The Secret Broker: What dreams are made of
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.
I don’t know about any of you lot but my dreams have been becoming weirder, as all the fresh air from our non-air polluting cars and planes during lockdown, fills my lungs with clean night time air.
I have a recurring dream, where I am back working for a large merchant bank and I have no boss to answer to and have trouble finding my trading desk.
This week’s was particularly nightmarish, as when I did manage to find my desk, my watch list was on old stocks and old ASX codes and I just could not edit them off of my trading screen.
I think what brought this particular one on was because I had been reading an article on how Wall Street will be changed forever, as firms like Goldman Sachs have been making better than usual profits, even though their city based trading desks are empty and everyone is continuing to feel refreshed after their short morning 10-shuffle step commute.
The article was about the changes being implemented by Goldman Sachs and their New York-based managing director, who has seven high ranking derivative traders working under them and how the eight of them are adapting trading from home.
It was a fascinating insight to how trading post COVID-19 could look, and the article also showed the trader at their home desk and when I saw it, I was blown away by how few items they had on their desk.
Here is the image included in the article.
My desk would have five different screens, two keyboards and two direct line phones, deal slips strewn all over the place, plus bits of food and research papers with my mobile phone hidden underneath the mess, which could only be found when someone was calling me.
She has got one screen, one phone and one pen.
If anyone tried to clean up my desk, move things around or, heavens above, play with my screen set up, I would throw a tantrum that would make even a hair dishevelled Kevin Rudd blush.
I had to have everything in the same place because when you were under the pump, everything would flow automatically, as everything could be found in its place, and the eight-month pregnant Moran Forman has got hers down to a fine art. Even the dog looks content.
If you think I am being pedantic, then wait till you hear about what one hedge fund whiz kid, based in London, required when he went on holiday.
The Wizard of Oz, as his nickname suggests, was an Australian born trader of extraordinary talent, who once walked away from a $US250m ($383.3m) bonus package to join another firm and then, at the age of 41, retired to a 12,000 acre estate in Scotland after amassing a fortune worth over $US600m.
Greg Coffey, who started out getting the coffees at Macquarie Bank, would have a team of technicians dismantle his entire trading desk, together with its rows of screens, and then they would carefully fly with it all to wherever he was holidaying and painstakingly reconstruct it, bit by bit, ahead of his arrival.
This was all achieved by taking photos and then cataloguing all the scattered items and paperwork and exactly placing them as he had left them. As he loved skiing in Europe, I shudder to think what would have happened, if someone opened the front door of his chalet during a major blizzard, just as he was sitting down.
Maybe my recurring dream comes from the fact that my holiday trading ambitions only required the charger for my Blackberry and decent reception, and maybe this was why I retired with a few of his noughts missing from my bank balance.
Oh and the fact he was voted the second sexiest hedge fund manager in the world, yet another fact that allows Mrs Broker to put the boot into my even more bruised ego.
The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at email@example.com.
Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.