Money Observer: What fund managers can learn from cartoon villains

There is a lot we can learn from what pop culture tells the youngest members of our society. Take the cartoon character Mr Krabs, who is the owner of the Krusty Krab restaurant and employer of SpongeBob, star of the popular eponymous children’s TV show.

The success of Mr Krab’s restaurant is built on a lack of competition and a closely guarded recipe for his signature sandwich.

Or consider Montgomery Burns of the Simpsons, Homer’s dastardly boss and owner of Springfield’s nuclear power plant. An evil character in every sense of the word, he bribes nuclear safety inspectors, and once tried to block out the sun so that the residents of Springfield would consume more electricity.

Cruella De Vil runs a profitable high-end fashion business that kidnaps 99 Dalmatian puppies for their fur. Ursula, from The Little Mermaid, is another successful business woman and cartoon villain; she is involved in the lucrative trade of souls.

Of course, the Financial Conduct Authority would not let financial entrepreneurs get away with such dubious behaviour in the real world.

Nonetheless, even though these fictional characters are criminal and deceitful, we can pick up some useful tips from their business models.

For example, when making an investment choice, it is a good idea to invest in a business or a fund with valuable intellectual property, such as Mr Krab’s signature sandwich.

Having a big share of the market can also be helpful, as in the case of Mr Burns. Selling goods that are in short supply is something Cruella and Ursula are proficient at.

I hope the fund managers running my investments are fully attuned to the true value of time spent with the kids in front of CBeebies.

This article was published as part of the ‘Marina’s Imaginary Millions’ column in Money Observer on 21 July 2016:

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