The aptly named Bernard Madoff (read: “made off”) becomes the new icon for our melting down smoke-and-mirrors finance system. The guy on the treadmill next to me in the workout room runs a mutual fund company. He tells me his ex partner had 95% of his assets with Madoff and poof its gone. At breakfast this morning, an exec who runs a big appraisal practice shakes his head over all the friends he has who put their eggs in company stock plans. And he wasn't talking about line workers at GM or Ford. He was talking about senior investment people at Merrill Lynch and AIG. And then there was the guy I know who kept a large chunk of his money in Lehman stock despite leaving the company years ago. Were any of the people managing other people's money reading Investment Management 101 guides about asset allocation and diversification?

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