As I basked in the lone ray of sunshine at my son’s recent lacrosse game, I saw John (name changed to protect the innocent). John is a district manager for one of the wirehouses. For the past few years, John’s life has been a meat grinder. Mergers, broker defections and bad morale have been his daily companions.
You see, a few years ago John was unfortunately promoted. With his promotion, he was also given a bonus…an extra two hours of commuting to an office in disarray (priceless). No wonder he just stared at me when I told him congratulations.
As time passed, whenever I’d see John, he’d fill me in on his latest broker trials and tribulations. Being a former military guy, he has a very colorful vocabulary, which always makes for good storytelling.
As many good storytellers do, he tends to get to the point quickly. While watching our boys playing he turned to me and said, “Hey Miller, tell your kid to do me a favor and quit shooting.”
One of our favorite themes to talk about is stupidity — more specifically, financial advisor stupidity. “It just goes to show, even an idiot can pass the Series 7 exam,” he’d tell me. “You passed the Series 7, right?” he asked, as if proving his point.
He went on to tell me about one of the reps in his office. Apparently the guy was a big producer and John knew the guy was thinking about moving to an independent B/D. John called him and said, “Listen, I want you to stay but if you’re not, please don’t do anything stupid. If you do, I’ll have come after you. I don’t want to. I have to. It’s my job. Don’t be stupid.”
“Let me guess,” I said, “He did something stupid?” John went on to tell me about a call he had just received from one of the guy’s clients. Apparently the client was complaining that the advisor had been to their house a few weeks earlier pressuring them to sign transfer papers for their account. Oops. “Now I’ve got to sue the guy for a half a million bucks for being stupid,” John lamented.