The fifth LwH Prize goes to… Bernard L. Madoff

Hobbes, I must confess that Mr Madoff’s shenanigans have also caught me off guard. Not that I knew of the man, but it is true that not only he was able to hide such a massive black hole, but hide it from the financial world’s top brass.

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The fourth LwH Prize goes to… Warren Buffett

Hobbes, we just have to look at my friend Warren Buffett (and I deliberately say my friend because this man must have the longest list of friends, as any time I listen to some US senator, politician or financial pundit, everyone calls him “my friend”), he’s been talking about overpriced markets for years, but he’s making the killing now. FT.com’s Alphaville reported on Sept 24th: Continue reading

On powerful clients becoming powerful enemies. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, RIP

Mainstream media reports today that Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka DC Madame, to avoid going to jail, hung herself today “outside her mother’s mobile home” in Florida.

Humble origins. Veni, vidi, vinci. A long way from trailer park to Washington DC. Reach for the stars but beware of the powerful ones. She didn’t get all her act together and you don’t mess with the rich and powerful, but for a while, got the star. Continue reading

The second LwH Prize goes to… John Paulson

The ranking for the 2007 highest-paid hedge fund managers came our and we found out that John Paulson, founder of New York-based Paulson & Co, was paid an estimated $3.7b last year. The 52-year old New Yorker, beat George Soros and 2006’s top earner James Simons. Soros ranked second, earning about $2.9 billion. Simons was third, making an estimated $2.8 billion last year.

Paulson & Co. made money betting on the collapse of subprime mortgages in 2007. According to investor letters obtained by Bloomberg, the Paulson Credit Opportunities Fund soared almost six fold, helped by bets on slumping housing and subprime mortgage prices. Continue reading

The first LwH Prize goes to… Mark Zuckerberg

Mark ZuckerbergI wonder if you know Mark Zuckerberg. Who is this young man? Mark, for all of us to know, is the youngest person ever to rank on Forbes The World’s Billionaires. He might ‘only’ be number 785, and ‘only’ have an estimated net worth of $1.5bn.

But $1.5bn is a modest estimate, since it is based on a 30% stake on his own creature, Facebook. If we extrapolate the $246m investment Microsoft made last October for a tiny 1.6% of the company, the popular social networking web site Mark founded (being still its CEO) would be worth $15bn. Hence, girls, we have got a single billionaire potentially worth a whooping $4.5bn. We don’t know it for sure, but probably he is more interested in video games and finally being able to legally have a beer than listening to wedding bells. Continue reading