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.


An old name popped up in the week, when he was finally charged with ‘communicating’ insider information.

No, it wasn’t Philip Lowe, who managed to communicate nothing when he was being privately fed and watered by a group of bankers.

I’m talking about the ex CEO of Big Un, Richard Evans or “Richard Evertz”, as he became known halfway through his tenure, whilst he was pulling the strings at the ASX listed company, whose ticker just happened to be ‘BIG’.

Unfortunately BIG was actually the losses that investors would suffer when the company collapsed after hitting a $1bn plus valuation, thanks to some creative ‘fingers and toes’ accounting calculations.

The previous time I saw a company use BIG as its ticker was ‘Bond International Gold’ and we all know what happened to Alan Bond, so if you do see this ticker again, you may want to avoid the company in a very BIG way.

I first wrote about Big Un and its financial woes way back in October 2020, as it was spectacular in its demise.

So, Big Un listed in 2014 and was suspended in 2018 and nine years after their listing the CEO has been charged.

He was a Wrong Un from the very start, as he already had a previous criminal record, we all found out later.

You have to hand it to ASIC though.

Nothing like making sure that you have all the correct information before pressing charges. Keystone cops working on ‘Island time’ at its very best, though hopefully I will be pushing up daisies by the time they tickle me for something I did 30 years ago.

Anyway, the best part about the latest saga for Big Un followers is that while Richard was waiting for the corporate cops to knock on his door, he was happily running a mobile burger van in of all places, Walcha in North NSW and now waiting as it turns out, for a knock on his burger van.

I understand under good authority that he was only caught after members of the public had ordered one of his ‘Big Un Burgers’ with the lot, only to find that there was no burger between the buns.

Just a bit of old lettuce and an ‘IOU a burger’ note, written on the back of a torn up share certificate.

Me and Mrs Broker were laughing amongst ourselves on all the names of the burgers he would be serving up.

  • The ‘Porridge’ – made in the traditional prison way
  • The ‘Not Me’ – made from the rump of innocent looking cows
  • The ‘I Don’t Recall’ – which never gets made as we never took that order, yer Honour
  • The ‘Gravy Train’ – can only be served to civil servants and their lawyers
  • The ‘Not Enough Fingers’ – never the same ingredients but is fully audited
  • The ‘Vigorously Defended’ – must be paid for up front in 15 minute eating time increments
  • The ‘ASIC’ – takes two weeks to make and even then we can’t guarantee that it will be ready
  • And all chips are served cold and on the shoulder.

I just hope he didn’t take up one of the video promotion offers that his ASX company used to peddle, as he will be another $12,000 in the hole and he wouldn’t even know it.

I actually couldn’t find the Big Un Burger Bar listed on Google Maps, though in a homage to his old shareholders, I did find one called the ‘Alternate Root’ and another one called ‘BurgerBulls’.

However, it is hard to understand how these things take so long to come to court and then only to be defended and dragged out longer.

The rules of the ASX are that if information is released via ASX announcements, then it is deemed to be in the public domain while all other channels are officially deemed not to be 100% in the public domain.

Sure you can promote an announcement on social media and the like but only after the release of said information and not before.

Read the room, person… vintage

Simple rules seem to be the hardest ones to legally stick, when you have government funded organisations taking on the rest of the world.

We would always take out CEOs for lunch after they had come and presented to us, so we could “read the person”.

How they treated wait staff was one of our observations, especially if they got a bit tipsy. If they were rude to a waiter or waitress, we would wonder how they would treat their own staff.

If they openly offered information that was not in the public domain, we would see it as a sign of moral weakness and insecurity on their part.

Sure, it was kind of them to tell us something that we shouldn’t know – but now we are in a worse position as we can’t act on that information or pass it on.

It’s like a married mate telling you he’s shagging your wife’s best friend, who is also married but you can’t tell anyone. And when it all comes out in the open you get the ‘and you knew all along’ speech!

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

The best CEOs to lunch with were the ones who were witty and humble and when asked a question that you shouldn’t have asked, they politely tell you so.

However, what they did next is what we were looking for.

We had one memorable lunch where after the ‘you know I can’t tell you that’ answer, they ordered a bottle of Penfolds St Henri.

He couldn’t tell us what we wanted to hear (upcoming and unreleased drill results) but he gave us an indication that they would be good.

If they had ordered a cheaper wine, then we knew things were not going well.

Later, back in the office we would huddle in a corner and work out our next move and on this particular day, the info was good (as was the vintage). The chart looked good and the company also had some listed options trading just out of the money and with two years to go.

Bingo. We would get ourselves set and then not tell anyone else anything. Not a word.

Some of the junior staff would follow us in but that was it.

The options went from 2c to 8c over the next two weeks and when you are long of a 1m+ of those babies, things are good. Damn good.

If anyone asked us what we knew, we would print them off a copy of the company’s chart, which of course was becoming self-fulfilling, and say ‘there you go’.

If a client just happened to phone through an order, we would just tick the ‘no advice given’ box on the ticket and just carry on.

Home-cooked goodness

Now, later in life and thousands of trades later, I can make my own burgers at home and not have to look over my shoulder or hide when the doorbell rings.

Mrs Broker likes my ‘Insider Trading’ burger as nothing ever falls out of it, so it leaves no mess.

I like my ‘Fat Boy Lunch’ burger, as it starts out very neat and tidy but ends with the egg yolk and beetroot juice going everywhere.

I always manage to choke on a bit too much Coleman’s Hot English, though Mrs Broker says I’m lucky that it burns just my mouth and not my fingers.

Next time I think she’ll be getting the ‘Touché’ burger!


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.