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 TSB,

I am writing to you on behalf of a friend.

If your said friend started a major roadshow and on the very first day of the said roadshow, your friend made a mistake so disastrous that all the investors left the room, is there a comeback?

My friend has a big team of advisors and volunteers, who try to keep him informed on basic everyday information.

Things like how much a loaf of bread costs, and even how much a litre of milk costs, are required to be known so he can lower himself down to a common person’s level of economic understanding (when kissing a baby).

This team even trained my friend up on how much GST is in a cherry glazed birthday cake, just in case a pesky investor turned up holding one and wanted to know.

However, when your incompetent team of useless advisors and spotty-faced Uni students forget to enlighten my friend on certain things he may not know — but which the common peasants worry about — what should he do?

It was during his very first presentation on a six week roadshow that his team let him down, when a pesky investor asked him if he knew what the official interest rate currently was and then what the current unemployment rate was.

This team of absolute useless morons forgot to vet what kind of questions were going to be asked ahead of time.

They’ve now been given a right Royal dressing down whilst they all stood bonelessly staring at their shoes.

My friend was so angry that even Kevin Rudd dropped his hairdryer on some of the language used.

His hero, Sir Alex Ferguson, would have been very proud of him.

So, my friend asked me to write to you for advice on what he should now do.

He has five weeks and six days left, where he is going to be exposed to having to having to know common things (which he struggles with).

Even his driver and his PA live in a different Parallel Universe, so they are just as useless as everyone else that surround him.

Help please.

I beg you.


Tony Japanese
Dear Tony,

I think I saw your friend being ridiculed on TV the other day, but please tell him not all is lost.

In the stockbroking game we always found a way to turn a negative into a positive, and I think a little bit of guidance charged at $10,000 per hour (plus expenses) is in order.

Here’s an example; say you’d just finished a $100m placement in a listed company, and the very next day the firm’s analyst issues a sell recommendation and emails it to all of your clients saying the stock is worth half of what they paid for it. You don’t panic.

No, no, no.

What you do is you get all of his recent buy and sell recommendations and see how many he had got completely wrong.

You then pick up the phone and tell the client who just gave you $25,000 in commission that you have some good news.

You point out to them how lucky they are, as your in-house analyst has just written a sell recommendation and his last 19 recommendations have all done the complete opposite of what he said.

If you didn’t pick up an order to buy some more, you would sack yourself.

Or another time, when you are presenting 20 slides in a pre-IPO pitch to a very rich iron ore magnate and slide 15 misspells his company’s name, do you panic?

No, no, no.

You just say that on this particular slide we have purposely made a mistake, and can you spot it?

When said iron ore magnate leans forward and points at his misspelt company’s name, you congratulate him and praise him for paying attention and being so clever (as everyone else stays very quiet).

So with the benefit of hindsight, your ‘friend’ should have replied to the question with a question.

Instead of fumbling on knowing the unemployment rate, he should have said “what would you like it to be?”

And when asked what the current official interest rate is, he should have replied that “whatever it is, in eight weeks’ time it will be different. Next question please.”

Or he could have used the old, ‘excuse me a minute’ manoeuvre and pretend to be answering an urgent text, when of course he is Googling the answer.

My main advice now would be to contract COVID enough times to have to self-isolate, and then simply recover just enough to attend your very last presentation, on the last day.

That way, if any pesky questions do arise you can feign that you have lost your voice and have one of your team lead you away whilst you drink some water.

Now, to what address do I send my invoice to?


Happy Easter!


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.