Monday, 11 November 2019

The Ponzi scheme

reported in the paper this morning will, hopefully, stop someone I know investing in something I have serious doubts about.
The man in question lives on my regular pedalling route. He lives alone and he is lonely. If he is in his front garden and sees me pass he will often call out and, if I have a few minutes, I will stop and let him talk. (He does most of the talking. All I need to do is look as if I am listening.)
On Saturday morning he stopped me as I was coming back from the library. He had a letter in his hand.
   "Tell me what you think of this Cat. It sounds good."
I read the letter...and then read it again. It did sound good, too good.
   "I think I'd talk to a financial adviser about it," I said. (He's the sort of person to whom it is not possible to say, "I don't think I'd do that.")
And even that caution on my part might have been too much. He was as animated as I have ever seen him.
   "Do you know this person?" I asked.
   "I've met him. I don't know him well but he's the sort of person you take to immediately. I thought it was very nice of him to think I might be interested."
I looked at him.
    "It's $100,000 Cat - environmentally sound project. I'd get three times that back. It has to be a winner."
    "I'd still talk to a financial adviser - someone who can check the company out."
It didn't please him - but he had asked.
For me $100,000 would be a fortune and I wouldn't be investing it in an unknown company. I know what the Senior Cat's financial adviser would say. He would say, "Don't touch it."
It was all very cleverly put but there were words there that worried me - words like "could" and "should".

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