Earlier this month, Common Sense Investment Management founder and CEO Jim Bisenius found himself ensnared in a sting-op designed (quite successfully!) to nail guys responding to online ads for hookers, who turned out in fact to be undercover cops. Yesterday, CSIM said in a statement that Big Jim’s “recent personal transgressions bear no reflection on…the quality of portfolio management” at the firm, and that Bisenius will “remain in his role as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer.” Now, some guy has chimed in to remind everyone that when you’re running a hedge fund, it’s important not to doing anything that could draw the attention away from your kick-ass returns, be it a messy divorce, shoplifting, texting while driving, or banging a whore. Read more »

“You’re a farmer. You can’t control the weather. When you make a Brunello, you have to follow a set of rules. One is no interference with nature. You can’t irrigate in a dry year. I happen to like traditional methods. I’m kind of old school. If you’re someone who balks at following rules, you can still make wine, but you can’t call it a Brunello. You might want a vineyard in Napa Valley instead.” [BusinessWeek]

One banker, who used to work at Goldman Sachs and now runs his own business, said he gets his wife to iron his shirts nowadays. “At Goldman there was a service in the basement where I dropped my shirts off for a fee, but now I ask Jane to do it for me,” he said. “The wife is doing the ironing,” another banker told us. “She’s not loving it, but she doesn’t want to get a job herself so is having to accept it.” [eFinancial]

A person in need of a little guidance could seek advice from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on any number of topics. Interior design (decorate with an emphasis on clean lines and pictures of yourself, ensuring fellow royalty never forget whose office they are in). Business (keep your employees movitvated with occasional hookah parties and pet falcons). Fashion (don’t be caught dead clashing with your horse). Know-nothing list-makers whose inability to add gives the world the impression you’re some kind of street urchin worth a mere $18 billion (TAKE NO PRISONERS). But the area of expertise closest to his heart? Diet and fitness. The formerly plump prince has loads of wisdom to impart on how to get fit and and stay that way. Herewith, a preview of the tips you’ll find in what we hope will be be a forthcoming series of books and DVDs entitled The Alwaleed Lifestyle. Read more »

This weekend Switzerland voted to … do something about executive pay? Maybe? I was a little frustrated reading the news reports because they didn’t really say what the Swiss actually did, so I went and found the actual resolution, and turns out it doesn’t either. Something something vote on executive pay:1

The shareholder meeting will vote each year the total amount of remuneration (money and value of benefits in kind) of the board of directors, of management, and of the the advisory committee. Each year it will elect the chairman of the board of directors and, one by one, members of the board of directors and the Compensation Committee as well as the independent representative. Pension funds will vote in the interest of beneficiaries and will communicate how they have voted. Shareholders may vote by absentee ballot electronically, but they can not be represented by a an affiliate of the company or a depositary;

So immediate fun simple questions like

  • are you voting on last year’s pay, or next year’s pay?
  • what happens if you vote no? do they get nothing? do you do another vote in a month? and
  • since you apparently just vote on total amount of comp, can management/the board divvy it up however they feel like it?

remain totally unanswered. Read more »

Sixty-percent of the time it works every time. Read more »

“I wonder where Charlie Gasparino does his grocery shopping” is a question many people have surely asked themselves on many occasions  Lucky for them, today finally brings an answer. The Fox Business reporter was interviewed by “Bronx Times” about his very early boyhood days in the borough, which apparently made a lasting impression on him, despite having moved to Westchester when he was six.

“[The Bronx] was my home away from home basically when I was a kid, up until I was twenty and then I went away to graduate school,” Gasparino says. “My wife is from Brooklyn, but I used to tell her instead of going out to Brooklyn, there are some great restaurants right here and we started going back. Even rather than going to Arthur Avenue I used to go to Throggs Neck. The places I’ve been shopping – I mean Pastosa Ravioli has been there since 1980 – are the easiest three places to shop for really good food: Pastosas, that meat market, Ritchie’s, and that fruit and vegetable store and you get everything you need. And I still do it once a week. If he had to dream up the perfect meal, Gasparino said it would all come from Throggs Neck.

In addition to dropping food-related wisdom, elsewhere in the article CG discusses what his time in the Bronx taught him about life (“you understand…economics plays a role in the way people act”) and offers advice to aspiring journalists (“get literate”). One thing he doesn’t mention? Read more »

  • 21 Dec 2012 at 12:47 PM

Don’t Bury Your Ingots Before Ragnarok

Convinced the impending Western economic collapse (or today’s end of civilization) will plunge the financial centers of North America and Europe into looting, murder and anarchy? Don’t trust the impregnability of Fort Knox or the New York Fed’s basement, let alone the places you actually keep you gold? Read more »