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SMDF: Plausible?

There is a well known radio entertainment format in which contestants are presented with three accounts or narrative explanations of a “fact”. In the convention the “fact” will be true, but only one explanation is true. The contestants must choose the true explanation. Typically, even the “fact” will be outside their usual personal experience.

The explanations, presented by actors, are each “plausible”.

The state of mind implied by this illustrates that we often act on less than full knowledge in making judgments.

To some degree the members of the Law Society are now confronted with this experience, but without the entertainment.

The Law Society has consciously and admittedly withheld available information from the members as it asks them to make the decision to bailout the SMDF.

Outside radio entertainment it is a perilous strategy of persuasion. If you concede to requests for more information you will be shown to have been, at the very least, condescending in not giving it in the first place. Condescension is not a recognized method of persuasion.

Then there is the problem, in real life, of breaking the convention of “plausibility”. If an element in the narrative does not seem to fit, the listener will be lost.

In the case of the SMDF there is something of that kind. According to the Law Society, the SMDF has been insolvent for some time. No evidence of admissions by the directors of SMDF to this effect is available.

Even in current circumstances, if it is true that SMDF traded while in that condition, it is a disgrace. The Law Society seems to take the view that this was forgivable and understandable; that they were trying to “trade out” of losses. (This is what the Law Society spokesman has said).

Because it is a disgraceful admission it is easy to miss the fact that it is inconsistent with something else in the Law Society narrative; the SMDF is an unregulated discretionary mutual fund.

That means that, in the absence of drink, drugs or a death wish, a fund like that cannot be insolvent. To escape the disgrace of insolvency, with possible legal sanctions personally suffered by the directors, the directors can avail of the discretion to deny indemnity to one or more (or all) SMDF members.

So, the evidence of implausibility in the Law Society narrative is this; there is no evidence of admission by the directors of SMDF of their presumed disgrace.