If We Were Friends With John Paulson, Part XI


The conversation we might have had with billionaire hedge-funder John Paulson over Instant Messenger today, if we were, like, bros.

Paul-Money: What up Daily Intel.

Daily Intel: Hey P-Money!

Daily Intel: Anyway what are you doing on IM on a Friday? Shouldn't you be out in Southampton, getting your weekly eight-handed massage from a gang of Swedish models?

Paul-Money: Ugh I wish.

Paul-Money: Did you see Bank of America's earnings today?

Daily Intel: Yeah. Pretty brutal. Oh, crap, you own like 160 million shares of BofA, don't you?

Paul-Money: y

Daily Intel: Oh God, and Citigroup. Don't you own 506.7 million shares of that clunker?

Paul-Money: y

Daily Intel: Brutal.

Daily Intel: If I compared the price at which you bought those shares and the price at which they are today, I would probably see that you have lost a lot of money, but if I was going to do depressing math today, I would calculate how much I will have left in my checking account after paying rent and my giant Con Ed bill.

Paul-Money: Well, it's a lot.

Daily Intel: I'm sorry. And I mean, you really didn't need this, on top of your Advantage Plus hedge fund tanking in June. And I have been meaning to ask — are you really comfortable with your huge-ass gold position? Gold has felled many a man, friend.

Paul-Money: What are you talking about?

Daily Intel: I read The Lost City of Z?

Daily Intel: And you know that "Page Six" item yesterday about your buying a mansion in Aspen couldn't have come at a worse time. Your investors must be kind of pissed, like, "Why is this guy who is losing me money buying a $48 million mansion?"

Daily Intel: I wonder if some of them are getting worried that the subprime bet was a one-off.

Paul-Money: Okay …

Daily Intel: Like they may be starting to think, maybe this guy isn't a genius. Maybe he's just a guy.


Daily Intel: It must be so stressful for you!


Daily Intel: But look, don't worry. I bet they'll get back on track. I was just reading about how commercial banks like BofA are cleverly circumventing financial regulation by making these minute changes to their fee structures. Like instead of charging people for having debit cards, they are now charging them for having checking accounts, and so on.

Daily Intel: Which is really clever. For a while they might make even more money, while their customers are acclimating to where the new fees are coming from. Because who reads those things they send you in the mail alerting you to changes in your account? No one, that's who. They don't even really make sense!

Daily Intel: And if you're a person like, say, me, and you hate looking at your bank statement because it is a stark reminder of what a terribly irresponsible person and drunk shopper you are, it will take ages for you to notice they have been sneakily siphoning money away from you. And when you do finally catch on, you won't try and haggle with customer service to get the fees removed, because they make it way too much of a pain in the ass.

Daily Intel: So there! Money in your pocket!

Paul-Money: Thanks, Daily Intel. I feel much better.

Paul-Money: I think I am going to get that massage after all.

Paul-Money: BTW now having a team of midgets doing them.

Paul-Money: They're amazingly nimble, like four of them can stand on your back at once. You should come up one time and get them.

Paul-Money: I'll pay. It's the least I can do.