09 April 2007
Psssst. That Solengo Brochure
Let's talk about why.
Last year, a certain high-flying futures trader, Brian Hunter, lost $6 billion of other people's money (some of it pensioner's money) speculating on the future price of natural gas. Ah, well. That's how the capitalist cookie crumbles, right? Well ... right.
I'm not aware that any elderly pensioners have been thrown out of their garret apartments due to Mr. Hunter's loses. He worked for a hedge fund called Amaranth -- a Greek term for an unfading flower -- and in general the institutions that invested in Amaranth didn't generally fade out as a result, i.e. Amaranth was only a small portion of their portfolios, so no great harm was done.
One would think, though, that after losing $6 billion, Mr. Hunter's career as an asset manager would be somewhat cramped. He'd be well advised to try his hand at something else. I understand that the retailers of previously owned automobiles are always looking for new talent.
Instead, Hunter has created a new fund, which he calls Solengo. He's named this one for a wine.
Within the financial press, the story that Hunter was looking for new suc ... investors ... was naturally considered fascinating, so there was something of a competition to get a hold of a copy of the marketing brochure he's been using.
This proved to be not too difficult to do, because Solengo had been sending out its brochure as an unsecured Adobe Acrobat document through cyberspace. I can't say how widely, but widely enough so that a couple of alert bloggers got it and posted it.
That's when copyright lawyers entered the picture. Throughout Holy Week, a drama played itself out in which lawyers for the Solengo-retained firm of Kobre & Kim repeatedly sought to ... well, entomb this information. And somebody or other -- some invisible hand? -- kept rolling the rock to the side.
What Kobre (is the name pronounced like that of the snake?) is trying to do is fundamentally both wrong and futile. The copies of the brochure keep spreading. Here is one of them.
The angelfire blogger, who calls himself Publius,has explained his action here.
I tip my hat to Greg Newton, who's been covering developments on this story intensely.
General rule? Transparency, good. Political fixes to produce silence and preserve ignorance, bad.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.