Mexican Carlos Slim, world’s 3rd richest person, sits several unattenuated standard deviations above the mean of a very poor nation.

"Diners at Slim's ubiquitous Sanborns restaurants can use Slim's wireless service to connect to Slim's Internet provider and check their holdings through Slim's brokerage, part of Slim's Grupo Financiero Inbursa group. Banking online, they can pay bills to Slim's car insurance company or credit cards for Slim's retail stores, among them Sears Mexico and the Mixup record store chain."

From Hany Saad: 

Here is what I wrote about Slim a few days back in response to Scott Brooks's post about the new Forbes list of billionaires. Slim had the most unusual jump in net worth.

News like this, while interesting to skim through, can be very valuable if analyzed deeply. In fact, they can give you subtle clues on what cycles are about to change (specially if you keep historical data of the list year over year). I certainly try to keep in mind that the data can be flawed especially when it comes to analyzing the net worth of the super wealthy. I will state here the obvious example as an exercise in analyzing humdrum data like the above profitably.

Notice how Carlos Slim, 67, Mexico, $49 billion, telecom, had the highest jump in net worth and is getting uncomfortably close to Buffet? You compare that with a chart of the peso to weed out the possibility of a huge jump in the local currency as the main reason for the increase in net worth. This is not really important in the case of Slim and most of the others since they mostly keep their wealth in US dollars. In fact, Slim doesn't even reside in Mexico. This exercise is, however, useful in the case of others like the Egyptian Naguib Sawiris, whose OTOH is required by law to keep a significant percentage of his "disclosed" net worth in the Egyptian pound.

Some other obvious questions to ask other than the general currency differentials include: What sectors are they involved in? How did the sectors do in general over the period? How did their specific company fare relative to the sector? Did they target new markets? Which ones? How did these new markets do? If all the above is not significantly changed compared to the previous year to warrant the big change in their net worth, then the info can become even more valuable and more digging can be worth your while.

In general, this can be a good exercise in ever-changing cycles, if you keep in mind the importance of incentive and self-interest as the only driving motives. This is how this trader reads the news.





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