By Jonathan Maitland - This Is Money
The odds of finding booty on shipwrecks may be minimal, but such schemes - or 'search and recovery investment opportunities' - are becoming more popular...
It's not often your financial adviser makes you smile - they are not natural entertainers as a rule - but mine had me chuckling recently.
We were discussing 'exotic' investments when he suggested putting money into a scheme that recovers treasure-filled shipwrecks.
I replied that investing in modern-day piracy was a bit like asking Bernie Madoff to look after your pension.
But the joke then appeared to be on me when he said that another client, an accountant from St Albans, Hertfordshire, had put £100,000 into the scheme last year - and was about to reap a windfall of £1.4m.
A centuries-old vessel containing a huge haul of valuable coins had been discovered at the bottom of the Atlantic and he was looking forward to telling his client the good (and bad) news. 'Congratulations, you are now a millionaire. And you have a large tax bill'.
The odds of finding booty on shipwrecks may be minimal, but such schemes - or 'search and recovery investment opportunities' as they are prosaically called - are becoming more popular.
There are now at least half a dozen salvage companies trawling international waters for treasure - and your money.
These schemes claim that many thousands of merchant ships, often laden with fantastically valuable cargo, have gone to the bottom over the past 500 years.