Presumably their boys are training to be F1 drivers.
Funnily enough, fallen UK funds management star Neil Woodford also built an equestrian centre, on his Cotswolds estate neighbouring Princess Anne’s and Zara Tindall’s. Are we sensing a theme here?
But back to Finemore, whose self-image has rebounded sufficiently from the ignominy of returning client funds in March 2020 – close to the greatest risk-on opportunity in 30 years – because he was “nervous about the state of the world”.
Finemore is so irrepressible, his reputation so important to him, that he simply refuses to see the stains on his track record as they are.
Of his 2013 resignation as a director of the Australian Securities Exchange, he claimed: “If it wasn’t a time when the exchange was very sensitive, in hindsight, I wouldn’t have resigned.”
Like so many rich and powerful people, the freebooters of high finance are noted for their self-delusion, but it is nevertheless astonishing when they verbalise it.
Finemore resigned from the board of the ASX because his hedge fund was caught by the US Securities and Exchange Commission engaging in illegal short-selling.
Manikay Partners – the investment firm of Finemore and fellow ASX director Russell Aboud – short-sold two million Citigroup shares on the same day in 2009 that Citigroup announced the pricing of its capital raising, in which Manikay was allocated 30 million shares.
It is prohibited to short-sell US securities within five days of a share offering and then participate in that offering. The regulation exists to prevent short-sellers from distorting the pricing of capital raisings.
Manikay paid a fine of $US2.6 million ($2.75 million) including the forfeiture of $US1.7 million in improper profit from the trade, while admitting no fault.
To render himself more agreeable for polite company, Finemore now wants this illegal short-selling remembered as a parking ticket. That he resigned, but didn’t really need to – indeed, shouldn’t have.
This falls apart upon the most cursory inspection.
Why shouldn’t the ASX have been sensitive? It enforces the listing rules and corporate governance standards of around 2000 companies whose shares trade on its market. With what authority could the ASX reasonably have continued doing this when two serving members of its own board had breached the rules of the US market?
As for having two hedge fund colleagues on the board of the national exchange in the first place, ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith admitted that “everyone is a little bit bruised … by the experience.” They wouldn’t dare talk about Shane like that at Zegna.
Aboud, Finemore’s partner, told the media they were resigning from the ASX board because it was “the right thing to do”. Whether or not Holliday-Smith gave them any choice in the matter is another question.
Finemore’s own father, Wagga trucking baron Ron Finemore, told the press, “I felt for Shane, but he and Russell Aboud did the right thing by being upfront and resigning from the ASX. You have to take those sort of things head-on.” When a truckie tells you the best course of remedial action involves a head-on, you know it’s serious.
So Finemore acted on principle, but the consequences of doing so plainly still grate. His reputation is very, very important to him, so he’d like the grave mistake he was lauded for owning in 2013 to ebb away in 2022.
The irony is that Finemore’s reputation would be restored had he never strayed from accepting the negative consequences of his actions – and all for the entertainment of this newspaper’s readers. That, there, was the dumb trade.