Sunday, January 14, 2018

What is a "Civet Cat" friend ?

So it's been about 2 weeks of work. I'm getting a lot of very interesting exposure and personal growth from the problems I face at work. Naturally, these problems are very human and is therefore something most engineers have never faced before.

Over the next six months, I will be trying to distill the essence of what I am learning into generalised principles because I am forbidden to talk too much about the actual work that I do. One thing I can share is that I grapple with issues faced by very rich and very unhappy people, some are so rich, even if you add the net worth of the top 3 financial bloggers that you know, their wealth will come up short compared to the folks I am given the opportunity to investigate.

A lot of things I learnt fly in the face of what I have learnt studying for the three degrees I have. The world has become a much stranger place to me.

This Sunday, let's learn about what a "Civet Cat" friend is.

We deal with a lot of dubious financial products in everyday life. Some of these products are aggressively sold because commissions are ridiculous and sometimes even half of the selling price of the product . They can be some land-banking oriented product or fractional ownership of foreign property. Some might be rights over timberland and if you are not too careful, you might end even up with some product related to Gold-backed guarantee as well. 

Most of the time, you get scammed if you buy these products. We financial bloggers fight an uneasy battle with scammers all the time but sometimes we are slow because someone invents a new product an unleashes it against unsuspecting members of the public.

But what is a civet cat ? A civet cat processes coffee beans and because of his sense of smell can pick the best beans to be processed. This is why the best coffee beans are found from civet cat droppings.

Here's a funny thing - The "Civet Cat Friend" is a benign version of these scammers. 

Such a friend can tell amongst these scams, which products can still yield a profit and which don't so they only sell the best products to a select group of wealthy individuals. Over time, having gained the trust of rich friends, Civet Cats can become very rich by earning ridiculous commissions by ensuring that their friends get into products that have pretty solid returns which are uncorrelated with the financial markets.

The existence of the Civet Cat throws a monkey wrench into people who rail against these exotic and borderline illegal products because there are people who have made consistent money out of buying them from a trusted friend. Civet Cats also seem to be nice guys. The richest ones, being those who make the most of their allies the most money.

How do we discover a Civet Cat? I do not know of one personally but I guess it is  someone who not only sells, but has a network of wealthy people they have on a first name basis. There must be evidence that he or she will only sell a few products even though he has a universe of products that he can tout. Also, a Civet Cat must also be well-loved and be constantly consulted and fawned over by these wealthy people. They can't be the guy who owns a flashy Maserati (even though many may own one), they need to be the guy who talks about the Maserati their clients bought after listening to his good advice. 

Sadly, most of us, myself included, will not sought by Civet Cats because we do not belong in that league to be included in their circles so it is still better to remain skeptical of dubious financial products. 

Naturally, the fake Civet Cats will out number the real ones, constantly proclaiming that they are the real McCoy and the path to riches lies through the products that they sell. 

I know a real one will never approach me now, so I can wear my CB face and ask them to talk to my hand.

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