After the many scandals of recent years it takes a lot to shock me these days. However, shocked I was. I’d just finished watching ‘Hunting Madoff’, a fabulous film (if you’re a geek like me that is) looking at the Ponzi scheme, that was the Madoff fund. It wasn’t the scale of the fraud that shocked me, or the truly heartbreaking stories from individuals who had lost every penny of their lifesavings. What shocked me so much, was the absolute ineptitude of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the regulators in the US. The film details the story of Harry Markopolos, an investment manager based in the US who saw the Madoff fund for what it was – 10 years before the fund failed with over $50billion under management.
He’d noticed that the fund ALWAYS performed well in any market. He figured this was impossible, to outperform everyone, no matter what the market conditions. It had to be a scam. Continue reading
The Prime Minister has said on many occasions that Gross National Wellbeing is as important as GDP. Indeed, there is a worldwide movement, since the credit crunch, to reassess our priorities in the workplace to ensure that we get greater work-life balance. Indeed, the UK government is currently engaged in an exercise to measure ‘wellbeing’ throughout the UK. This has been stimulated partly by the costs of depleted wellbeing. We know, for example, from the Foresight project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing, that lack of mental wellbeing costs UK Plc in excess of £100b per annum, and in the workplace alone £25.9b–for stress-related/mental ill health absence around £15b and for presenteeism (being ill but turning up to work but providing no added value) roughly double that figure. We are now in a scenario where there are fewer people in the workplace, having heavier workloads, feeling job insecure, working longer and longer hours and being more micro-managed. This is not only adversely affecting the health of many people but also their personal and family lives. Continue reading