Watch Out Charlie, There’s a New Ticket in Town

Topic: Pearls of Wisdom

Alexandra Jemetz CIM

November 16, 2015


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Watch Out Charlie, There’s a New Ticket in Town

And it’s a lot better than chocolate.

Max-Hervé George has the best job in the world. In a nutshell, it’s the work of counting his money as it grows, guaranteed, every day. You see, Mr. George owns a Fixed Price Arbitrage Life Insurance Contract (or known price contract) from a French company which was subsequently acquired by insurer Aviva. He obtained it when he was seven, from his father (he’s now 25). The contract basically allows him to trade on the previous week’s price of various global markets – i.e. investing with 20/20 hindsight.

To no one’s surprise, Aviva doesn’t like this contract, and has so far refused to honour it (and, according to this article, has not recorded the potential losses on their books). They have, however, been ordered to compensate the family for their loss in investment return from 1997 to 2007, to the tune of €9.6 million (€1.4 million of that is Max-Hervé’s). In 1997 the contract was worth €8,000 – that’s a 69% annual growth rate. Extrapolate that to 2030 and Aviva would owe him €230 billion – more than the company itself is worth. And it doesn’t end there – George may also add funds to the contract, any time he pleases. It’s easy to see where this could go. The Swiss arm of a French bank has already deemed him to be of good credit and has loaned him €20 million. To quote George: “I can take all the money in the world and invest it, there is no limit.”

But don’t think he rests on his laurels – he spends his hours trying to make money to keep up his legal battle with the insurer. “Every week I deposit a dossier with Aviva in which I tell them how I want them to re-invest my money. To make sure they can’t say they have never received my instructions, I fly from Geneva to Paris to lodge them myself or I employ a court bailiff to do so. That cost (sic) me an average of €1,000 a week. Apart from that, there are legal and other costs.”

So, in case you were wondering what the world’s second best job is. . . May we introduce Nicolas Lecoq Vallon (George’s lawyer, of course) who claims he has about 30 more clients with these types of contracts. “There are new ones coming out of the woodwork all the time.”

Source: John Lichfield, The Independent, “Max-Herve George: The man fighting a merciless legal war against insurance giant Aviva“, April 10, 2015.

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