Anatole Kaletsky is failing to declare his interest
The journalist writes a Times economics column while holding a stake in a fund management company, says Richard Brooks
One of Britain's foremost economic commentators has been analysing and predicting the financial markets without declaring his interest in a company trading in those very subjects, The First Post can reveal.
Award-winning financial journalist Anatole Kaletsky writes a weekly economics column in the Times, in which for a long time he has taken a far more upbeat tone than almost every other commentator on the world's financial woes.
In January this year, for example, he called the credit crisis "almost over". As stock markets tumbled in July he concluded another piece suggesting problems were overblown by declaring that "market prices are sometimes plain wrong".
What Kaletsky failed to mention in these and all his other weekly columns, as well as in several appearances as an economics pundit on TV programmes including the BBC's Newsnight, is that since 1999 he has been chief economist of a financial services company called GaveKal.
The firm, whose name is an amalgam of Kaletsky's and French co-founder Charles Gave's names, was initially set up as a pure research operation but in 2006 moved into fund management.
GaveKal's first fund, based in Ireland, is called GaveKal Platform Company fund. It is a 'long only' fund, which means that it only holds stocks rather than betting against them by 'shorting' them.
The 'platform companies' the fund invests in are firms that have outsourced most of their physical operations and trade on their brand and marketing, a trend catalogued in Kaletsky and Gave's book Brave New World.
GaveKal's website shows that at September this year the fund had a 'net performance' of -6.7 per cent and a 'rolling 12 month performance' of -16.3 per cent, reflecting worldwide stock market falls. In November 2007 Kaletsky acquired an even more explicit interest in the global financial crisis when GaveKal teamed up with a Texan firm "as a co-advisor of a hedge fund whose purpose is to profit from the unfolding European credit crunch".
While the Press Complaints Commission's code of practice only covers comment on specific shares in which a reporter has a significant interest, most journalists know they should either steer clear of subjects in which they have a financial stake or make clear what those interests are.
Financial commentators writing on subjects related to their 'day jobs' in the City know this too. They know their readers need to know.
Kaletsky appears to have forgotten this basic rule, a surprising oversight for a former Times economics editor and Financial Times veteran. Kaletsky did not return calls to his office. ·
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