Dear Mrs Broker, my husband’s an analyst. Should I have married a broker instead?
The Secret Broker
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After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.
Dear Mrs. Broker,
I am reaching out to you because you have obviously been married to someone from the broking community for a long time, as have I, and I would love some feedback from a pillar of the broking society, such as yourself.
My problem is that I made the choice of marrying an analyst and not a stockbroker and this event, after many years of struggling, has eventuated in me having to join my local branch of AA.
Analysts Anonymous, is a non-for-profit organisation which caters for struggling wives of analysts. Having to stand up in front of a group and declare that I have been married to one for the past 25 years was very raw to me.
However, I found it very liberating when they all clapped (there were so many!) as I sat down and listened to some of their stories.
It turns out that we all have a lot in common.
It was very refreshing to learn that I am not the only one ironing creases into the front of underpants or taking 30 colourful bow ties to the dry cleaners, ahead of the next three-day refresher course on ‘The Joy of Excel’ in Canberra.
Now, things have only got worse with lockdown and his constant obsession with Zoom meeting attire and background protocol.
You see, since his last refresher course, I now have to consult with one of his ‘delightful’ spreadsheets ahead of every video call. Now the only thing that gets laid out on the bed are coloured bow ties, all to match different study backgrounds, in order to avoid embarrassing Zoom duplications.
Every morning at 6.00am, he emails me with his Zoom schedule for the day, with columns on who will be attending and the subject. I then have to cross-reference those names with the last time they called, so there will be a new bow-tie colour awaiting the caller, no matter how many Zooms they’ve shared in the past.
Also, the background has to match the caller, so if it’s about mining, the correct rock samples and reference books are on the shelf behind him.
If the next Zoom is just with work colleagues, it’s certificates of awards and a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica.
So, all of this has led me to AA and now my daily thoughts are, if only I had married a broker and not an analyst, my life would be as colourful and as exciting as your life is.
Myself and my other fellow members love the escapism that The Secret Broker’s article brings us weekly. He sounds so mysterious and… dangerous! (Though all of our husbands refuse to read any of them. It’s an analyst/broker thing.)
Any words of wisdom and reassurance will be gratefully received.
Mrs. Nigel Smythe-Smythe-Jones,
Dear Mrs. Smythe-Smythe-Jones,
It is very brave of you to reach out to me. Your tale of struggle, algorithmic obsession and regret bring me much heartache.
Firstly, when I hear my husband talk about the relationship between brokers and analysts, it is no wonder that his column is not popular with the broking community.
He says analysts are the cats and the brokers are the dogs, so they very rarely get on.
Our cat ‘Plain Jane’ gets on with our dog ‘Sir Winston’ very well, though we can never leave them alone in the same room together, as Sir Winston would just eat her after getting clawed on the nose more than three times in an hour.
If I can explain it in another way to you, then I hope you can understand that not all hope is lost. That greener grass on the other side of the fence could in fact be a fake synthetic and thus leave a nasty burn mark, when slip-up occurs.
If you take the Rolling Stones as an example of a broking house, then the late Charlie Watts would be the Head Analyst. Clearly, sexy Sir Mick would be the broker in charge of the dealing desk.
Ronnie Woods would be in charge of compliance and Keith would be well, just Keefe and neither a 100% analyst or broker be.
As the analyst, Charlie would spend the entire concert keeping a steady backing rhythm going whilst Sir Mick would be outfront getting all of the applause and later, the pick of the best groupies backstage.
Charlie wouldn’t leave his seat; just watch as Sir Mick ran around the stage soaking up the accolades.
Then, when it came to handing out the cash generated from a worldwide tour, Sir Mick would claim a larger share of the pie. He’d argue that he did all of the work, whilst Charlie ‘just sat on his arse the whole time’.
This is what it’s like at bonus time in a broking house. The frontman would always get a larger bonus than the ones sitting at the back, even though it takes a team effort to generate the cash pool being fought over. Unfortunately, this is what leads to the cat/dog scenario.
My husband is like all of the Stones rolled into one, though erring more towards Keefe the most. But there have been many times I wished that he could have been just a boring Charlie.
However, without the likes of my husband’s moments of genius, then people like David Teoh and Andrew Forrest wouldn’t be the billionaires they are today and I would not have been able to live my life in such a privileged position.
As his favorite T-shirt says, ‘Broking is all about Sex, Drink and Stocks ‘n Roll’.
So, my advice to you and all the other ladies at Analysts Anonymous, is to use your creative female energy to steer them towards a more manageable situation.
Maybe just use a map of the world as his only background? That way he can rearrange the pins on places visited – Russia and Mongolia for work colleagues, and London and New York for clients?
I would also suggest that you set his monitor to black and white (like his “ABC News-only” TV) and explain to him that this way, no one will ever know (or care, FFS) what colour bow tie he’s wearing.
And finally, I’ll leave you with the title of one of the Stones’ greatest songs, with which I want you all to sing along to at the beginning of every AA meeting, at the very top of your voices.
Now, deep breath – one, two, three…
What You Want.’
Hyde Park, London.