The Sydney office of JPMorgan Worldwide Security Services recently made an appearance among national TV news headlines.

The last time we can remember this happening was when regional head Laurence Bailey copped a grilling on Nine’s Sunday program in early 2004, after fraudsters almost made off with $160 million from a client, the then Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme.

It was in happier circumstances last month that David Brown and David Edwards, the RM and salesman who drove JPMorgan’s successful bid to become global custodian of the $US2.9 billion Petroleum Fund of Timor-Leste (East Timor), found themselves on that country’s only TV station.

It was shortly after formally signing the deal with the Banking & Payments Authority (BPA), the administrator of the sovereign wealth fund, that the pair were asked to mug for a television crew alongside BPA executives Abraão de Vasconselos and Venancio Alves Maria. “We saw ourselves on the national TV bulletin that night. But we didn’t understand a word – it was in Tetum,” Brown says, referring to the journalists’ use of the native East Timorese language.

Unbalanced thinks any nation where custody is considered interesting enough to make the evening news clearly has a bright future ahead of it. Let’s hope that as more TV channels become available, the East Timorese don’t get hooked on re-runs of Friends and not find backoffice as fascinating any more.

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