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What We Can Learn From Affluence

Muffie Benson-Perella (muffie AT was 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. She concentrated in Contemporary French Poetry at prep school where she was awarded the exclusive premiership of the school’s “French Club.” Today, Ms. Benson-Perella is the Founder and Managing Director of “Muffie on Markets” (, a deep dive into capital markets, finance and investment strategy. She is also the Founder and Managing Director of Muff Cap, LLC., an invitation only, private investment vehicle for non-existent, prestigious and accredited investors only, employing an actively managed, long-short strategy.

Quick, name the source of this quote: “The shortage of fossil fuels will happen far earlier than a real change in global warming, it will happen in the next 50 years.” I'll give you a hint, it is one of the foremost authorities on petroleum products.
No, but good guess.
It was Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, Chief Executive of Bentley. Personally, when it comes to energy matters and finance, I can't think of a better source than someone like Paefgen, who must have his well-manicured finger directly on the pulse of the petroleum marketplace. He cuts a stylish figure across the showroom and is always quick to address the concerns of clients and investors with a soft touch and a quick smile.

In case you didn't know, Bentley was founded back in 1919 and the reputation of the classic automobiles was easily sustained though the rough poundings of many "24 hours at Le Mons" conquests before, unable to avoid the crisis of confidence caused by the overly-dramatic and overstated ills of the Great Depression, the company was eventually sold to Rolls-Royce in 1931. The new firm, Bentley Motors, was forced to carry the indignity of the Rolls-Royce name and, stripped of its individuality until 1980, was mostly known as a cheaper, less appealing Rolls-Royce.
In 1980, the firm was purchased by Vickers, owned by the Vicker's family of more recent NASCAR fame, and began to regain some of its luster. Most recently, the firm was sold to Mexican based Volkswagen, but has managed to maintain much of its independence.
Paefgen is, as you might expect, a man of many talents. He doubles as "Head of Technical Research" for Volkswagen, which makes him the group's authority on CO2. “We are much more afraid of the worldwide banking crisis than we are CO2,” he quips. So much for the import of global warming. My bets are on a resurgence in large, expensive transportation. The backlash from wealthy consumers to the nanny-state nonsense that has been crammed down the throat of every productive member of society is slowly building. Class warfare makes it easy to point fingers at Bentley, and its customers. But, says Paefgen, Bentley's impact on CO2 is "totally negligible."
And as for the credit crunch? Spirits here are so high, I can confidently say those concerns are quite overstated. But, then, I knew that already.
The Times Online


(Trump image courtesy Flickr user Gage Skidmore)

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