He Eyes Deals, Not Where His Maserati Is

Article excerpt

Let us be grateful to Bertrand Des Pallieres. He has brought comic relief to the market turmoil. The sky is not falling in when financial wires report troubles like this guy's.

Des Pallieres -- aw heck, let's just call him Bert -- got so caught up in the market's opportunities that he didn't realize when the London police towed his car away to the pound. And not just any car -- a Maserati. Can you say sticker price $160,000? (Or in pounds, 80,000.)

The cool part is that Bert didn't even notice for months. Why should he? He walks 15 minutes to work in ritzy St. James's Place. The deluxe car is for weekends. Its owner is a money manager of a type often called "masters of the world," who have an eye on undervalued assets for the hedges, the deals, the "plays" to make fortunes. On the way to being a legend in his time, however, Bert, 39, fell into a bum's role: scofflaw.

Thousands of pounds in fines landed on him for unpaid "congestion- charge fees" and taxes, said Bloomberg News. A tow truck dragged away his sleek blue Cambiocorso model in May, and it didn't dawn on him he was without wheels until this month. Busy, don't you know.

In April he quit Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest, to set up his own SPQR Capital LLP hedge fund. Such funds cater to large investors. But enough have come to grief in the collapse of bonds based on subprime mortgages as to ripple out into a worldwide credit scare.

"I was distracted by the market turmoil," said Bert. …