Would you like to buy a nearly-new, limited edition £80k ($160k, €120k) blue Maserati Cambiocorsa? It may not be too late, as it was going cheaply this week in London, and about to be crushed. Apply to the Transport for London (TfL) parking pound, near Knightsbridge, and spend your savings at Harrods round the corner.
Apparently its hedge fund owner, a Parisian named Bertrand des Pallieres, was ‘too busy’ following the subprime market crisis since May, to remember that he had left the car illegally parked, around the corner from his Knightsbridge office. Since then, he ignored all efforts to contact him, until the London 'Evening Standard' caught up with him this week.
Normally, towed cars get sold off after 2 weeks, or are crushed if no buyers appear. What saved des Pallieres was that the authorities weren’t sure how best to dispose of such a high-value car. When questioned by the ES, he said that he thought the £25/day fine charged by TfL was ‘not that expensive relative to the cost of parking in central London’.
Des Pallieres used to work for Deutsche Bank before setting up the £170m SPQR Fund. SPQR, of course, was the official signature of the Roman Empire, and stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus. But leaving aside the grandiose allusion, would you trust your money to someone who appears to find it difficult to look after his own car?