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.

The Secret Broker always likes to answer his fan mail personally and recently left his inbox open. Here’s a couple of the rare Safe For Work ones we thought we should share with you.

Dear Secret Broker,

I need some help.

No matter how much I try and self-exclude myself, I always find myself going back onto online stock forums, as the backwards and forwards banter is so addictive to a lonely person like me. I find that I can escape into another world, where I can pretend to be the successful investor that my mother always wanted me to be.

These forums allow me to be someone who is more than just a train spotter, waiting for hours to see the 9.15am limited edition 4 carriage 1964 built special from Strathfield to Central go whizzing past me and blowing my anorak over my head.

I find that I can truly morph myself into Gordon Gekko and garner respect from other chat room buddies, even though I don’t have a clue what I am going on about and have never bought a share in my life.

We all share the same addiction and I was wondering if there is a help group, where we could all come together and talk to each other about this addiction. Is there something like AA but for addictive chat room junkies, not alcoholics?

I heard a whisper about a group called ‘Share Forum Anonymous’ or Sweet FA, as my friend calls them.

Eric Sidebottom – Strathfield Interchange – Strathfield NSW

The Secret Broker says:

Dear Eric,

I have come across many cases like this, where people spend hours in forums, pretending to know something about something, when in fact they know nothing about nothing. This lack of knowledge eggs each of the other non-knowledgeables on, so much so, that they all get into such a tizzy that a referee has to be called in and certain keyboard warriors are moderated or sin binned for a month.

A bit like the wrestling on TV, or Trump’s America. It happens but none of it is real. It’s just addictive entertainment.

I would recommend actually getting on the 9.15 Strathfield train and head towards the city. If you can find your way to the ASX headquarters, they have a big screen in a room, with chairs around it, just for people like you. You can sit there all day and jibber on at others experiencing the same addiction, until 4.15pm, when they close the doors.

I would suggest ditching the anorak and up scaling your look with a suit from your local op shop. Then, after 4.15pm, you can head to Ryan’s Bar, get pissed and annoy the shit out of all the professional brokers with your share tips and trading knowledge.

Make sure you befriend a group and be really obnoxious and loud and pay particular attention to trying to chat up anything in high heels (male or female, it doesn’t really matter, as the city is so accommodating these days). If someone tells you they work for Macquarie Bank, please keep tugging at their suit jacket, especially as they try to get away. Grip tight and don’t let go, till security appear on the scene.

My suggestions may not necessarily help you but they definitely helped me get over many a Friday night ruined by some idiot telling me how to do my job.

Choo Choo,
Dear Mr. Broker,

I don’t really understand shares and my married boyfriend travels to Sydney a lot and stays with me overnight, as he is the CEO of a company listed on the ASX. At least that’s what his business card says.

He has promised me 1 million shares in his company and as soon as they reach $1.00, he has told me that he will leave his wife and start a new life with me.

I check their share price in the paper every day and for the past 3 months they have shown the exact same price of 2.3c. I thought shares go up and down every day and when I mention this to him, he always changes the subject.

Recently, he has been unable to perform properly in the bedroom department and lets all his calls go to message bank. Plus, the company AMEX card he gave me keeps on being rejected.

His name is John Smith* and his company is called XXX123 Ltd* and I was wondering if you know anything about him or his company.

Should I take my $1 million and just move on?

Ms. Cynthia Jones* – Chatswood, NSW
*Names have been changed to protect their real identities

The Secret Broker says:

Dear Cynthia,
I’m afraid to tell you this but your married boyfriend’s company has been suspended by the ASX, which is why the shares have not moved in price for the last three months. It would appear that what he has been doing to you when staying over, he has also been doing to his shareholders for the past two years.

Firstly, to restore the romance in your relationship, when the lights and music are turned down low, whisper things in his ear like ‘US$100bn market opportunity’ or ‘Partners with Microsoft’ and maybe even ‘Milestone of 6m registrations reached’.

Whilst these specific terms may not help him rise to the occasion, they certainly shifted his share price upwards.

Try to avoid terms like ‘Please clarify’ and ‘When did the company become aware’ as these words may have the opposite effect.

As for the $1m worth of shares, I think that maybe you should insist on some sort of guarantee from him. If he tries to wriggle out of this commitment, then maybe offer to call his wife to explain the situation and also see if her AMEX card has stopped working. It may not actually help move your relationship forward, but it sure will make a few shareholders happy.

Basically, I think you have been caught out in what we would term in the trade as a ‘wham bam, thank you scam’ where everyone gets taken for a ride, except the guy on top, if you get my meaning.

My advice to you is to move on and next time you decide to get yourself involved with a married CEO of a listed company, make sure his card states ‘an ASX Top 200 company’ and his company is not based in Broadbeach or Subiaco.

PS – always check under your bed to see if he ever leaves a pair of white shoes under it.

Hope this helps.


* Please recognise that this is general advice only and that you should always seek independent advice in anything referred to above, except the bit about the white shoes. This is a standard situation that any young city career girl/guy should avoid otherwise they may be on the receiving end of a ride that they weren’t expecting.