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Presto! PIMCO exec works magic

The practice paid off: Paul Craven made it into the prestigious Magic Circle.

PIMCO has a bona fide magician on board.

Paul Craven, head of U.K. business development for Pacific Investment Management Co. in London, last month became a member of the Magic Circle — a prestigious group of about 1,500 magicians worldwide that counts Prince Charles as a member.

Mr. Craven endured a grueling audition in front 16 professional magicians who judged him on factors such as presentation, technique, technical ability and entertainment value. He performed four magic tricks, all involving playing cards and photographs.

In one trick, Mr. Craven said, the audience is asked to select three cards from a full deck, each numbered randomly from 1 to 52 on the back. The three cards are placed on a table face up, next to a photograph that’s sealed in an envelope. Mr. Craven then opens the envelope and reveals a photograph depicting his three children, each holding a number identical to those on the back of the cards selected by the audience.

Mr. Craven’s interest stems from a meeting six years ago with Peter Mehtab, a top U.K. magician and Magic Circle member. Mr. Craven said he has been refining his skills ever since, often performing for his peers in the asset management industry, “outside of working hours, of course.”

“What I like about magic is that at least for a brief period of time, you get a chance to turn grown adults into wide-eyed children,” he said.