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Kobayashi Maru

From Ben and Rusty: With this note, we welcome Demonetized, a new guest contributor. No, that isn’

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  1. The last time a financial adviser treated me as one of The Women!, I told him “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” as I walked out the door. (Genuine, personal values can’t be commodified or monetized. Good job, Mr. Anonymous!)

  2. I started, in the '80s, at an old wirehouse brokerage firm that was still a partnership where - reflectively refreshingly - the openly stated goal of the clients, advisors (called stockbrokers in those less-refined days), traders and partners was, now get this, “to make money.”

    And here’s the thing, nobody (or almost nobody) was looking to profit on polluting the water or tyrannical governments and no advisor (or almost none) were looking to churn their clients (no firm or advisor survived long doing that) - a reasonable amount of decency was assumed and practiced without the need to be discussed.

    The business was plainer - it wasn’t trying to save the world, just trying to make clients and itself money honestly (yes, a small number cheated and lied and tarnished all of it) - and, looking back, less pompous and hypocritical.

    ESG feels like a small-ball good idea (to some) built up to an outsized virtue-signaling meme that has gone further than it should have powered by investors’ vanity and, as pointed out in this ET note, the industry’s need and desire to obfuscate its mediocrity.

    I find myself longing for the day when everyone was honest about what Wall Street was about - making money.

  3. Well done. Mr. Demonetized will fit right in. It reads like Rusty or Ben has a twin we didn’t know about.

  4. A promoter of a startup ESG was being interviewed and he made a good point. retail investors don’t vote on corporate resolutions. Institutions do. If it was easy enough to swipe left/right (theoretically) millions of shares could be voted for upstart props at Big Oil, etc., on ESG friendly issues. Interesting and truly changing the rules. Don’t forget Kobyashi was the name of Keiser Soce’s henchman in Usual Suspects…

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