zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden on 01/01/2014 14:50 -0500
Either the Volcker Rule is making Wall Street’s menu of investment choices so unbearably limited, or traditional assets are so overpriced Wall Street won’t even touch them with other people’s money, but when it comes to allocating capital the smartest conmen in the room are coming up with some truly unorthodox products. Such as investing in ex-convicts in the form of 2000 newly released prisoners.
According to Reuters, Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust reached out to some high-powered clients this quarter to invest in a social-impact bond whose proceeds finance a program to lower recidivism rates among ex-convicts in New York.
“The project raised $13.5 million over 60 days from clients of the Bank of America Corp-owned brokerage and wealth management firms. Investors included former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Utah philanthropist James Sorenson, hedge fund founder Bill Ackman‘s Pershing Square Foundation and billionaire investor and oil trader John Arnold, according to the bank.”
Merely the presence of the bolded words in the above paragraph is enough to explain why this latest investment product will be an inevitable disaster. But at least in the meantime, it will allow people such as Larry Summers to purchase a clean conscience if only for a few months. And of course, let Merrill collect structuring and “advisory” fees.