In what has to be the most bizarre inadvertent admission of lax standards, Access International co-head Patrick Littaye (his former partner was Theirry de la Villehuchet who committed suicide just before Christmas) tells the Wall Street Journal that the firm did rigorous due diligence, including handwriting analysis:
Mr. Littaye says his firm conducted thorough due diligence when selecting outsider fund managers. Candidates had to undergo a handwriting test with a graphologist and Access would often hire private investigators to check the background of executives.
The relationship with Mr. Madoff, which for Mr. Littaye dated to the mid-1980s, wasn’t subject to the same rigor, in part because of Mr. Madoff’s reputation on Wall Street. “Of course we made an exception with Mr. Madoff,” says Mr. Littaye. “I can’t imagine asking him to pass a handwriting test.”
Why stop there? Why not go all out and hire both a phrenologist and an astrologer to be sure you’ve really got the belt and suspenders on?
A Lonely Lament from a Whistleblower
By GREGORY ZUCKERMAN and DAVID GAUTHIER-VILLARS
Wall Street Journal; February 3, 2009