When you think of ‘mojo’, you might think of the urban dictionary meaning of ‘sex appeal or talent’. The Oxford dictionary definition is actually ‘a charm or magic talisman’, but in the world of financial services is seems to mean one thing: luck. Whether you are just starting in sales and trading or running a multi-billion hedge fund, if you lose your mojo, you are finished.
Practices like financial astrology, which relates the movements of celestial bodies to predict events in the markets, are well known and documented. Large financial institutions are not in the habit of endorsing it. However, John Pierpont Morgan is said to have had his own personal astrologer and was quoted saying “Millionaires don’t use astrologers, but billionaires do”.
As far as I can discern, finance professionals today are going to extreme lengths to attain, and more importantly keep their mojos. I drove from Notting Hill to Gloucestershire to spend the weekend with my hedgie friend at his 50-acre country estate. There was swimming, tennis and cocktails in the formal gardens. There was also chanting with alpacas.
“Chanting with the alpacas connects me to the source,” said my friend. And added: “One of my biggest wins, shorting China, was inspired by the alpacas.”
I joined him in the chanting. I felt very silly, but I also felt surprisingly relaxed afterwards and am looking forward to receiving good luck from the universe very soon.
Another banker friend who has had an astronomic rise in the past few years, confided in me recently that he has been seeing a Hindu ‘wealth’ guru. He visits the guru in Willesden, North West London, every month and the meetings take five hours. My friend could not disclose the nature of the visits but did say,“ I donate £50k to the temple a year, but that’s a small price to pay for the luck it has brought me – and anyway, it’s all tax deductible. “
If you can’t afford alpacas or gurus, there is always the Shamballa bracelet. On a recent trip to Ibiza, in a popular restaurant, I looked around and every single man, including myself, was wearing a version of the Shamballa proudly on their wrists. These bracelets were originally created by two clever Danish brothers in 2001. The story is that while travelling in Brazil, they were inspired by the philosophies and holistic practices of a mythical place called Shambhala. Jay Z has one, so do Diane Von Furstenberg and Gwyneth Paltrow. The bracelets are supposed to, “encourage the possibility of connecting to our inner compassion and wisdom”. The bracelets retail between £2k ($3.1k) and £300k, but you can always pick up a copy for £100.
And if your mojo goes astray? In February, I said sad goodbyes to a hedge fund manager friend who was moving back to his homeland after losing most of his fund. I asked him what had gone wrong, expecting an analysis of world politics and oil prices, but he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, I just lost my mojo”.
The author is a father who lives in London’s Notting Hill. He doesn’t work in finance himself, but he has plenty of friends who do.