It is said that "with great power comes great responsibility"; and that if you owed someone a thousand dollars it's your problem, but if you owed someone a million dollars it becomes their problem. None of these hum the hymn of the fascinating anecdote you're about to read.
While the title is somewhat satirical, it is by no means untrue - the fact is that the rich are more prone to committing suicidal acts than the rest of society. Money might not be the root all evil nor does it but absolutely happiness, but it certainly is the well of great sorrow.
You might not be aware of this, but in 2014 alone, the street of high finance saw a near record number of higher profiled suicide cases involving bankers and individuals who were directly involved with gargantuan amounts of money. Didn't stocks soar to record highs in 2014? Yes they did.
It therefore beggars question of why the rich and wealthy want to end their lives more so than the average person in middle the middle class would. Today's story will unearth some of the common mysteries that shrouds upper echelons of society.
The 0.001% That 99.999% Won't Relate To
Most of us reading this article would not be part of the 0.001%. We will probably never fly first class twice a week or cruise in a Gulfstream to a private airport of our choice. Our highly endeavoring but modest lives will never fully appreciate what it truly feels like to be in the polished shoes of the 0.001%.
The all encompassing specter of influence these breed of magnates posses makes you wonder how much power they have at their willful command.
This is not to say that society should eye them evil, narcissistic or downright dangerous. Far from it. Most of them have earned their wealth; be it from conquering arduous odds in their former years, or through the virtue of brilliant ingenuity over the sands of time.
The opulent lavishness that the super wealthy enjoy may seem to be an obvious motivation for the rich to become richer. However, it is known from the horses' mouths that beyond a certain point, the extra zeros behind the dollar sign make no legible difference. Sure, a few more yachts in Monaco is cool but that's about it.
In reality, the 0.001% have a common compulsive obsession. Not to become richer, but to continually better their strides in what they do; money to them is then the product and not the factor of their obsessions.
Case in point when consumers all around the world enjoy better iPhones year after year, while Apple's stock prices keep trotting higher. Basis? Hell yes there is.
Market Giveth, Market Taketh
All that is negated when one's riches rests upon the mercy and generosity of the financial markets. Owners of publicly trade businesses, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, traders and investors are but a few in this bucket list.
When your net worth is intrinsically tied to how the market performs, it is easy to have wildly swing emotions. Daily gyrations in the markets are part and parcel for these group of individuals.
Things do get ugly very quickly when markets plunge precipitously. Stress morphs into depression on a turn of a dime, and what ensues is usually an abuse of scheduled drugs or lunging off a building's edge.
Imagine "loosing" $14 billion in just over 30 minutes. How does one react to that, inquiring minds are curious. Well, according to financial media the likes of Forbes and Bloomberg, this pretty much happened to China's second richest man when publicly trader shares of his company plunged by 47% on Wednesday.
Full story via Forbes (emphasis ours):
Li Hejun began the day as China’s second-richest man with a fortune worth more than $30 billion, according to a Forbes estimate. By 11 a.m., he was almost $14 billion poorer.
Shares in Li’s flagship Hanergy Thin Film plunged by 47% in Hong Kong before trading was suspended at the request of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Li’s absence at the company’s annual meeting in the former British colony this morning was behind the decline in prices, according to some reports, but there was no reason given by the company for the drop.
Hanergy said in a statement it would make an announcement containing inside information later today. Hanergy’s shares dropped after a 37% decline in shares of New York-traded China solar panel supplier Yingli last night on worries about its debt.
Li himself was in Beijing this morning at the opening of a clean energy exhibition, according to a company executive and a local media report.
Like today’s abrupt dive, Hanergy’s stock rise of 500% in the past year has been surprising to many analysts who said it was long overvalued.
The Financial Times newspaper in reports earlier this year questioned the company’s financial health and transparency.
Hanergy, whose business roots trace to the hydropower industry, in recent years has bought at least four Western businesses in a bid to expand achieve business and technology breakthroughs in thin-film solar products.
Its market cap rose to several times that of First Solar, the big U.S. thin-film solar maker.
The market gives and takes, so does everything that goes up must come (crashing) down. Apparently there was much more to Hanergy than its ballistic multiple expansion would have suggested.
Bloomberg sheds some light on the phony company (emphasis ours):
Hanergy uses a niche technology in the photovoltaic industry, where more than three quarters of all panels are based on solar-grade silicon. Thin film cells are more flexible but less efficient than crystalline silicon-based panels.
Prior to Wednesday’s plunge, Hanergy Thin Film’s market value had at one point risen to more then HK$300 billion. That’s larger than Japan’s Sony Corp. and almost seven times the size of First Solar Inc., the biggest U.S. solar company.
“It’s an adjustment that the market has been waiting to happen, as Hanergy’s earnings and business performance didn’t support such a high stock price or valuation,” said Gong Siwen, Shanghai-based analyst at Northeast Securities Co.
The Chinese solar company was the subject in January of an investigation by the Financial Times newspaper, which questioned its “unconventional” accounting practices.
The stock “is a disaster waiting to happen,” Geo Securities Chief Executive Officer Francis Lun said today by phone.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance released a report in March saying Hanergy is working with “unproven” technology and has disclosed few details about the work that underpins its valuation.
In a six-page examination of the Hong Kong manufacturer’s operations, the London-based researcher said it’s been unable to find a detailed list of solar-power projects that would help explain why the company’s shares surged in the past year.
The Vulnerable Rich
Like many others in his league, Li Hejun probably had an overdose after the rude awakening brought home to roost by none other than the inpartial markets itself. Being super rich inadvertently makes one the target of all sorts of attacks, a "0.001% World Problem" if it might be colloquially termed.
The boom in the number of multi-millionaires and billionaires across the world has spawned a spurt in handful of industries, one of them being exclusive private security. A topic for another time perhaps.
But for now, be content with what you have. Biting more than you can chew has consequences, some of them fatal.