Just when the play money was starting to run low, Castlereagh has cottoned on to one of the most brilliant investment managers he has ever known.

The timing is perfect. My useless son has just finished his year-12 exams and after forking out hundreds of thousands for that Old School Tie over the years, I am now faced with the prospect of buying his law degree, which doesn’t come cheap if you want to go to a sandstone. Given the amount of time he spent in his underwear playing XBox, I am not hopeful of a good university-entrance score.

Not only that, but the buffoon has insisted on the most outrageous display for the school formal, and Castlereagh is shelling out for everything from a 16-wheel Hummer, complete with spa, for the school formal to a trip to Las Vegas and a visit to Richard Pratt’s old mistress in Darlinghurst for all the House Prefects as part of the afterparty. When is the Alma Mater going to give back, I ask.

And, of course, the other thing is now that the little bugger has reached his majority and is painting the town in various colours, I run the risk of running into him in the most embarrassing situations. I had to grab my clothes and make a run for it when I was frolicking in the pool at the Ivy with some airline hostesses the other night because my son and his friends just arrived from another formal. Life is getting complicated. Castlereagh is not used to having anyone cramp his style.

Genie of the Black Box

But I digress. You really have to meet Lawrie – he’s a genius. I met him up on the Gold Coast and he runs this delightful little boutique called the Black Box, which goes brilliantly with his white shoes. We had a great day shooting bull sharks with slug guns from his Sealine Cruiser and drinking cocktails.

Lawrie told me all about his investment strategy but I just glazed over at about the second or third paragraph. All I know is that after depositing a lump sum into Lawrie’s account, the Black Box spews forth every month, and so far I’m running at double-digit returns. Beat that, John Sevior!

Lawrie and I also have a new business arrangement that could prove doubly profitable for me. With him spending so much time up on the Gold Coast running the Black Box, I’m now his man in Sydney and Melbourne, and I’m out there to spread the word as much as I can.

I’ve got lots of money from the rich widows of Toorak and Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs – the former wives of my old schoolmates – but I’m aiming much higher than that. If Mark Bouris can join up with Nicholas Moore at Macquarie and hock his mortgages, I can’t see why Lawrie’s Black Box shouldn’t be the perfect wealth management bolt-on for one of our major banks. Fifth Pillar, here we come!

Uncharacteristically, I’ve been schlepping around Sydney and Melbourne trying to get the Big Four banks to take an interest. After all, aren’t they the ones who buy up just about any wealth management idea? And this is one of the best ones I’ve come across. Lawrie just spits out the money on the same day of every month. It’s almost too good to be true.

Dignity at work

I normally find the superannuation industry distasteful, full as it is of former unionists and public servants, but I even ventured into that hotbed of hangers-on at the Investment Managers Consultants Association conference at Darling Harbour during the week.

I was amazed by who was there – I mean there were boutiques I’ve never heard of. Try these on for size: Amundi Asset Management, Artio Global, brillient, Brookvine and even some guy called William Blair. You’d have to admit that Black Box is a much better name than any of those.

So, at the networking drinks I collared just about all the trustees I could find and gave them the good oil on Lawrie. There’s a lot of interest out there. Next week I’m taking a load of them – representing funds with a cool $100 billion or so under management – on a bull-shark shooting booze cruise with Lawrie so he can talk to them about his strategies.
A couple of drinks in the sun with Lawrie and a few slugs into the sharks and they’ll be signing up as fast as you can say due diligence.

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