Sophia Grene

You’ve probably wondered before now how FTfm keeps its sense of purpose in A World Gone Mad. Is it possible that we rely on the mystic guidance of the world’s foremost financial shaman?

Well, no, not really, but wouldn’t it be funny if we did?

Sophia Grene

The demand for climate change funds is set to soar, according to research commissioned by Pictet Funds. That’s right, demand for, not returns from.

Fortunately, it just so happens Pictet has a range of funds it feels fit that description. It’s not clear who the target audience of the press release is – surely it would be simpler just to email the seven Pictet partners who stand to profit from the firm’s canny trend-spotting and product development?

Are investors really so simple they are more likely to buy funds because financial advisers say they think they will sell more of them? Sadly yes.

Sophia Grene

The most dangerous flight I ever took was in a ten seater plane going to the smallest of Ireland’s Aran Islands. The danger was not so much the size of the plane as landing on Inis Meain, the last of the three islands, so there were five take-off and landing events to survive.

According to a new measure of risk proposed by Luca Anderlini and Leonardo Felli on the website Vox EU, that trip had an SVI of three. The Systemic Vulnerability Index they suggest would measure the risk of an indirect security in extreme market conditions by assuming additional risk is added with every layer. Thus if you buy a German government bond yourself, that has an SVI of 1. If you commission a bank to buy it and sell you a mirror image contract, that has an SVI of 2. A CDO squared could have an SVI of 3 or 4.

Sophia Grene

After last year’s fun and games in the world of money market funds, when it turned out they were not as stable and secure as everyone thought, there is a rush to come up with new classifications, in an attempt to make them less risky and also to make sure everyone agrees on what a money market fund is.

Sophia Grene

It would be nice to know where Marcus Svedberg, East Capital’s chief economist, gets his spectacles. They have a beautiful rosy tint.

Admittedly he may well need them, since East Capital‘s specialist region is central and eastern Europe, which has had a tough time in the last 18 months and many parts of which are not yet out of the woods.

Sophia Grene

Octopus Investments has just passed the £1bn mark in funds under management. Simon Rogerson, the CEO, and Guy Myles, managing director, are celebrating by shaving their heads.

This traditional asset management ritual will take place in a few weeks time at Westminster Boating Base.

The question FTfm is asking itself: What will Larry Fink do when the merged Blackrock/BGI hits $3 trillion?

Sophia Grene

There is a hoary old chestnut about the professor of economics walking through the City with a graduate student. They see a £20 note lying on the pavement across the street, and the student makes as if to cross the road to pick it up.

“Don’t bother,” says the professor. “It must be a fake. If it were real, someone would already have picked it up.”

Sophia Grene

Some people believe Africa really is the land of opportunities, despite dire warnings about its economies from the IMF and OECD. That’s the only conclusion one can draw from the fact that nearly 50 overseas investors went to Zimbabwe‘s recent International Investment Conference.

Ayo Salami, Africa fund manager at Duet Victoire, confessed he had been taken aback by the level of interest, but said he had noted investors’ interest in the continent generally had not been totally destroyed by the dramatic crash of emerging markets last year that smashed the myth of decoupling.

Sophia Grene

just like a hedgie

just like a hedgie

Why is running a hedge fund like competitive surfing? Apparently, it’s a mixture of the length of your wave and how aggressive your moves are.

That is the opinion of Pedro de Noronha, one of the few who have done both for a living. Mr de Noronha, who left surfing for the world of financial services because he wanted more intellectual stimulation, says the kind of strategic thinking that stood him in good stead while on a board helps in managing Noster Capital, his hedge fund.

Sophia Grene

Your chance to win an Acer Aspire One netbook

Your chance to win an Acer Aspire One netbook

Without our readers, we’re nothing – so we value your feedback. Please fill in the new FTfm online survey to let us know what we’re doing right and what we could do better.

As a further inducement, we are offering the chance to win one ACER AOA150-BB 9.8″ Netbook to all eligible respondents who complete the questionnaire by September, Friday 4th, 2009.

About the blog

FTfm is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

FTfm's specialist writing team offer their insights into the global fund management industry.

About the authors

Pauline Skypala has been editor of FTfm for four years having previously been deputy personal finance editor. She joined the FT in 1999 and has been writing on savings and investment issues throughout her career.

Steve Johnson, FTfm deputy editor, has been a journalist for 17 years, 10 of which have been with the FT.


Sophia Grene, reporter on FTfm, has been a financial journalist in print and online for 12 years.

Ruth Sullivan has worked as a financial/business journalist and foreign correspondent and for the past 10 years has been at the FT.

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