I should be hosting three of my biggest and most glittering gatherings these weeks - a Family Business Awards ceremony in Munich, an Asset Owners Forum in Zurich and a Global Hedge Fund Leaders Gala in New York.
Instead, like most of us, I’m still figuring out how much travelling for work I am able to do, without putting people at risk, or getting stranded. Or whether there'll be such a thing as frequent travel at all.
My clients are pinning their hopes on normality come September. But I’m not so sure. And then I’ll have to crowbar all my invitations into a more congested diary. On the plus side, I might be getting involved in an exciting start-up : a sort of asset owners private social network, which might mean I can earn more money while sitting at home. Interesting stuff!
In the meanwhile, I’ve been going through some unpublished conversations from previous conferences - and here’s one that is fairly appropriate for now : when the uncertain times caused by Covid-19 have been pushing investors towards the ancient safe havens : like Gold. And Diamonds...
The problem with gold is : it’s awfully heavy!
The second largest depository in the world is at the Bank of England in London, where there are about 400,000 golden bars stacked up in a vault.
You can walk off the street and see how heavy one is yourself, in their museum. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to wiggle that bar out of its perspex cage!
So, it’s hard enough to transport at the best of times. Let alone when Covid-19 restrictions get in the way. The virus has curtailed all parts of the supply chain as it happens - including goldmines.
(Photo : Bank of England)
And an interesting fact of life is that, while a lot of people want to invest in the price of gold, they don’t actually want to take delivery of the stuff. That’s why the price of gold dipped (from record highs) in the spring, despite economic fears peaking.
So - how about diamonds? They’re much more portable.
Well, their attraction has lessened in recent weeks - as the markets seem to have "priced in" the impact of Covid-19, but a lot of people have been buying up vast quantities of hard ice for a while now...
I was talking to Lorenzo de Medici about his new bank last summer. But I didn’t tell you how he was getting into the market for diamonds. And is setting up a Crypto-currency backed by the little sparklers!
The Florentine Prince also described how his family has preserved its 600 years of wealth by investing in art. Milan was commemorating 500 years since the death of Leonardo da Vinci when we spoke in the city.
...The Medicis had sponsored da Vinci.
But first - what about those diamonds?
Have a listen (there will be a pause before playing)