One Man Two Guvnors is a modern adaptation by Richard Bean of the 17th century Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. In 1960s Brighton an unemployed skiffle player Francis Henshall (played by James Corden, pictured, in 2011) has managed to become the personal minder to both Stanley Stubbins and gangster Roscoe Crabbe. To complicate matters, Stubbins is wanted by police for murdering Crabbe, who is really his sister Rachel in disguise.
The key moment
Francis Henshall's attempts to juggle both roles leads to endless confusion and misunderstandings. Further complicating matters is his desire to have a bite to eat, which culminates in him nearly electrocuting a waiter and setting a (planted) member of the audience on fire. Things are eventually resolved with the inevitable happy ending. Stanley and Rachel are united, though not before Henshall takes advantage of his situation to get Stanley and Rachel to give him a paid holiday with Dolly, Charlie's bookkeeper.
Lessons for investors
Richard Bean's comedy is a great metaphor for the conflicts of interest within finance. Whatever they may say, the first loyalty of bankers and brokers is to the firm that employs them, not to their customers a point that many private investors overlook.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
While some of the more blatant conflicts of interest, such as supposedly independent financial advisors receiving commission from the sale of financial products, have been eliminated, others endure. The key is to avoid getting sentimental, and instead treat financial products the same dispassionate way as you would any other type of good or service.
Other financial wisdom
One reason why Francis is able to get away with his deceptions for so long is that both Stanley and Rachel are too busy to check up on him. In the same way, understanding how financial products work, monitoring the performance of those whom you put in charge of your money and looking around to see if you can get a better deal are all vital if you are to get good value for money.
Unfortunately, as the 2017 FCA report into the asset-management industry makes very clear, most retail investors don't do this. Always bear in mind that if a product sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
House prices are falling in London but how does it compare to the rest of the UK?
Advice The capital remains the most expensive part of the UK to buy a property, but it isn’t being as badly hit by the housing market slump. Where are London house prices heading?
By Marc Shoffman Published
Will a Santa Rally provide festive cheer for investors this year?
News Equities often get a seasonal boost during December - will there be a Santa Rally in 2023?
By Marc Shoffman Published