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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Compassion fatigue

One of the most important lessons to learn on Wall Street is to survive by adapting to changing circumstances. Another is to be able to re-engineer the competior's product offerings. It may not bring in much money because you are second out of the starting gate, but it stops your competitors taking your customers. Most products can be re-engineered in days or weeks.

So it is no surprise to hear the latest news about Bernie Madoff. Mr Madoff will by now have realised that he is no longer in the finance business. He is in the business of finding ways to arbitrage his expected lifetime against his prison sentance. At the moment is he is trading in deeply negative territory, and it seems he may be aware of a relevant product from the UK successfully sold by Abdul Baset Ali Al Megrahi and known as "Compassionate Release".

The New York Post broke the news yesterday that Madoff is dying of cancer. The Wall Street Journal later confirmed the news with a source familiar with the situation. According to the Post, quoting an inmate at Madoff's new home Butner, N.C., Madoff is taking about 20 pills a day for his cancer. “He talks about it all the time,” said the inmate. “He’s not doing very well.”

However, the Bureau of Prisons is not impressed, because yesterday afternoon they released the following statement on Bernie Madoff’s condition:

"While the NY Post story is full of inaccuracies, and we can’t specifically address all of them, we can tell you that Bernie Madoff is not terminally ill, and has not been diagnosed with cancer."

Oh well, nice try. At least we can enjoy some of the other possibly inaccurate tidbits from the NY Post:

  • When he first arrived Madoff was assigned to the prison’s engraving section, but last month he was transferred to painting fences. No indication whether this was a promotion.
  • That “a bare-chested Bernie has been killing time at the prison participating in Native American religious purification ceremonies” involving “praying, using heated rocks to induce sweat and smoking from a ceremonial pipe.”
  • Various gangs are trying to recruit Bernie to their crews. They cook sandwich wraps for him back at their cells, which is nice.
  • Madoff hangs out with a homosexual posse although it is all reportedly platonic. Just don't pick up the soap in the shower, Bernie.

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