Author Archives: thepiker
The week of pessimism, or perhaps realism, being punished has ended. Tonight, even the sorriest of long-only managers sleeps easy.
Anyone capable of adhering to platitudes bought precious metals, materials, or oil and is suddenly a man of vision. Anyone possessing the attention span to skim a research report or, failing that, turn on the teevee “saw it coming” and “market timed”. Just ask him.
I lightened up considerably heading into the Fed announcement. Everyone and their fuckwit brother was calling for Helicopter Ben to ride in and rescue us from our miserable existences. The prevalence of this assumption, and the accompanying expansion in multiples, gave me pause. Like the apocryphal story of Joe Kennedy Sr. and the 1920s shoe-shine boy, I listened to colleagues, each stupider than the last, work the phones explaining why QE was a mortal certainty.
But the time for skepticism is over. The lunatics now run the proverbial asylum, and I am quite happy to don a straightjacket and join in.
Despite great economic and political uncertainty, Bernanke has stolen the spotlight from America’s bicameral circle-jerk and given respite to downtrodden markets. Promises of free money have banished ominous warnings of structural problems and fiscal cliffs from the headlines. Exuberance reigns, and the retail investor, still bloodied from his purchase of FB at IPO, will once again emerge from his fear-induced hibernation.
In the opinion of a humble piker, the promise of indefinite easing linked to unemployment figures places a floor beneath markets (at least in the short-term), notwithstanding small, profit-taking corrections. Given the recent low-volume melt-up, it makes sense that some in the institutional crowd would seize the opportunity to book gains while volume allows. The trend, mind you, remains upward with trillions in cash sitting on the sidelines, eager to partake in the fun and frivolity.
Men more learned than I will decry the long-term ills of QE, argue the inefficacy of POMO to cure economic woes, and suggest that the attendant spike in oil and spectre of inflation will doom the recovery. They could well be right, but it is presently no concern of mine.
The order of the day is to get whilst the getting is, indeud, good.
A friend at my firm announced he had hired a “mentor” to help him prospect. This “mentor”, he explained, would help him implement a “sales process” with which to build a book. He suggested I join him and I whimsically obliged. I managed to supress my laughter for a full hour, as an asshole with bleached teeth and carefully coiffed hair preached to my friend about “harnessing the power of positive energy”, “leveraging and synergizing core competencies”, and building a “win-win client experience”. This farcical display reinforced my belief that the skills needed to close deals and build a book are best , and only, acquired through experience – through trial and error with live ammunition.
I half-jokingly told him he should try working as a bouncer instead of hiring the “mentor”: it would put a few bucks in his wallet (instead of charging him an hourly rate), and as a doorman he would be more likely to get fucked by a peroxide-blonde waitress with “Daddy issues” than a charlatan selling fake solutions to gullible brokers.
For my money, working “night club security” is the best crash course in negotiation and persuasion a man can take. I started working in bars at age 18, and no degree, designation, or bullshit “mentor” since has equalled the experience, and set of skills, I gained from that dead-end job.
The bouncer you see at your bar or club of choice is likely there because he has to be. On balance, most are productive members of society – teachers, firefighters, students, military or blue-collar men who seek a second job out of financial necessity. They work evenings and weekends to better their station in life whilst the rest of the world fucks off.
It is, at its core, an unenviable job: a group of men are tasked with maintaining some semblance of order in a darkened, deafening room. Though the settings vary slightly, these rooms are invariably filled with drug and alcohol addled degenerates intent on, alternatingly, with fucking and/or fighting their surroundings. A doorman is constantly at cross purpose with the party-going public, seeking to inscribe civility on beasts engaged in the utmost depravity. They are a wholly unreasonable population, one that promises to “fuck you up” on Friday night, but who calls their father’s lawyer Monday morning should things not go their way.
In my experience, the most astute and learned traders seldom run the biggest or most lucrative books. Similarly, the strongest and doughtiest fighters seldom make the best bouncers: society’s ‘boys-will-be-boys’ attitude towards bar fights is no longer, and bouncers given to ‘Swayze-esque’ uses of force often find themselves in cop cars and courtrooms. The best doormen are those with interpersonal acuity, those who can look at a miscreant and assess what makes him tick.
While it is easier (and more cathartic) to launch a patron through the door, it is ultimately better to be able to lead him there of his own volition: to subdue him with whatever logic or rhetoric he will respond to in his impaired state. I learned to evaluate how a person would respond to a particular line of dialogue, to determine who could be intimidated and who ought to be cajoled.
My thought process today when I seek to close a top-hatted man of industry parallels my thought process of yesteryear when I sought to eject a drunk, shirtless fucker from a bar. In both cases, my goal is to make a timely, accurate assessment of a stranger, determine what logic drives and his thinking and what motivations govern his behaviour, and ultimately bend him to my will while making him feel the victor.
In summary, if someone offers to sell you a substitute for wisdom, politely decline and promptly punch him in his fucked face.
Now, off to make some cold calls…
Good evening, esteemed denizens of iBC.
After years of roaming these halls, perusing trade ideas and enjoying the musings of the incomparable Senor Tropicana, I decided to join the ranks of the iBC Blogger Network.
By way of introduction, I’m a fledgling broker at a bank-owned firm — an unassuming man, more likely to drive a modest sedan than, say, a car laden with sticks of dynamite. Many men in similar stations in the industry shriek ill-conceived trade ideas through the Blogger Network in strident tones; I will do nothing of the sor
Rather than harangue top-hatted gentlemen with the vagaries of my book, I will use this blog to chronicle my efforts to survive and, indeud, “make it” as a neophyte in this business. As I read a great deal and possess a first-rate public school education, I will also endeavour to add somewhat cogent commentary on current events, pen half-way plausible market theses, and occasionally post some general interest stories/opinions.