Please take this opportunity to vent about your encounter with a prospect from HELL.
What's your most strange/unique/extreme/weird experience you've had when prospecting a client. Any lessons learned? Details please...
I was broker of the day. (For those who don't know: Broker of the day gets all the walk-in traffic, for that day. Very few people walk-in off the street, ready to write a check.) Anyway, this day a women in her mid-late 50's walked in. Not so unusual except that she was wearing hot pants with a tight, low cut top. She was dressed 30 years too late.
Word quickly spread through the office that a "bombshell" was in my office. (My desk faced the window into the rest of the office, with the prospect seated with her back to the window.) Soon, every one of the employees in my office, slowly strolled by the window looking in. Of course, I could see them walk by with a big smirk on their face. It was all I could do to act professional without busting out laughing. Some of them strolled by 2 and 3 times!
I have two different "Broker of the Day" stories that happened in our office. The first, this older Chinese couple came in wanting to purchase a stock. The POA is asking them about their goals and so forth, and they stop him and ask him how much is Wal-Mart going for right now? The POA replys "somewhere in the mid 40's, why?" they say well we brought 50 dollars with us so we will take 1 share of Wal-Mart stock. After the POA explains that we cannot just open an account to purchase 1 share of stock that's not what we do here, they proceed to ask him if they can just go to the store and pick up a share.
The second story happens to a female POA. A older homeless looking gentleman comes in as a BOD walk-in, wanting to check the balance on his accout. The guy had someone's name and account number and wanted to know the balance and what the money was in, (needing to withdraw everything). The POA ask for some identification in order to verify that this was who was on the account. It just so happens he left his wallet at home, so he comes in the next day with a mugshot of himself with the guys name on the account on the mugshot along with 3 other aliasis. The POA called in our compliance personal and they escorted the guy from the building.
Working a client that did nothing but roll 2 mil worth of treasuries. Showed him some decent managers, our IPO capabilities etc. He BEGGED me to give him some VM-Ware, told him I would pull some strings, try to help him out. I was able to get him 300 shares, up 25 on open. I went on vacation and he called in to sell the stock in the 70's. When I returned from vaca I had a message to call him, I figured he was going to say thank you. I returned the call and he proceeded to tell me he was APALLED at the amount for the sell ($249). I told him to take his business someplace else, couldn't deal w/someone that was that cheap.
BOD call came in and was fielded by a young female trainee. The male client opened an account with a Boston address. This was strange because we're in Philly. He explains this by saying he has business interests in Philly and its surrounding area and wanted to establish a brokerage business connection in the area. The young trainee, who was barely making it, was thrilled, though this should have raised a red flag. Another red flag should have been the fact that the account was opened in the client's mother's name, with the client having full trading authority. Strange for a businessman. All documents were received. The client deposited $25,000 cash supplied by check signed by mom in an envelope with a Boston postmark.
First trade was a NYSE stock, which proceeds to go up by about 10% before the client called and ordered a sell. Then followed a group of winning small trades over the following weeks. Next the client asked for options papers so he could trade options. The trainee complied and the trading moved from NYSE stocks to options. Again a series of winning trades took place more than doubling the account's value. The client then told the trainee he wanted to deposit more money, $250,000. This made her day and she ran to tell the manager, who wisely wanted to talk to the client. The manager knew that the trainee knew nothing about options and wanted to make sure the client and the firm were protected.
It is at this point that the first crack appeared. The trainee told the manager that she could never get a hold of the client, that the client always called her. The manager asked if his phone number was good? Yes, it was, and the BOM verified this contacting the client's mother, who told the BOM her son was away on business. Because the account was in her name the BOM questioned her about the activity. She was aware they were making money, but left the details to her son.
By the way, this was in the time before cell phones were the norm. He instructed the trainee that there would be no more trading until he talked to the client about his activity and his intentions. The trainee told this to the client who in turn called the BOM. The BOM later recounted that there was a lot of noise in the background, to which the client said he was calling from an airport. The client was tough on the BOM, that while he had no problem complying with whatever policies the firm had in place that if he interfered with his trading again he would move the account. The BOM backed off and the $250,000 came in.
The trainee was in the process of investing the dough as per the client's instructions when the crack turned into a fire spewing fissure. We received a visit from the FBI. That's not something that happens every day. It got our attention. There were several hush hush meeetings, the end result was the trainee's resignation.
Turned out that the client was an inmate in the Federal pen in Marion Il.
It gets worse. He had scamed ML, and DLJ out of over a million dollars each. We were next. His MO; pick a young trainee or a failing broker. Someone who would be easily led.
It gets worse again. This client from hell was nationally known for an infamous crime. He claimed to be the Tylenol Killer. He wasn't, his claim was an attempt to extort money from J&J. He was serving time in Marion for the extortion attempt.
The real Tylenol Killer has never been caught.
The money he used to open his account with our firm was that stolen from ML and DLJ.
He used his mother's address.
The trainee resigned on her own accord. She decided that the brokerage biz wasn't for her. She returned to teaching.
Mine was a sister of a Power Ball winner. She received $700K and by the time I saw it, she was down to $500K...new truck for hubby, new car for her, "loans" for all their bum friends, paid 3X market for a termite-infested house they were going to fix up for one son...ended up tearing that down.
All the warning signs were there, but I was young and naive and was going to save these idiots from themselves. First, they told me that they wanted to draw $40K/year on the $500K. I explained that an 8% draw rate was too aggressive. We agreed on $2K/month or about 5% and that lasted about 2 weeks. Son got arrested for drugs...needed $20K for attorney and rehab. Husband got arrested for meth and cocaine. He needed money. They took out money to buy a "race horse" and trailer. Apparently hubby decided he was the second coming of Bob Baffert.
End result was, despite my carefully laid plan and a multitude of discussions and lectures (and their assurances that they would be careful with the money and stick to the plan), she pissed through all but $80K in about 18 months, at which point, I fired her and gave her a check for the balance (I had told her that my minimum was $100K). Lotto winners and relatives are the worst...I'll be hard pressed to take another one unless they want to buy SPIAs.
They are doing some infrastructure construction next door so this middle black dude that’s covered in dirt walks in and wants to talk with somebody about investing. So, I’m broker of the day and invite him in my office, bla bla with some small talk and ask what he had in mind. He had a pretty good and articulate answer about building up an account for general security and how he never wants to be a burden to his family should something happen to him etc etc. I was impressed thinking hey the guy has about $10k ish he tells me and is a good candidate for a fund of funds with a map or some such.
<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
SO I ask him what kind of experience does he have if any in investing?
He thinks for a moment, looks around, pauses and tells me “well I used to sell a lot of coke. I could easily triple my money each time I made a buy”
Honest to God … I burst out laughing half way thinking one of the other brokers put him up to it. His look got very serious and I then knew he wasn’t kidding.
Holy smoke. I just told the guy, dude, I grew up in Detroit so I’ve been around the block BUT DON’T EVER EVER EVER say that to anybody in a bank again!!!!!
Then I cheerfully showed him the Founding Funds Strategy, informed him money laundering is a 20 minimum sentence last I heard and said call me when you’re ready.
Needless to say that’s on toad I’ll not be kissing.
So, what if he calls and brings two of his "employees" (ex-NFL linebackers) to open accounts, as well? Nice knowin' ya...