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Ask Muffie: 05.18.06

Muffie Benson-Perella (muffie AT is an Associate in the Investment Banking Division of a "Bulge Bracket" bank. She holds a B.A. in French and Art from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Her regular column "Heard in the Suite" is a probing (and, ahem, fictional) weekly look into the secret lives and behind the velvet curtains of the investment banking world.
Dear Muffie:
There is a lot of talk about KKR's $5 billion IPO for their LBO funds in Amsterdam. What do you think about the IPO and public access to LBO fund IPOs in general?
Wondering in Washington

Dear W:
I am very concerned about the development. Investing is an art and a science. There is a reason some products and some vehicles are not accessible to the general public. Opening up these kinds of investments to everyone is asking for trouble.
Since you are in Washington I think you can do something about this. The SEC has firm regulations about non-qualified investors and I believe these should be expanded significantly to include foreign countries. Deny access to foreign markets that refuse to impose SEC-style regulation and require those countries to forbid Americans from investing at all. We don't really need the investment dollars and think what it would do for the trade balance! All those monies that were going to places like Amsterdam would be stuck here instead.

Dear Muffie:
Do you think that the high prices of commodities mean that money can be made using coins for scrap? I heard that copper is so expensive now that a penny is worth more than $0.01.
-Seeking Seigniorage

Dear SS:
With the prices of precious metals where they are I would think that fillings would be attractive enough to sell!
Forward all your critical finance and personal (but not personal finance, that's for the PCS group) questions to : muffie AT