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Hedge Fund Managers On The Run

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Years ago we read about a psychologist discussing how almost all suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge jumped off the side facing San Francisco. The psychologist was pondering what the suicides were trying to say and whom they were relating to. Someone in the audience ruined this bout of deep thinking by asking a simple question: "Which side of the Golden Gate Bridge is the sidewalk on?"
In related news, almost no one believed for a minute former hedge fund manager Samuel Israel killed himself by jumping off the Bear Mountain bridge. It's just not a suicidal place. Now that his body has failed to wash up, authorities are certain that he faked his suicide and went on the lam. He's not, of course, the first hedge fund manager to make a run for it. There have been at least three others, including one who eluded authorities for five years.
Hedge fund managers who escaped U.S. police [Reuters]


By 3268zauber [CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

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What motivates a hedge fund manager to continue busting his ass to churn out profits year after year, once he's already amassed a fortune most people can't even fathom, when he could easily pack it all in and live more than comfortably without ever working another day? For some, it's the thrill. For others, it's the trophy's wife's shoe habit. For Crispin Odey, it's the chickens. The Odey Asset Management founder (and sausage brand ambassador)'s got a mess of high-maintenance ones and earlier this year, had architects draft blueprints of a "Palladian-style" mansion he intended to build them (seen at left), replete with a grey zinc roof, "pediments, cornice, architrave, and frieze in English oak," and columns "hewn from the finest grey Forest of Dean standstone." After finishing 2011 down 20.3%, things were no doubt more than a little tense over in Herefordshire, where questions of whether or not construction would have to be halted, or if they'd have to make the switch to [whispers] generic-brand feed. Certainly a moment of panic swept over Odey each day when he returned home, wondering as he turned the knob if he'd be entering an empty house, the chickens gone and a note explaining they couldn't do this anymore on the fridge. Ran off with the general contractor because what was the point of shacking up with a money manger if the money wasn't there? Luckily for all parties involved, it won't have to come to that; according to Bloomberg Markets' annual ranking of the top performing hedge funds, performing under pressure is one of Odey's specialities.