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Sleeping Princesses, Irish Elves, and Mad Hatters: the Financial Markets and Fairy Tales

Did it ever cross your mind that fairy tales and the financial markets could have anything in common? Are capitalism, speculation, and money at all related to fantasy, mystery, and magic? Well, apparently they are, because in the world of stocks, corporations, currencies, and portfolios we can also come across Leprechauns, princesses, and mad hatters.

Investopedia defines Sleeping Beauty as a company that is "sleeping;" that is, one that is ripe for takeover to achieve its full potential. A sleeping beauty essentially lies in wait until a takeover occurs. A “Mad Hatter”, the well-known character in Alice in Wonderland, is a CEO or a managerial team whose ability to lead a company is highly suspect. A Mad Hatter will often make puzzling decisions, with little thought for consequences, and they typically don’t last long in their positions.

And if you don’t step carefully, you might also come across a Leprechaun, the mischievous and elusive Irish Elves, solitary beings usually depicted as little bearded men with a green coat and a hat, who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In this sense, a “Leprechaun leader” is a malicious executive said to possess buried treasures of money and gold. According to Irish folklore, the location of the hidden treasure is revealed only when the leprechaun is caught. But in the case of a leprechaun leader, the "buried treasure" is not usually buried, but protected in an offshore account!

Examples of leprechaun leaders are the executives of Enron, who stowed away millions of dollars until they were finally caught.

Thursday, 22 Oct, 2015 / 11:55

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