The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling (if only at the BBC)
I respond even less well to fear. It strikes me as perhaps among the lowest of human emotions, and those who would intentionally attempt to manipulate it in other people come pretty close to causing me to rethink my opposition to capital punishment.
There's a BBC interview making the rounds in a which a self-declared independent trader made, in addition to some statements that many people would agree with, all kinds of other statements and predictions on the air that set off a bit of a panic:
I have heard his advice to "get prepared" for the pending calamity echoed by several other people over the past few days, all of which began to trigger my aforementioned pissed off tendencies.
Nothing calms me down like doing a bit of research, so I looked up what could be learned about the independent trader Alessio Rastani (who one critic claiming he's wrong nicknamed "the bastard offspring of Gordon Gekko").
Here's what the London Telegraph was able to find out about him:
The interview contained such gems as "Governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world [and] Goldman Sachs does not care about the rescue package."
But on Tuesday night the BBC was left facing questions about just how qualified Mr Rastani is to speak about the markets.
In the interview Mr Rastani described himself as an independent trader. Elsewhere he claims he's an "investment speaker". Instead of operating from a plush office in Canary Wharf Mr Rastani works and lives with his partner Anita Eader in a £200,000 semi in Bexleyheath, south London. The house, complete with a mortgage from Royal Bank of Scotland, belongs to her not him.
He is a business owner, a 99pc shareholder in public speaking venture Santoro Projects. Its most recent accounts show cash in the bank of £985. After four years trading net assets are £10,048 - in the red.
How a man who has never been authorised by the Financial Services Authority and has no discernible history working for a City institution ended up being interviewed by the BBC remains a mystery.
Asked why he did the interview, Mr. Rastani replied:
"They approached me," he told The Telegraph. "I'm an attention seeker. That is the main reason I speak. That is the reason I agreed to go on the BBC. Trading is a like a hobby. It is not a business. I am a talker. I talk a lot. I love the whole idea of public speaking."Yes, the Eurozone crisis warrants monitoring, but like the rest of your life, that too is better done without panic.
So he's more of a talker than a trader. A man who doesn't own the house he lives in, but can sum up the financial crisis in just three minutes – a knack that escapes many financial commentators.
"I agreed to go on because I'm attention seeker," he said on Tuesday. "But I meant every word I said." [emphasis mine]