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.

Welcome to our annual awards night!

This event is the highlight of the year for many of us involved in the broking industry, with a legendary after party involving wine, women and song. And men.

A kind of wonder and chunder party experience, with a chance to let one’s hair down after what has been an unusual year for all.

Each year I am able to don the old black tie, loosen out the trousers a bit and chuff on one of my favourite cigars, whilst listening to young know-it-all brokers drunkenly telling me their stock pick for the year ahead.

Mrs Broker raids the safe and wears enough jewellery to make her Royal Highness blush. She then has the honour of driving me home, pissed up in the back of the car and dropping off my Tommy Nutter evening suit to the dry cleaners the next morning.

That’s right folks, I have a handmade Tommy Nutter dinner suit from Savile Row, famous for dressing three of the four Beatles crossing Abbey Road.

But for me, his most impressive design feat was cleverly hiding buttons in the trouser waistband, which allows for discrete adjustments after a hectic festive season girth spurt.

It was such a shame Tommy died so early in his life. I will always be eternally grateful for his understanding of my financial market driven income situation. In good years it would be fistfuls of cash and in bad years, suits would be left waiting for a year or two on the peg, until the next mining or technology boom to kicked in and replenished the old bank account. A true character and legend.

Anyway, without much ado, let’s get on with it.

Drumroll, please

CU in the NT award: The award for the biggest shock of the year, kindly sponsored by the Northern Territory Tourism Board, goes to COVID. The CU in the NT award is given out to the person who invented something that cannot be seen or touched, yet managed to affect everybody around the world, with many dying and many having to spend weeks in isolation, to try and slow down its spread. Let’s hope that this year, the vaccinations pull us through.

The Dog Ate My ASX Lodgement Form award: Kindly sponsored by the Adopt a Greyhound association, goes to Jason Brewer.

Jason was able to explain away the circumstances where his selling of shares in Global Oil and Gas (ASX:GLV), of which he was a director, were not reported till months after the event occurred. He explained that it was his former spouse who sold the 20m shares he held, without his knowledge. Have a read of the company’s official release on how this situation occurred. It’s a classic.

The Not Happy, Jan award: Sponsored by Yellow Pages, goes to the listed entity Praemium (ASX:PPS), who, due to an ‘administrative error’ forgot to put up a current director for re-election. Claire Willette was forced to step down as a director after the 19-page AGM statement forgot to put her down for re-election.

However, her fellow director, the brilliantly named David Lipshut, was put up for re-election but obviously was unable to mumble anything to the company secretary until it was too late.

The Arfur Daley Stocktake of the Year Award: Goes to Freedom Foods (ASX:FNP), after a whistleblower suggested to a board member that they may like to take a drive to one of their warehouses, as this was something that their auditor couldn’t be bothered to do.

To the board members’ horror, they found pallets and pallets of out of date Almond Milk. In fact, they found the equivalent of 20 Olympic sized swimming pools of out of date product. These were still being carried in the accounts as an asset worth A$60m.

The CEO was promptly sacked and sent out to pasture, whilst shareholders felt the full blunt of this oversight.

Kindly sponsored by the Bankruptcy Trustee of Joe Gutnick.

Product Launch of the Year Award: Kindly sponsored by the Australian Stock Exchange, it goes to, well… themselves. After deciding every year for 13 years that maybe this was the year to launch a new website, the ASX finally made the call:

On the day of the launch, the site froze for a few hours and then when it did come back on, it wiped out all announcements.

Not to be put off by this technical fumbling act, they then went ahead a week later and upgraded their trading platform.

This also froze after 32 minutess of operation and went into meltdown for the rest of the day.

Seeing that the ASX is listed on the ASX and they govern the ASX, we only thought it appropriate that they should be awarded with an award that they sponsor. We didn’t want tradition to be disrupted by any other candidates.

The ‘How many fingers am I holding up’ award: Goes to EY, for their role as auditor to the German technology listed pin-up company, Wirecard.

As auditor to the company, every year for three years, EY signed off on the company’s accounts that there was U$1.8bn in cash held by their bank in Singapore. After a short seller called out ‘LIAR’, Wirecard collapsed and the German equivalent of ASIC threatened to sue the FT journo who broke the story and have him thrown into jail.

The Harold Holt Investment Product of the Year: Goes to Mayfair Platinum, or as TSB likes to call them, ‘Old Kent Road Tin’.

Their ability to suck A$210m out of investors for their 6% paying deposit lookalike product is truly amazing. Though in one month alone, they did manage to spend A$150,000 on Google AdWords, which helped their cause but not investors’ financial health.

And lastly, to wrap up the night…

The ‘Dumb Thumb of the Year’ Award: Take a bow, Rajat Kamboj. Whilst holding Tesla shares in his Robinhood trading account, Rajat managed to refresh his screen 18,656 times, by only using his thumb.

He now hitchhikes around America, holding out the world’s biggest thumb and enthralls his driving samaritans on how he obtained his ‘Facebook Like’ hand thanks to his trading exploits.

I hope that you all have a great New Year and for those attending the after party, there are free Dry Cleaning vouchers available for you in your goodie bags.

Keep safe.