Smells like Fidentia

Have you ever seen the movie, “Dumb and Dumber”? The second best part is when they eventually hand over the cash-filled suitcase that they have travelled across the country with, and it’s filled with hand-written IOU’s.

The Fidentia fiasco reminds me so much of this movie. Here are some snippets.

  • The leading character is J. Arthur Brown, an ex-Instant Lawn Salesman from my old stomping ground, Port Elizabeth.
  • He re-emerges as a Financial guru and somehow (?) obtains registration as a “Registered Financial Institution” with the Financial Services Board (FSB).
  • They obtain investments from a mineworkers widows and orphans fund called The Living Hands Trust of R1.6 Billion and the State Transport SETA of R200M.
  • Immediately after receiving his FSB licence, Brown buys himself a Ferrari !
  • He moves into fancy premises at Century City and employs 1100 staff.

Fast forward to NOW. The FSB investigates Fidentia and finds R689M ($96M) just “missing”. Amongst other interesting assets are a R150m “promissory note” and R800m in “money market instruments” If you don’t believe me, read the confidential fsb report (thanks to Moneyweb)

And how does Brown control this massive financial empire? With one single Excel Spreadsheet !!

Like I’ve said before, “If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

And the big losers are once again the poor widows and orphans.


I have just two questions here;

How, exactly, did Fidentia get their licence? Was there perhaps just a teeny-weeny bit of political pressure applied?

Did Brown and his cohorts really, really, think that they could get away with it?

I am sure that all will be revealed soon. Watch this space.

Oh, and my best part of Dumb and Dumber? The part when the character played by Jim Carrey is told to go out and buy “just the essentials”, and comes back with a mexican hat and a yo-yo.

Quote of the day :

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not so sure of the former. Albert Einstein.


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