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OPINION

Cades stripped of competition

Cades, the state-backed agency set up to pay off France's social security debt, has sizeable yearly funding needs and prides itself on the quality and regularity of the information it provides to the market.

European high-grade bond investors using search engines to find the agency's website were no doubt confused when they clicked on a top-listed url and reached the website of a young lady with the surname Cade. Here they were offered the chance to part with their credit card details and watch her on a webcam taking off her clothes.

Nobody can say how many investors might have failed to buy a Cades new issue after being distracted from their search for information on the agency's liability profile. Clearly the danger was there, though.

Thankfully for all involved, Ms Cade seems now to have found another way to earn a living, or at least has started stripping elsewhere on the web. The Cades site (www.cades.fr) now heads the Google search list and is working fine without competition for the market's attention.

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