The bourse crash has sparked a political row after economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven advised private investors to sit tight and hold onto their stocks earlier this week.
The opposition pounced on her remarks saying the minister could have caused investors big financial damage.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende yesterday admonished his Christian Democrat colleague saying politicians should not be advising investors.
And of course he’s right. Ministers should not give bourse tips unless they – like stockbrokers – can be sued for misleading investors.
But it must be said that all Van der Hoeven was really saying was ‘don’t panic’. But imagine if she was to make a market-related comment the day before her department published important economic figures…
And one wonders what specialist bourse expertise Van der Hoeven has to make such comments anyway. Not that such knowledge is necessary – after all, every year monkeys and dolphins outdo the specialists in picking winning stocks.
The irony is that those who did hold on to their stocks fared better than those who sold when van der Hoeven made her announcement.
Beginner’s luck? Let’s hope the minister gets out while she’s winning and focuses on improving the economy, her real job.
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