The Secret Broker: This episode is brought to you by the letter ‘D’, and the number ‘435 million’
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.
Last week I managed to get death and a pair of Elton John’s goggles into the same column and this week I am also sticking to the letter ‘D’ and Lord knows where this will take us!
This week is all about D.I.V.O.R.C.E, as Dolly would sing it. Or, as we would refer to it on the trading floor, ‘He’s going to get Dolly’d’, mentioned whenever a married trader we knew was playing up with someone they ought not have been.
There was no ‘bonking ban’ in those days. We were like little rock stars in suits, though we only became famous when someone’s marriage fell apart and they got a mention in the ‘Dolly Papers’.
It was all booze ‘n money, honey, on the trading floor in those days…
Over the last couple of weeks we have seen a couple of Australia’s richest men mentioned in the ‘Dolly Papers’, a fact which never really surprises, especially when it involves self-made billionaires.
Even Gina, Australia’s richest woman, looks like she is about to get ‘Dolly’d’ from some of her billions and her children with it.
Her court case is estimated to be costing both parties a total of $250,000 a day in legals and is scheduled to go on for at least a month, which I’m sure is cheaper than the other two billionaires’ ‘Dolly’ fees.
At one point in my career, I got to meet some dazzling newly divorced women and their newly added noughts in their bank accounts.
One of the partners at our firm was married to the ‘go to’ female lawyer for high profile cases, as she was good at squeezing the pips of wealthy men who got caught playing up.
When their cases were done and dusted, said partner would be introduced and our team would be brought in to help them navigate them with their new-found wealth.
One of my observations was that the women mostly went for the cash and the family home and they don’t really have any interest in much else.
Jewellery yes, but car and wine collections, no.
In one case, our newly introduced client had cut one arm off of all of her husband’s handmade £3,500 a pop suit jackets. In another one, the wife had gone around the village early one morning and popped the bottles of eye-wateringly expensive wine onto everyone’s door step.
When they opened their front door, there beside their bottle of gold top were bottles of Romanée-Conti Burgundy and a little note explaining why.
They weren’t the properly dazzling cases though; this status was reserved for the rock stars’ wives, who were usually ex models and ‘totally shocked’ that their husbands had been playing away when touring.
They knew what they were really doing, so they waited until their rock careers were starting to peak, before calling them out and acting all ‘How could you?’
Of course helping them navigate round the stock market entailed a few late nights in also helping them navigate the top shelf of a bar and wine list.
I can’t say too much but let’s just say a member of Dire Straits ended up in, er dire straits. Luckily for his newly divorced wife, we were always there, collecting commission, whilst offering a fully intact, two-armed suit jacket to cry on.
Well, someone’s got to do it, was our motto.
So, the male ego will always get them in trouble. I mean, look at Boris – he has managed to father nine children from three different women, whilst also coming up with some rather outstanding names:
Lara Lettice Johnson-Wheeler (b. 1993)
Milo Arthur Johnson (b. 1995)
Cassia Peaches Johnson (b. 1997)
Theodore Apollo Johnson (b. 1999)
(by Marina Wheeler)
Stephanie Macintyre (b. 2009)
(by Helen Macintyre)
Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson (b. 2020)
Romy Iris Charlotte Johnson (b. 2021)
Frank Alfred Odysseus Johnson (b. 2023)
(by Carrie Symonds)
For those of us who didn’t study the Classics at Eton, Odysseus means ‘Son of Pain’ in Greek.
Then you have Charlie Chaplin, who fathered a child at the ripe old age of 77 and not to be out done, Robert De Niro fathered one at the age of 79.
You have to hand it to Charlie as Viagra was just a twinkle in its inventor’s eyes at that time.
Or as George Burns put it, “sSex at 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope”.
So, the male ego will always start and end a marriage, especially wealthy self-made billionaires, like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Though you have to hand it to Elon, as he was rumoured to be the reason why Nicole Shanahan ended up getting the elbow from Google founder, Sergey Brin.
How Elon finds the time to have affairs in between building Teslas, boring tunnels under roads and putting rockets into space is beyond me.
The biggest divorce case in the world happened in 2016, when one of those Russki billionaires was ordered to hand over 41% of his assets to his ex-missus.
After five years he had only handed over £5m (out of £435m that he owed her), so she had a no-win no-fee law firm put a freeze on his global assets.
This included his little runaround tinnie, which had 10 bedrooms and a 20m swimming pool.
Part of his hiding of assets involved transferring them to his son and this included £75m to invest in the market. When the son appeared in court he admitted that he had managed to lose £50m of it in a single day.
In one day!
Even Gina’s lawyers could make that much last for at least three months of wig-wearing.
Mind you he did have four Playstations in his £30m unit that daddy had given him, so it probably all went up in smoke via him trading CFDs.
The judge actually said that “the Akhmedov family is one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom”.
£1bn in assets and they are not happy. OMG.
Anyway, to sum up this week’s column, all this money seems to go straight to the trousers of these wealthy billionaires and poor old Dolly Parton can, as we all know, only sleep on her back.
Now, there has to be a song in that!
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