Investing in Vain

William Worsley


published by

Distinction Press

Waitsfield, Vermont 05673


ISBN 978-1-937667-17-7 trade paper

ISBN 978-1-937667-18-4 ebook


Available August 1, 2017 at bookstores and online everywhere.

It's a world of hypocrisy! What a farce!

In a world of morality-based investing,
no one is safe.


Beatrice Pillsbury von Vain, founder of Vain Capital, is in big trouble. Her underperforming Washington firm, which promotes socially responsible investing to a world consumed by political correctness, has lost yet another conscience-driven client. But two new clients, California and Russia, soon show up. California wants Vain Capital to set up a fund of gay money managers to help the governor get re-elected. Russia wants to hide some money.


Meanwhile, Bruce Benson, an awkward analyst at Quandary Capital, has already grown suspicious about his highly secretive firm when he is visited by his friend Lee Yong, who has just started working at Vain Capital. After Yong asks pointed questions, Bruce does some more digging, only to discover that Quandary Capital is a massive fraud.


Bruce, forced to flee for his life, is given refuge by Yong, who persuades him to work in the guise of a transgender at Vain Capital, which desperately needs one for its gay fund. Transgendered Bruce, calling himself Brucilla, joins Yong’s boss, the overly endowed Alison Hartswell, in her frustrating quest to find gay money managers, and promptly falls madly in love with her.


Things begin to unravel when the Feds detect Russian money going to the gay fund just as Russia invades Estonia. Brucilla is thrust into the center of an international crisis. Agents from the U.S., Russia, and Quandary Capital are out to get him. While rescuing himself, Vain Capital, and his blossoming love for Alison, can Bruce also save the world – in high heels?

About the Author   William Worsley


William Worsley learned about what goes on inside money management firms by hiring, firing, and monitoring them on behalf of large pensions, endowments, and foundations. Over three decades he met with hundreds of U.S. and international investment firms specializing in public and private equity, fixed income, and currency hedging. A chartered financial analyst, he has been investing in the stock market since he was 13.  In 2016 he retired as managing director of a firm that oversees money managers.

In an earlier career he was a senior text editor at Time-Life Books, where he wrote and edited articles on a wide variety of popular topics. He holds three degrees from the University of Virginia, including a B.A. and M.A. in English, and an M.B.A. from the Darden School. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he was born and raised.


A Look Inside:


1 From Mush-Mush to Hush-Hush


The time appointed for the execution of Beatrice Pillsbury von Vain was at hand. For the red-headed founder of Vain Capital, just having to look at Mush-Mush was punishment enough.

“Beatrice, our investment committee has become increasingly worried about Vain Capital’s performance,” said the man with hardly any teeth. “That’s what I’ve come to Washington to discuss.”

Mush-Mush, a.k.a. Eddie Merrybaker, the balding treasurer of Christians Eschewing Dentistry, was both a hideous sight and Beatrice’s unhappy client. His six teeth, a stained and rotted mess, were especially unhappy. They included a couple of incisors on top with a vast gap between them, then the same on the bottom, and the sad ruins of two molars scattered here and there.

Beatrice looked down at her shoes, at the snake plant in the corner, at the coffee pot on the credenza, at anything else in the conference room she could, but against her will, as if by some magnetism of horror, her eyes were drawn right back to Merrybaker’s miserable mouth. It was like trying to look away from a car crash.

“I’m afraid the committee has run out of patience,” said the toothless treasurer, “as Vain Capital’s returns have continued to deteriorate.”

Here it comes, Beatrice groaned under her breath: Another ungrateful client blaming us for humoring them too well. Beatrice could feel her body tense up as she awaited the blow.

The treasurer looked at his watch. With any luck, he might make it back to Boston in time to catch the Celtics game. He let out an audible sigh and administered the coup de grâce: “The Eschewer Foundation has reluctantly decided to terminate its investment agreement with Vain Capital in thirty days.”

Beatrice was officially fired. Or rather, her little investment firm was, which felt just as awful.

Out of the corner of her eye she could see Stanton Butcher III glaring at her, probing with his eyes for her reaction, expecting her to say something this instant to pull the Eschewer account out of the fire. She considered the Butcher even more frightful than Merrybaker in his own way, and far more dangerous. His short, pear-shaped body was topped by a nest of thin blond hair, a round face with a double chin, and beady green eyes that pierced their target like a laser. Lately the veteran manager of private equity funds had developed the irritating habit of exercising his right as her financial partner to drop in uninvited at her client meetings, which he invariably did just as Vain Capital was getting sacked.



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