Dubbed by Wall Street insiders as a scandal bigger than ENRON, will the Bernard L. Madoff hedge fund scandal forever undermine investor confidence?
By: Vanessa Uy
When the 70 year old former NASDAQ chairman Bernard L. Madoff was arrested a few days ago as the result of an on-going investigation over might be one of the largest fraud case of the 21st Century. He is suspected of being responsible for creating a pyramid / Ponzi scheme disguised as a hedge fund firm that dates back to the 1960 which resulted in the defrauding of his investors by 50 billion US dollars.
Bernard L. Madoff started a hedge fund firm called Bernard L. Madoff Securities LLC was even regarded by many Wall Street insiders as “the birthplace of modern Wall Street” due to it’s pioneering business model. Bernard L. Madoff’s business model was deemed to tempting – even to seasoned investors due to his promise of relatively high return of investment when compared to the norm despite of the risks involved or the obvious lack of transparency. During its heyday, Madoff’s hedge fund firm was trading on average of 50 million shares a day. And even during October 2008, when the global financial crisis was already in full steam, his firm was still the 23rd largest market maker on NASDAQ.
What became of Bernard L. Madoff’s undoing is by running his hedge fund firm like a pyramid or Ponzi scheme, where money is being exchanged despite of the lack of trade in goods or services being provided – the primary reason that made it illegal. First tier investors were comfortably living off from the investment funds of latter entrants of their shaky pyramid scheme, which miraculously, only recently collapsed despite dating from the 1960’s. Bernard L. Madoff’s fraudulent dealings even predated mortgage backed securities and other complex credit derivatives which are primarily blamed for the ongoing global financial crisis.
Will Bernard L. Madoff’s stunt forever undermine investor confidence? Well, given that the start of 2008 saw the audacious rogue trading antics of Société Générale junior trader Jérôme Kerviel, lack of investor confidence will be the norm – rather than the aberrant exception – which will probably worsen our ongoing global financial crisis. Those new “green technologies” being peddled by newly elected US President Barack Obama will never get of the ground due to lack of investment. The pyramid scheme did indeed killed one of NASDAQ’s leading hedge fund “stars” by sending its greedy CEO to the slammer.