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The Hedge Fund and Alternative Investment Bleeding Edge Blog » Blog Archive » Who will betray us next?

Who will betray us next?

Despite all of our testosterone fuelled claims of market dominance, despite our purported independence of judgment, investors depend on others for information, analysis and advice.  In many ways, therefore, one of the most important questions an investor can ask is, “Who can I trust?” 

The Enron disaster was, in part, a betrayal by management.  Andrew Fastow, the convicted, former CFO of Enron set up front corporations and paid himself consulting and management fees with Enron funds as if he was an outsider and not the most inside of insiders.  Unfortunately, not all of the blame can be laid on Fastow, Lay, Skilling and the rest of Enron’s management scum.  Investors were also betrayed by Enron’s accountants and, much, much, worse Enron’s auditors, Arthur Anderson and Company.  Auditors are supposed to protect investors.  They are supposed to insure that management tells the truth.  Enron’s auditors lead us astray because they were managed by Enron, not by Enron’s investors or, at least, their representatives and because they had been paid off. 

The current meltdown in the sub-prime mortgage market is, in part a betrayal by mortgage lenders.  For several years, anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage and even those without a pulse were not completely without hope.  Much worse, investors were also betrayed by the bond rating agencies, who gave this sludge higher ratings than it deserved.  Again, these are people we should have been able to trust.  Again, management bought them off.

 

The question I would like you to help me answer is this: Who do you think will betray us next?  Whose greed and irresponsibility has reached new limits?  I am interested in groups, not individuals.  I am interested in “auditing firms” not “Arthur Anderson.”  And I am only interested in groups we are supposed to be able to trust. 

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