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.

For those of you who may not know cockney rhyming slang, ‘Adam and and Eve it’ means ‘believe it’. It was me shouting this that brought Mrs Broker running from the kitchen and into my study, as she knows I can go all cockney if I go into shock and my elocution lessons slip back in time.

(By the way, our vicar reckons that Adam & Eve were the first ever people to ignore Apple’s T&Cs.)

Luckily for her and the rest of the family, I was in a jovial mood and pointing at the TV, as the Americans, having delivered and unloaded Joe Biden’s ‘James Bond’ helicopter at Sydney Airport, were now loading it back onto its aeroplane to take back home.

It was only last month that it was in Ireland for a visit and that all went OK, but its visit to Australia lasted less than a day.

The USA pony show and tell was cancelled after Joe had rung Albo at 4.30am to tell him he couldn’t come as he couldn’t afford it.

He had run out of – and I quote from a very good source – ‘Bangers and Mash’ (cash) and now Albo was on his ‘Jack Jones’ (own).

Joe was down for the lure of pints of Guinness in Ireland last month but clearly the pints of XXXX Gold didn’t hit the Finsbury Park (mark).

The meeting he was coming for was called the 2023 Quad Leaders’ Meeting, which also included the Indian and Japanese PM to bring the four.

Perfect for a round of golf, I thought to myself, wondering what the Presidential golf cart actually looks like.

It turns out Joe was also due to address the Australian Parliament and I was particularly looking forward to watching him live on TV and trying to find the ‘Bobby Moore’ (door) after his speech.

He was also going to become the very first sitting ‘Septic Tank’ (Yank) to visit PNG and meet with 18 of their leaders, designed to shore up their standing in the Pacific and counter the Chinese influence in the area. (Definitely not ‘China plates’.)

Bees and honey

So all this drama in the US over their debt ceiling is grabbing more headlines than when everyone wanted to know who shot JR.

It reminds me firstly of trying to negotiate my pocket money raise and what chores I would have to give into; and secondly, bonus time.

Bonus time, for me, was originally created after all of the partners had taken out all of the bangers and mash that they needed. The resulting potential tax bill would then be divided up and paid out, not to taxman, but on a pro rata basis to all of us who worked down ‘apples and pears’ (stairs).

This resulted in us plebs paying their tax bill via our own bonus taxed wage packet.

It was only later on that when the Septics arrived on the scene with their cheque books open that bonuses became an individual thing.

They became negotiable.

Once a year (and just like Joe) there would be a bit of armwrestling between yourself and management over what you deserved out of the bonus pool, though this was not my case for the first three years or so.

I had worked out a system, where I would approach management just before we were about to settle on a juicy fee deal and do my bidding.

My system was to tell them that I wanted to borrow against my dues out of the bonus pool and then have the internal paperwork sorted out by HR.

Our HR manager was a nice (older) lady and by the time I had given her my reason for wanting my bonus advance, we would both be in tears (dying relative, setting up an orphanage, rescuing baby seals in Canada – that kind of stuff).

I had to make up some story so as to disguise my true purpose which was to have my bonus locked in and make sure that it became a tax-free payment.

So, when bonus time came around and everyone was doing a Biden and trying to negotiate, I had already done this. As HR had agreed to net off my bonus against my advance, it would never appear in my pay packet.

It became for them just a stroke of a pen.

At the Christmas party, everyone from HR would be enquiring to see if I was doing alright and how the relative/orphans/baby seals were going and what a noble thing I was doing.

If only in HR there were some younger sorts – I would have been ‘Errol Flyn’ (in). Though the older ones did try it on after one sherry too many.

Coals and coke

Now, it turns out that the US debt ceiling was actually reached on the 19th January of this year, so they have been going through all the tip jars and car ashtrays to keep themselves solvent, but these fountains of funding will be exhausted by June 1, hence Joe’s cancellation.

The current US debt ceiling is a staggering US$31.4 trillion or $46.8 trillion in our ‘Oxford Scholars’. About 20 times the size of Australia’s entire economy.

In fact, the limit in the US has been increased 78 times since 1960, so it’s not like no one saw this coming. For it to interrupt important diplomatic meetings, however, means high drama.

The market, though, just seems to shrug it off, having seen this happen so many times.

I predict that after it is finally resolved for the 79th time, markets will actually rally and then fall.

And on that note, I am going to hit the ‘Frog and Toad’ and go down to the ‘Battle Cruiser’ for a few ‘Britney Spears’. Hopefully I don’t get too ‘Scotch Mist’ whilst waiting for my mate, who actually is a real live and working ‘Merchant Banker’ and it’s bonus time at his ‘Captain Kirk’.

Can’t wait!

‘Monkey Ears’!

PS. For those of you who don’t believe elocution lessons actually work.


The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at [email protected].

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.