The article got me to reminiscing about a certain event when I was just starting out as a private banker, you know, young, lots of hair on my head and very little flab around the midriff.
My (then) employer chose as a stock pick a company that ran care homes for the elderly. Seemed to make sense to me and as a loyal soldier of my bank off I went in to the front lines of capitalism and started touting this company as an investment to my clients until... one client told me never to bring him any of these investments that profited by the death and suffering of others.
“No they weren’t” replied my client “Not as a priority they aren’t. Their number one priority is profit. When you offer me as an investment a business where the profit can be improved by cutting corners in the care of the old and dying I don’t want any part of it.”
His retort shifted my world view in an instant. He was right. The principle in my client’s statement was exactly the same as in the article regarding the business of investing via children with special needs. It shouldn’t be a business, that’s the point.
It’s not as if us bankers are short of investment opportunities. On my Reuters screens alone I’d have hundreds of different investment opportunities flashing in front of me, to be bought with a click of a mouse or a quick phone call: Currencies, commodities, ETFs equities, govvies, high yielders, funds, emerging markets, private equity and if it wasn’t on my screen we’d structure a product round it and off we’d go. Ching-aling-aling would go the cash register as we brought in the money and shopped for new cars.
My point here is this: A dog will run out of wee-wee before a banker runs out of investment opportunities. We’ve got enough. Because of this vast choice not everything in our lives needs to be bestowed as an investment market opportunity. Us bankers will continue to find interesting business cases and investments without having to sacrifice our elderly or our children so we can make a few more percent.