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The Parable of the Two Investors

A friend recently shared a story with me which I thought was quite intriguing and I played around with the idea of blogging about it. But I didn’t want to do so directly as I kinda knew the people involved. And so in a bid to protect their identities, I have gone after the order of Prophet Nathan in the Bible who God sent to tell King David of his misdeeds (2 Samuel 12). Enjoy this one, which I hope is the first of many more parables.

opposites

There were once two investors, called Harris and Aaron. Aaron was a bit older and slightly more experienced in the world of financial investments, so by default, Harris tended to look up to Aaron for advice on any investments he was considering especially if it was a big one with the capacity to make or break his business. Although they worked in different divisions, they both worked for the same parent company and so had the same top boss. Both were in a sense competitors and had an unwritten rule not to compete with each other’s customers.

This agreement seemed to work well until they both became aware separately, of a rich middle eastern landowner, Zain, who was looking for investors to help him mine his land, as he only recently discovered that the north east section of his farm had vast gold reserves underneath.

overwhelmed

Harris and Aaron, unbeknownst to each other, were heavily interested in this deal. Harris was already friends with some of Zain’s relatives and so was able to cozy up to Zain, spending time with his family and always finding ways to tell Zain he was able to handle such a big contract. Zain showed interest in Harris’ proposal for exploring the land and got to meet Harris’ former and present clients. Their friendship grew and Harris was certain the deal was about to signed.

That was until Aaron came into the picture as a more experienced investor with bigger clients. Aaron got to know about Zain’s search for investors through his sister’s work colleague who happened to be Zain’s friend. From there, Aaron presented his portfolio to Zain and both began discussing how they could work together on this new deal. Aaron knew the deal would be his biggest yet and was ready to go all in. He had some questions about Zain’s associates but didn’t want to scare him off so threw caution to the wind and gave £500,000 as deposit to the miners as proof of his commitment.

Things seemed to take a turn for the worse when Zain had to rush back home to take care of his dying great grandfather. Neither Aaron nor Harris heard from him except for the occasional letters to show he was still alive. Zain was away for 3 years and in the 1st year of being away, wrote to Harris telling him he was not ready to work with him on the deal. As expected, Harris rushed to Aaron for advice on what to do given how much he’d hedged on getting that deal. Aaron couldn’t have been more shaken, confused and uncertain when he realised he might have been played by Zain especially as he’d given the non-refundable £500,000 deposit.

He remained calm for Harris’ sake who was evidently inconsolable and sleepless. Supporting him through those 3 years without sharing that he too was being courted by Zain. Aaron was hoping Zain would honor the deal with him but after it came to light that Zain’s mind was still bent towards Harris, he decided to let it go. As tempting as it was to let Harris know that Zain might not be as honest a client as he portrays, he decided that Harris would soon find out for himself and be able to make the right decision.

crimescene

The head of their parent company soon found out about Zain’s double dealing with Harris and Aaron but decided not to confront Zain even though they both were former classmates, attending Stanford University in the 60’s. He instead asked Harris to let the deal go and look for more trustworthy clients to avoid destroying all he has built over the years from one bad deal. Aaron was able to convince the miners to return the deposit but had to forfeit 10% as a caution fee. He was happy with that.

Aaron and Harris continue to be friends as he values their friendship more than money. Zain is now looking for other investors. Hopefully he’ll get one before the heavy tropical rains come.

Should Aaron tell Harris? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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