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28-Oct-2017 13:18

Frederick was a searcher of knowledge and gathered round him all the great thinkers of the day."Sicily was at a crossroads, near to North Africa and Arab and Jewish influences," says Bowd. Frederick was an intellectual powerhouse of the time during which a medieval renaissance flourished."Scott's position in the court was sealed when he accurately predicted the outcome of a war with the Lombard League, a northern Italian alliance, based on his astronomical observations.He was also reputed to be well-versed in medicine and cured the emperor of a number of ailments.As the FT observes, the results somewhat validate Pimco's position at the time of Gross' departure that what was important for the firm was "the investment process, trading infrastructure and intellectual firepower across the asset management group" rather than "any one individual’s investing talent."The record contradicts the received wisdom among investment mavens at the time, which we described then as that Gross' move would be "a disaster for Pimco and a windfall for Janus." Though the asset outflow certainly has hurt the former, Janus appears still to be waiting for the windfall.The trend line of the last year also underscores something that was becoming obvious even then--that Gross' fabled magic touch was showing its age.The East was feared and it is probable that Scott's darker reputation developed from his passion for the East and Arab literature.From his time in Toledo he dressed in Arab clothes and it is little wonder that in this xenophobic time, the person who carried and understood Eastern knowledge was feared.He had a reputation for prophesy and was headhunted by Frederick II, the Holy Roman emperor, to be his astrologer.Frederick's court in Palermo, Sicily, was a glittering, exciting, dangerous place to be.

But that doesn't overshadow the lesson that great investors, even those hailed as geniuses, aren't infallible, and that sometimes the more latitude an investment star receives, the worse the results.

Scott studied mathematics, philosophy and theology at Oxford University and then Paris.



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