? No names or pack drill here, as he is a dear friend and a neighbour. Anyway as we sat and chatted about the services that a 21st century Private Banking Institution should offer. An hour later he had been brave enough to admit he had not changed his will in nearly 35 years, looked at his share portfolios in 5 years or received a service call from any staff at the, “Service Orientated”, company he single handedly established, for at least three years! It will come as no shock to learn that they got fired as his advisors but it still comes as a shock to me that such poor treatment of individuals occurs when will they ever learn, we are not numbers, 150762 signing off!

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