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.

As the Queen would say, James Packer has had an ‘Annus horribilis’, after a 717-page report basically said that he and his fellow board members were not of the high moral standing required to hold and operate a casino licence in Australia.

I think that we would all agree that page 515 is very damning, though page 627 shows some leniency, if you can stay awake till then. Here is Vol 1 of the report on Packer’s Pecker.

All the ex-loyal lieutenant letdowns are scurrying for the exit door before James can bargearse them out of the way as he makes a break for a simpler life. After his 20 years at the helm he appears to have steered all onboard towards the rocks.

In 2015, James had to give his sister $1.2bn in cash and assets as she wanted out of the family trusts and to do her own thing, away from the limelight and live a simpler life.

I can’t help but think that James wants to do the same.

In break-ups, women generally go for the family house, cash and the very liquid assets. The blokes always hold on to the trophy prizes, as their egos won’t allow them to give up the toys. (They think they need them to show off their status in life and to attract the next female.)

I can’t think of any wealthy ladies who own a sleekly designed boat. Gretel did get her father’s boat ‘Arctic P’ in her settlement, though in my book it is way too fugly to count as a superyacht.

In fact, the world’s biggest privately owned boat is called ‘Azzum’ and it is owned by a Sheik. I daren’t say his name out loud in case I get it wrong and something terrible happens to me. His full title is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

His boat is 163.5m long, which is 15m more than the last biggest boat in the world. His other claims to fame are that he keeps his home’s 5000 litre water tanks topped up with Evian water which he also uses to wash the decks down with and that his brother owns 50% of Manchester City football club.

His boat will bring joy to his brother, as the owner of Chelsea soccer club Roman Abramovich is owner of the (now) second biggest yacht in the world and at their last clash, Man City beat Chelsea 3-1.

So size does count.

On the other hand, James’ boat ‘IJE’ is only a mere 107.8 metres long, so we all now know where he now stands in the pecking order of the wealthy. And just so you know, Donald’s boat, the ‘Trump Princess’, is only 80 metres long, which may explain why he has such small hands.

Not so Tiny

It was also a boat that started the downfall of Alan Bond. When he moored his boat next to the ruthless financial tycoon Tiny Rowlands boat, in 1987, Bondy leaned over and asked Tiny if he owned it.

This raised the ire of Tiny so much that he paid for a detailed 93-page report on Alan’s empire, which he made publicly available, and this was the start of Alan’s journey from caviar to porridge.

I can still see a copy of that report in my mind today. It had a white cover and big bold red letters on the cover saying: The Bond Group of Companies – A Financial Analysis by Lonrho Plc. It detailed all of Bondy’s debts, which amounted to about $8.4bn (from memory) and was promptly hand delivered to all the bankers mentioned in the report.

A wise man once said to me:

“Never own a boat. Just make friends with someone who does.”

Also these words of wisdom, from a three times married, alcoholic, riches to rags drinking buddy, still ring in my ears today. He would tell me after he was leaving after a session:

“Just remember – if it flies, floats or f..ks, it’s trouble. Goodnight.”

And that’s why I like my shares. Sure you can’t show them off around the world but you don’t need to insure them, pay mooring fees and have a crew of 12 on standby 24/7. You don’t fill them up at the pump and get 1 million Amex points, or go green with envy when someone pulls up next to you and it’s obviously bigger than yours.

That’s why all the companies that I have ever got involved with were always IPOd.

They were never floated!


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.