Daily Archives: December 13, 2008

One more odd Bernie Madoff story

From the 1992 Wall Street Journal, an article on a mystery money manager who was somehow beating the Street. That would be Bernard Madoff, of course.

Update: A reader told me this yesterday but I couldn’t find a confirmation. Now I have: the town of Fairfield really did have 15% of its employee pension fund invested with Bernard – that’s all gone now.

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Filed under Right wing nut rantings

One little mistake and you want a divorce?

It was just September 8th when Fairfield Greenwich Group merged with Geneva-based private bank Benedict Hentsch, all as described in a glowing press release:

The combined firms will join the alternative asset product development and investment 

management capabilities of Fairfield Greenwich with the private banking distribution capabilities 

of BBH, a bank which has had an alternative asset focus since its inception. Both Fairfield 

Greenwich and BBH are known for their independent management and operations, and for their 

high levels of personalized, “boutique” client service. Through the transaction, Fairfield 

Greenwich gains new clients and assets, and BBH gains added products and infrastructure 

support; the immediate shared objective will be to win increasing numbers of private clients for 

the combined product set, and to accelerate the growth of the private bank through the addition of 

sales and marketing resources and personnel. 

Unfortunately, one of those added products was the Fairfield Sentry Fund (you may have thought a sentry was a guard – wrong!) and Fairfield Sentry was a Bernie Madoff feeder, nothing more.

Uh oh! Friday, Benedict Hentsch said on Friday its exposure to Madoff products was 56 million francs, or 5 percent of its asset under management. Fairfield Greenwich itself, BHP’s new partner, lost half its assets, or $7.5 billion.

“Le Temps quoted one of Benedict Hentsch’s partners as saying he and another partner were rushing to New York to break the agreement with Fairfield.”

A little tenderness and understanding might be in order here, darling.

Update: here’s some fun marketing material from Normura Bank , less than a month old, flogging a triple-leveraged Bernie Madoff investment via the Fairfiel Sentry Fund. If you can  double your pleasure, double your fun, how much more excitement does trebling your loss bring?

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The shame of my (former) profession

Interesting article on attorney Mark Dreier’s defalcations in tomorrow’s New York Times

It’s disappointing, however, to read that this man stole a mere $380 million despite a Yale undergraduate education and a Harvard law degree. The Godfather urged Michael to get a law degree because “one man with a briefcase can steal as much as a hundred men with guns”. That’s probably true but when I see what Bernard Madoff could do with an education as a lifeguard and an irrigation pipe installer: $50 billion and climbing, I am embarrassed how little they taught us in school. We were frittering away our time and didn’t know it.

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More fluff from my colleagues

Here’s a piece that purports to tell the story of what’s happening in the Fairfield County real estate market. Actually, when you get past the silly headline, there is some interesting information that’s more realistic than the headline itself, which is why I’m linking to it. This quote seems to sum thigs up neatly:

The holiday season, however, is likely not the time when housing prices or sales could increase. Wintertime, traditionally, is one of the slower times of the year for the real estate market, and with the worsening recession, sales are unlikely to pick up for a time.

“It’s dead out there right now,” said contractor Bob Kelly of Bethany-based R. Kelly Remodeling.

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Filed under current market conditions

Missed a good one

This house at 7 Fairchild Lane was a bit off the beaten track in the Riversville Road /NW corner of town, but it seems like a good deal for two acres, 5,000 + sf (tax card and the listing differ) 6 bedrooms, pool and a nice yard. The town valued it at $2,949,000 with an assessed value (70%) of $2,064,000. It was an estate sale and I guess the heirs wanted to move it because it came on in November at just $2,250,000 and went to contract yesterday. 

The town’s estimate of value is not always right, of course, but that assessment was $2.250 was not only a smart price, it’s a good indication of what’s happening to real estate out there.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, current market conditions, pricing

Remodel or move?

I saw a link to the following site in the Wall Street Journal today. I haven’t tried it yet so I have no opinion on its usefulness but its calculator looks interesting. It seems to make its money from selling advertising to builders which is fine, so long as using it doesn’t result in a flood of junk email. Anyway here’s the site:


Why don’t you try it first, then tell me if your inbox chokes on spam?

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