By Charles WyndhamDecember 4th, 2014
To read that France’s Societe Generale is advising all its clients to dump British assets because in their opinion Britain is badly governed and prone to increasing political risk brought tears to my eyes.
It is somewhat counter intuitive to be reading criticisms from a country that most would probably agree has become a bit of a basket case, and, find myself agreeing.
It was tears of frustration…. not mirth.
The self congratulatory, self satisfied and hubristic outpourings from our politicians spinning their webs of deceit here in Britain are difficult to cope with without a visit to the local vomitorium.
The hard bits about sorting out this economy have not even started yet and for all the verbosity anyone would have thought we were about to enter another golden era…. Simply bonkers.
On the other hand, I have been following what I will call the EGL affair with amusement from the sidelines.
It is all about ‘over grading’, or so it would appear to be.
I do not know if EGL labs have been guilty of over grading or not; I do know that I, personally, would never, be it in the past or present, rely on an EGL certificate, but that might say more about me than EGL labs.
What strikes me as hilarious is that it is my old mucker Boney, who has brought the issue of EGL to a head by refusing to list EGL graded stones on his Rapnet and at the same time thundering out holier than thou exhortations to probity in condemning EGL.
This does not only amuse me from the point of view that I picked up comments that some believe that Boney is going to start his own grading lab targeting the very market segment that EGL specialises in.
Swimming in the river of conflicts of interests is one of Boney’s favourite pastimes, but this one seems to be transcending my wildest expectations of self adulation of his own importance and piety.
It may have skipped some peoples’ memories that when in 2005 the GIA had a problem about corrupt certificates that one of the more interesting bits of information that came out of this was that Boney had an undeclared exclusive contract with the GIA to act as its post box (Boney and Vomit 25.11.2005).
Also during this unfortunate episode there was a stunning silence by Boney about the whole subject, which contrasts so sharply with his desire to jump up on his high horse about the EGL, I suppose that this had nothing to do at the time with his exclusive arrangement with the GIA.
Thankfully, the GIA moved on a long time ago, but good old Boney cannot change his spots.
Everyone in the industry has known about the flaws in the diamond grading system for ages. Just as everyone knows about and complains about but does nothing about the flaws in Boney’s price list.
It is all too convenient and especially convenient for some.
Recent research, reported a few weeks ago in The Financial Times, has highlighted the dangers of what I term ‘clubs’ to financial performance.
The research, based on academic experiments, concluded emphatically that homogeneity in investment teams performed considerably less well than diverse teams.
The differences were actually quite startling with pricing accuracy 58% higher in diverse markets and as one of the authors of the report Evan Apfelbaum of Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, “its not a story about diversity boosting performance, it is homogeneity tanking it.”
Our diamond industry is all about ‘clubs’, which I would suggest is another term for homogeneity.
Indeed, there can be few industries that I am aware of that are more clubbable, and to some extent I would and have often suggested this is one of the principal underlying reasons for the industry’s woeful performance over a long period of time compared to other luxury industries.
I have long gone given up any frustration at how Boney gets away with it, and the tears that he in his splendor induces in me, are truly ones of mirth.
I suppose we should all be thankful that he is or might be setting up his own laboratory to solve this diabolical problem.