Last week the web was abuzz about a Goldman Sachs executive who posted his resignation in the New York Times. He said he had to resign because the firm’s goals were no longer aligned with his own personal ideals. In his letter, he stated that the atmosphere at the firm was “as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”
He goes on to state how he has heard too many fellow Goldman employees discuss “ripping off” their clients and how they refer to their clients as “muppets.” I wish I could say that I was surprised by these comments. Many of you know that I came from the brokerage background before trading. I also left that industry because brokers I worked with were more concerned with commission generation than the best interests of their clients.
My initiation into the brokerage industry was eerily similar to the movie “Boiler Room.” I worked for what was called a penny pusher. We were to promote low cost penny stocks to clients in order to generate high commissions. In the early morning, we were given a list of stocks that we were to “sell” to our customers. On the sheet was a “story” to tell the client about the company and why that company would become the next Microsoft.
I was required to “smile and dial” a minimum of three hundred times a day! If I didn’t have a client list to call, I was handed a phone book and was told to call the ones with “Dr.” in front of their names because they would likely have more money. In meetings, our “velocity rate” of our clients’ accounts were compared and we were chastised if our churn rate (the activity in the account) wasn’t high enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not condemning the entire industry. There are a lot of quality financial advisors who are interested in developing long term relationships with clients and are interested in growing their nest egg consistently and safely. I had worked for three different firms before I finally had to leave the industry for the same reasons Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs did. I left the industry back in 1998. I would have hoped that it would have changed by now.
My point in writing this article is to point out the importance of financial education for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you plan to become a full time trader or are just making decisions for your 401k. You need to know how to make informed decisions. Even if you are working with an honest and reputable broker, your relationship will become stronger if you can speak the same language. More importantly, your money will likely grow faster and be protected from downturns in the market.
Most financial advisors have a background in fundamental analysis. This is good because they can identify longer term opportunities. The problem is that without the technical analysis background they will not have the timing of when to enter or more importantly exit these opportunities. Too many advisors missed the warning signs of the market peak in 2007. They also missed the bottom in 2009.
Merlin Rothfeld, one of our esteemed instructors, was on CNBC in 2007, warning the public of a major decline approaching. Sam Seiden and many other Extended Learning Track instructors called the 2009 bottom nearly to the day. You have the opportunity to learn the same skills these traders used to profit from these decisions in Online Trading Academy’s courses. No one cares more about your financial future than you do, so take the necessary steps to secure it. Get educated and take charge!