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You told us so!

So RÚV ran a report this evening on the life and times of Alex Jurshevski, whom I blogged about two days ago. They’d managed to dig up an interview with him in MacLeans magazine from three years ago, where he gleefully stated that he hoped there would be an economic recession so that he could make a whole lot of dosh.

The article was titled “Let the feasting begin” and contains stellar passages such as this one:

“We’re waiting for the flood,” he says calmly. “Everyone else will want to get out and we’ll be able to start pricing risk they way we want to price it.”

One thing that struck me I was watching the interview on Silfur Egils was that Jurshevski wasn’t really properly introduced, i.e. his name was stated, but that was all. There was an absence of context that was slightly disturbing and which surprised me enough to have me remark on it to EPI, who had just been thinking the same thing. Incidentally, this is unusual for Silfur Egils and makes me wonder just why Egill Helgason, the host, chose to omit this information. I don’t expect he had any vested interest therein, but still, it’s curious.

I still think Jurshevski had a lot of interesting things to say about the status of this country, but by the same token I’m relieved, in light of this new information, that the Icelandic government did not fall for his sales pitch and hire him.

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  • Icelandbob March 16, 2010, 9:12 pm

    Well at least this is some sign that Parts of Icelandic media are looking behind the gloss and asking questions and motives behind a person´s soundbites.

    I´m sure he won´t be the last though. We´ll need to keep our brains on high alert!

  • jo6pac March 16, 2010, 9:20 pm

    Off topic but was there any movemnent from Norway to help Iceland?

  • Bromley86 March 16, 2010, 9:54 pm

    was there any movemnent from Norway to help Iceland?

    Nothing since Store said that Norway didn’t think that the IMF-led loans should not be dependant on a resolution of the Icesave issue. No mention of Norway stepping in and advancing Iceland a loan independent of the IMF (whether to pay off Icesave or in lieu of the IMF-led loan).

  • Sebastian March 17, 2010, 9:38 am

    Managed to dig up? Like visiting the company’s website and download the article? Here’s a direct link: Let the Feasting Begin

    Interesting read. Remember this interview was published August 27, 2007. I doubt Oddsson or the Minister of Finance both in charge of Iceland’s economy had the same insight as Jurshevski. In the interview on Silfur Egils he also said he looked at Iceland as an investor.

    As far as I can see, Jurshevski was the Head of the New Zealand Debt Management Office from 1993 to 1996.

    That said, I don’t see why Iceland would want to replace the IMF with Jurshevski and his company. I wouldn’t be surprised if his “magic” solution meant to repay debt by privatizing public assets.

  • Sebastian March 17, 2010, 9:39 am

    The link to “Let the Feasting Begin” should be:
    http://www.recoverypartners.biz/newsroom/Macleans_27aug07.pdf

  • Rod March 17, 2010, 10:07 am

    Alda, I’m curious to know if people in Iceland reacted to the Jurchevski interview the same way as your readers who wrote back to you.

  • alda March 17, 2010, 10:26 am

    Rod – yes, many did. But with everything else in this country now, they were immediately met with a roar of indignation from some faction or other, accusing them of opposing something or other. The situation is so volatile, there’s so much dissent and very little reason or common sense.

  • Catharine March 17, 2010, 11:22 am

    While Mr. Jurshevski wasn’t in Iceland out of the kindness of his own heart, can you really blame a guy for doing his job? How many law-school grads here in Iceland immediately go into debt-collection? Can you blame them for doing a job?

    I think it’s naive to think that any international economic advisors or debt management specialists or lawyers offering negotiation services in Iceland (or anywhere else facing devastating financial woes) is doing so without interest in their own financial gain or boost in popularity and international exposure.

    That said, as Alda noted in the comments section of her initial post about Jurshevski some days ago “It doesn’t change the fact, though, that he is very astute when it comes to pointing out the failures and shortcomings of the Icelandic system.”

    Nobody is saying Iceland has to hire the guy, but being exposed to a new professional opinion and new insight and advice about Iceland’s actions and potential options can’t be bad. Knowledge is power, right?

    Oh, and if you just want to read the MacLeans piece online the link is http://www.macleans.ca/business/markets/article.jsp?content=20070827_108297_108297&page=1

  • Easy March 17, 2010, 11:37 am

    Off course he is offering his sevices, whats so strange with that, and the reason things are so volatile is because nobody knows how ti fix this, and nobody means nobody, like Hurshevski said, we have no people prepared to deal with this, and that incapability of the goberment and the “econimist” in the country is beeing translated to the people, so if today comes a wind that blows north, people go north very sure of it, and tomorrow comes wind that blows south, paople go south and also very sure of it. I honestly think that we desperatly need international economist to come here and help us restruture the economy, one thing is for sure, we wont fix this with more debt.

  • FF March 17, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Advisors expect to be paid for their services. There’s no problem with that. But if the advisor stands to profit from the client taking the route he recommends, that’s a conflict of interest. I agree with Alda, Alex Jurshevski doesn’t sound like a suitable advisor for the Icelandic Government. A Jane Austen moment, really. The gallant young gentleman isn’t what he seems…

    Having said that, I think Mr Jurshevski asks a good question, even if self-interest prevents him from supplying a trustworthy answer: what does Iceland want to do about its debt situation? Default or reschedule, and if so, how? There are all sorts of factors that feed into this decision – affordability, reputation and so on, which are questions that Icelanders, not outsiders, need to answer. The problem, it seems to me, is that Iceland has got itself into a situation of recrimination and victimhood that prevents it from tackling the decisions head-on. Presumably at some point, some kind of momentum will be triggered so that someone will say, right, this is how we are going to do it. But personally I don’t see where that trigger is coming from.

  • Raoul March 27, 2010, 2:18 pm

    Don’t fall for the government’s spin. This guy looks pretty legit.

    He is a distressed debt expert after all. Why shouldn’t he be asked his opinions on the idiocy of bankers and borrowers who were sinking us all ? We should have listened to this guy in 2006 and 2007 when he was warning everyine about the crash to come…

    see….http://www.recoverypartners.biz/island.htm