The Secret Broker: It’s true, the wealthy have their very own syndrome and it’s called RAS
The Secret Broker
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.
Over lunch I once asked a happy and well-off client the secret to success, and he told me that his father had told him that whatever he chose to do in life, he shouldn’t focus on becoming rich but instead focus on being the best at what he did and then the riches would follow.
He was one of those clients who was a pleasure to deal with, compared to the ultra-wealthy clients that were generally grumpy, arrogant and rude.
According to Christopher Ryan, an expert on why the uber wealthy are the way they are, “they develop a tendency to distance themselves from people with whom they have a large wealth differential” or as he delicately calls it, they develop “Rich Asshole Syndrome” or RAS.
Basically, it would appear that they grow a serious sense of paranoia combined with entitlement.
They start to distance themselves with bigger homes with bigger walls, so there’s no chance of coming into contact with their neighbours.
Having a driver means that they don’t need to communicate with a cabbie and an in-house chef entitles them to be served restaurant quality food without the need to actually mix with the hoi polloi.
Holidays are on a private yacht, so no sitting on a beach with the riff raff and if there was no private jet available, first class would require booking an empty seat next to them. I kid you not.
When Gina Rinehart became a director of Channel 10, she wanted one of the most popular TV shows in the world, The Simpsons, dropped as she did not like the show.
And Elton John once phoned his office to complain about the amount of wind blowing outside his hotel window.
Luckily for us that was his sign to check into rehab and as for Gina having a shot at Rupert’s favourite show, that would have had Lachlan chuckling in his chauffeured limo all the way back to his very large and private security fenced Point Piper (with servants’ quarters) home.
I had one RAS who would demand a phone call 10 minutes after the market had opened, and if you rang a minute late you would cop an earful of abuse, meaning the next time you would call them exactly as ordered.
He would then tell you to wait, while he barked out a command (still on the phone) to some poor underpaid but loyal ‘Smithers-type’ member of staff. This bit of entitled arrogance meant we would now be back to 11 minutes into the opening before we actually spoke.
When he did give you an order he would try and chip you on the commission, and on any oversubscribed placement he would demand double his usual size.
I would make sure the polite ones got their full subscription!
As most of us brokers would have a few RAS’ in our client base, we would share stories with each other and work out if we shared the same ones. No names needed to be revealed, just their traits and a couple of stock codes would be enough to have a few winced-faced, nodding heads.
Focusing on being the best at what you do, can also apply to listed companies. Bill Gates and Elon Musk formed companies that, firstly, solved a problem and then became wealthier beyond their dreams.
If you sit back and look at Afterpay (ASX:APT), it firstly solved a problem for shop owners, who had to juggle layby payments with their back-of-the-shop inventory and then secondly, cleverly combined it into an App that targeted their customer’s instant endorphin induced, gratification buttons and Bingo. Your stock goes from $1 to $33.
Those clever founders are now on their way to bigger walled homes, chauffer driven cars, personal chefs, private jets, private yachts and discovering that The Simpsons reminds them too much of their old neighbours.
As they revel in their new found wealth, I pray for their
undernourished overworked stockbroker and hope they don’t become infected with a full blown case of RAS.
Well if they do, he can always cut them back on the next juicy placement.
Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.