Around a year ago, Bernie Madoff spoke at an investment roundtable moderated by Time magazine’s Curious Capitalist Justin Fox. As you’ll see, Madoff comes off as the epitome of sound investing advice. He attempts to encourage ordinary investors to ignore short term market fluctuations and focus on long run returns. He decries the over-reliance by some fun managers on quantitative models. He sounds, basically, like your grandfather might sound if your grandfather was smart about the stock markets.
But some of his lines are positively chilling in light of the revelations that his operation was a Ponzi scheme. For instance, urging investors to ignore plunges and leaps in the stock market and simply stay in for the long run was, it seems, the key to keeping his scheme afloat. The end probably came because investors panicked and began withdrawing money. This is truly perverse: Madoff corrupting the one investing strategy—stocks for the long run—that actually works for ordinary people.
Other lines of his now have an even more sinister tone.
“By and large, in today’s regulatory environment it is virtually impossible to violate rules,” Madoff said while violating even the most basic rules for years and years. “It’s impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time.”
“You always want to have the human factor because that makes it better,” says the guy whose human factor consisted in cheating people who trust him with their money.
Here’s the video:
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