I know very little about hedge funds and how they are managed.
I do, however, have some experience in dealing with people who are confused, suffering from temporary distorted thinking and have had their confidence in themselves profoundly shaken.
Fraud is primarily a violent attack on the victim’s identity and his core belief in the predictability, if not fairness, of his world. No one I have known lists economic loss as even a minor consideration, if they come out of the valley. Excuse me for suspending judgment as I remember those that didn’t make it out of franchising alive.
The New York Times reports that Mr. Rene-Thierry Magon de las Villehuchet, founder and CEO of hedge fund Access International Advisors, LLC, was found dead yesterday. It appears that that the fund has about $1.4-billion exposure in the Bernard Madoff affair.
I do not know precisely the pain that drove who appears to be an extremely sophisticated, successful and dignified individual to commit suicide. If the coverage in The Toronto Star is any indication, he presented as one classy person.
- Beyond that, I have no right to judge anyone else.
Maybe he felt he had committed an unforgivable error by trusting Madoff? That he subscribed to the belief that “To those whom much is given, Much is expected“? Maybe he felt if he was smarter, worked harder, paid more direct attention he could have prevented this loss? Maybe it’s just random, there is no connection at all: It’s just the media picking up on mob’s cries for “some rich elitist bastard to pay” (regurgitation of Storming of the Bastille, off with his head).
- Who knows? Only time will tell but that story carries its own biases.
Galbraith‘s The Great Crash 1929, however asserts quite strongly that the incidence of suicide did NOT increase because of Wall Street’s collapse:
In the United States the suicide wave that followed the stock market crash is also part of the legend of 1929. In fact, there was none. p. 131
I suspect that time and hindsight will reveal that Madoff’s alleged (in quotes) “ponzi scheme” was business as usual in today’s perverted form of casino capitalism (eg. the only difference is that this sausage exploded; hundreds of other fraud sausages happily robbing Peter to pay Paul).
What I do know, is that his family will miss him and that this loss sucks at this time of year. I’ve lost way too many people in December.
When everything’s black, let’s hope that each of us has at least one person to talk to.
- Let’s keep in touch with each other, ok?