BOILER ROOMS

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MOTU's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-09

Has anyone here ever worked for a boiler room or chop shop? If so tell your story.  I read a couple of books by guys that did "License to Steal" and "Born to Steal".  man these books should have been made into movies moreso that the ones that came out a few years back.  Are there still firms like these around?  These guys were not licensed or if they were they had someone take the test for them.  There was alot of paper bags with money place in them.  WHo would buy OTC stocks? I still don't get it.  I know some institutions buy them but these stocks were way too bogus and these guys were like 21 years old making 80K a month.  But of course thye always end up in jail though. But this was as recent as 2000. Are there still chop shops out there??

liquidasset's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-10

 
I agree, the movie boileroom was kinda lame. A few good lines though. Someone in here has to have some chop-shop stories? I think they do best when the market is in full bull run. I think most guys are licensed, but they sell and run.

MOTU's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-09

Yeah man. Born to steal's subtitle is when the Mafia meets Wall Street.  This book is a good read to know what a true boiler room in New York is/was like.  These firms actually had some celebrity clients who bought some of these unregulated stocks and warrants.  These guys entered the business thinking it was legitimate and they ended up doing wrong, but they made alot of money and also spent alot of money.  I think some of these firms are still around though. Just mainly in the Ney York area.

MOTU's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-09

Yeah I think Wall Street was lame too. Even though it is a classic.  Everybody aways touts GG as the man but the true pimp in the movie was Sir Larry Wildman. He told Gekko, "I could break you mate....you know it and I know it". Now that's a pimp lol.  But anyway boiler rooms are what stole the legitamacy of being a stockbroker. Not to mention the junk bond scandals in the 80s.  The term stockbroker is literally non-existant largely due to boiler rooms.  I really would like to hear about someones boiler room experience.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

This guy writes a lot like executivejock. hmmmm.
Yes those types of shops still exist mostly in NY metro area.
Many of those folks from the old line shops like Stratton Oakmont(most likely the basis for "Boiler Room") are now in the mortgage business as mortgage brokers because they could not get a securities license.

liquidasset's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-10

 
Ha your best buddy Joe....Ececutivejock
Hmmmm, I see the similarity.

MOTU's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-09

Well Im not him.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

MOTU wrote:Well Im not him.
 
No of course not.  Nobody ever posts on these boards under multiple aliases.

MWD123's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-11

I've heard that many of the new "boiler rooms" are opening up in countries w/ little regulation.  I've heard Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are the hot spots.  Lots of commodity brokers as well.

Beagle's picture
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Joined: 2005-03-21

I worked for Hibbard Brown for all of 3 weeks.  Passed my Series 7
and 63 and during the 3 weeks they had us sit in cubes and dial all day
long.  On the second week everyone went to Florida for the day
except for a hand full of us, I checked out for a "meeting" at lunch
when I had 3 interviews set up.  By the end of the 3rd week I made
one sale for about $1,200 in stock in the firms big offer plus I found
a guy that invested about $50k in real securities.  They laughed
at me when I gave the tickets to the manager for shares of real
investments - lost opportunity.  Felt quilty about the $1,200 and
was happy to have my new job! 

Best stories for when I was there.  The brokers netted 10% of
whatever was invested.  Yes 10%.  Get a client to buy $50k,
you make $5,000 and that's not shared with the firm, they already made
their cut.

My boss sat right behind me and I routinely heard him give illegal
quotes.  He would tell the suckers they were making money when in
reality it was half gone.  Should be noted, the smart brokers
never dialed to their own state or any state that had a branch because
it was easier to lose your license that way.  Hibbard Brown had 6
branches I think so you had plenty of states to victimize.

The best broker they had at my time there was just amazing.  About
23 and making $250k per year.  No college degree, just one hard
nosed, brass balls saleman.  Listened one day as he told the
client to put down the damn spoon, his Corn Flakes would be there in 5
minutes but his offer wouldn't.  Guy bought.

Listened to him argue with a surgeon about why he should buy WHILE HE
WAS IN SURGERY.  The doctor actually took that call while he was
in the middle of surgery (we all listened in over speaker phone). 
The doctor didn't buy until the next day.  That guy could
literally sell to anyone and to look at him, you'd have thought he was
right off the farm except for the expensive suit.  Chewing Redman
all day and spitting in his trash can was the norm. 

The guy who sat across from me got a small town doctor to buy. 
Over a 3 month period he invested over $500k - I was there for when the
client realized it was down to about $150k.  With his $50k the
broker bought a BMW and blew the rest on drugs and strippers.  I
still see him all the time - he works for AG Edwards.

One of the guys a few rows back came to my desk one day and tossed down
a note.  He asked me if I knew the name and it was my
brother.  He told me to give him a call and tell him how lucky he
is because my brother showed interest in the guys pitch.  It was
freaky timing even though I was sure my brother would never have
actually purchased.

The routine for selling was dial for 3 straight weeks.  Each
person you asked "we are looking at a few hot ideas that I think will
be coming up in the next few weeks, can I count on you if it looks
great?"  The next week (or sooner depending on the schedule) you
call back and tell them it's getting close, the stock is REALLY looking
good, just waiting for the right time.  When they announce what
stock it is that is going to be sold, you push out like freakin crazy
for 2-3 days.  Everyone you called that showed the slightest
interest in the previous 2-3 months gets banged hard. 

The hours were long, 8am to 8pm four days per week, 8 hours on friday
and 4 on Saturday.  There were a lot of country boys with high
school diplomas making over $10k per month in 1992. 

During the lunch or dinner break, people would routinely have Wall
Street playing on the TV in the break room.  The old timers had
all the lines memorized. 

There were 6 quotrons in the office of about 40 reps.  One for the
branch manager, 3 for the section managers who took your clients and
leads when you left and 2 for all the reps.  We were told we
didn't need to be wasting our time looking up quotes all day.  In
reality, about once per hour someone would tell you what the last pitch
was selling for and nobody used the quote terminals.

Hibbard Brown was an amazing education to our industry. 

Oh yeah, Hibbard Brown was just one company spun off from First Jersey
Securities.  When they broke up that boiler operation, they just
produced about 4 other companies.

There was a company out of Denver called something like Blinder
Robinson?  They used to refer to them as "Blind 'em and rob 'em
son!"

liquidasset's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-10

 
That is very interesting....
They had the movie Wall Street going on in the breakroom....You gotta be kidding. Funny

liquidasset's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-10

Did these guys at Hibbard actually think they ran a legit business? Was it hard to get hired somewhere coming from a shop like that? I suppose they saw you as someone that obviously had ethics and got the heck out.

Beagle's picture
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Joined: 2005-03-21

I think some of the guys may have tried to kid themselves, but in
reality I think everyone knew what was happening.  One of the guys
from my Series 7 class asked one day who Robert Brennan was. 
Everyone laughed and a guy wrote it on a sheet of paper, stuck it to
the wall and announced it the dumbest question he'd ever heard in his
life.  If you don't know who he is, it's understandable 13 years
later.  He owned and ran Hibbard Brown yet was barred from the
industry.  Interesting huh?  NASD is in my office complaining
my money laundering procedures aren't strict enough on cash deposits
(when we don't accept cash deposits) yet they allowed that firm to act
like they did for years.

When I went to another firm I didn't have any problems.  I had 3
interviews and 3 offers the same day.  Since I had only been there
3 weeks and told them all about the firm, they accepted the fact I was
just a kid and wasn't the problem.  Heck, at least they didn't
have to wait for me to get licensed which is really why I went with
Hibbard Brown in the first place.  I was fresh from college
graduation, had my series 6 already but knew I wanted more and a series
7.

In reality, a lot of the brokers went on to AG Edwards and Merrill
after Hibbbard shut down for good.  Some stayed on with the crappy
business but I was shocked how many were hired by AG Edwards. 
After years of being a crook, I would have thought they would have been
a tad bit more critical.

Rjive's picture
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Joined: 2005-10-07

Thanks for sharing the stories. I'm glad that I am not working for one of those firms. Kinda crazy. Thanks again.

GOLFPRO's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-20

I knew a guy who used to work for a chop shop in Jersey called J.W.Barclay.  Did it right out of school, said if you couldn't pass your 7 the going rate was 5k and it was taken care of somehow.  Said there was 19 yr olds driving Ferrari's and Bentley's.  He actually said it was EXACTLY like the movie Boiler Room only 10x worse and a very scary environment.  He said the top guys were all greaseballs.  He quit after 3-4 weeks without making a dime but his buddy had worked there for a couple of years and actually got in some trouble with the law.

GOLFPRO's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-20
doberman's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-22

The more disturbing aspect of securities sales was the fact that the more unbelieveable the pitch, the easier it was to make the sale. Classic examples were the early internet stocks and the brokers I overheard selling that junk. It was easy for people to buy into the pie-in-the-sky projections, when stocks doubling and tripling were always making the nightly news.
To my credit, I never put any of my clients in internet stocks. (Thank God!) The business was too new and the fundamentals were sorely lacking. Despite what the Dean Witter analysts spouted, those stocks and their projections were just too unrealistic.
So, I struggled just to make a living pushing blue chips and preferreds, while my fellow brokers were promising the moon and making their numbers. But I've got a clean U-4 and most of my original clients. 
 

waterboy's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-27

Folks,
Boiler room was 100% on the money! Many people from firms you are talking about swear that it was about their company.
Now let me ask this ,Client purchases $3 stock watches  it fall to $1..tragic ,more importantly mgt knew the the stock was sh**.On the other hand how does that differ from Merrill/M.S and others pushing IPO`S trading at triple digits ,putting all their clients in while internally e-mails flying confirming that...mgt knew the stock was sh**
The more things change,the more they stay the same!
 

karina234's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-13

I worked for a BR. many years ago.
Eventually, ALL get shut down by the gov't.
But, as "waterboy" posted .. the bottom line is this:
"Now let me ask this ,Client purchases $3 stock watches  it fall to $1..tragic ,more importantly mgt knew the the stock was sh**.On the other hand how does that differ from Merrill/M.S and others pushing IPO`S trading at triple digits ,putting all their clients in while internally e-mails flying confirming that...mgt knew the stock was sh**
The more things change,the more they stay the same!"
Exactly! AND furthermore ,,,,
Look what just happened to H&R Block with their mutual funds.
Frankly, it's just the nature of the beast, IMHO.
This stuff happens all the time ... no matter WHO you work for.
JMHO.
 
 
 

karina234's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-13

Read this, then click "Not Your Typical Securities Call Center"
http://www.nasd.com/web/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ss DocName=NASDW_016181&ssSourceNodeId=1391

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

karina234 wrote:
Read this, then click "Not Your Typical Securities Call Center"
http://www.nasd.com/web/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ss DocName=NASDW_016181&ssSourceNodeId=1391

How many investors do you suppose will see that?  How many of those investors will be clients of Merrill?  How many of those clients of Merrill do you thnk will wade through it?  Of those who wade through it how many of them will think 1) Big deal so they gave away tickets to concerts and 2) I have no idea what a registered principal is, nor can I see how it matters if somebody has passed an exam or not.
Of those who do not think like that how many of them do you suppose will pull their accounts from Merrill?
Answer?  Zero
Now what about the other side of the coin.  How many of Merrill's competitors will try to steer a prospect who is either currently with Merrill or considering going to Merrill to the NASD compliance memo?
Perhaps a few.  But you know what will happen 99 out of every 100 tries to do that?  The prospect will think, "Damn if that is happening at Merrill it must really be bad where this guy is from.  I think I'll put my money in a CD and think about this some more" or "I'll just put my money with Vanguard."
When things like this hit the media it's best just to ignore them, like your clients will.

b28b's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-01

What about MPV Securities?

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

New Jersey, Florida, New York and Texas.....that's where the worst boiler room type shops, or crooked branch offices anyways, still operate....no?
 

BACFA's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-26

I was at one of those First Jersey spin-offs for two years and I think it was the best sales training I had. Of course, I'll do it ethically today. But when you're in a room of ignorant 22 year-olds, everyone making money, and nobody allowed to read the Wall Street Journal or hear any real securities news, it's tough to believe that what you're doing is wrong. However, those places intill an excellent work ethic (Mon-Fri: 830am to 5pm, dinner break, then 7pm to 830pm, and 3 hours on Saturdays). The movie Boiler Room was pretty accurate with most of it but the ending was ridiculous. The FBI didn't need any secret informants or office raids. As another poster said, they let Robert Brennan run multiple firms for 10 year without a license and they already had all the dirt on him. In fact, Brennan owned racehorses and would name them after the judges that he appeared in front of. Oh, and his golf course was called "Due Process."

tjc45's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-06

Brennan, using his First Jersey bounty bought Garden State Park. Garden State Park was a first class race track running "A" circuit horses. The grandstand burned down in 1977. After years of failed attempts to find developers to rebuild the track Brennan came in and bought it. To his credit he did a first class job and built a grandstand, clubhouse and auction pavillion that were, at the time, the best in the country. Unfortunately, being Bob  Brennan, he spent too much money building the place to offer decent purses. The quality of racing declined from top tier to bottem shelf. And with it went attendance. Brennan sold the track to another company that thought running broken down claimers was a solid business strategy. Meanwhile horse racing's most modern facility slipped further and further into disrepair. The track finally closed three years ago and there was a free for all as locally politically connected developers split up the land. Today we have a Home Depot, Wegmans, Barnes and Noble and some of the ugliest town houses ever built. The property is only 1/4 developed.
On another note, A wall street whiz kid bought Brennan's mansion in Breille NJ just to tear it down. Brennan had swindled the Kid's parents. Cost yourself seven figures to make a point, Now that's being seriously pissed.

no idea's picture
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Joined: 2005-11-15

tjc, I always enjoy reading you & san fran brokers insight into the biz and some of the history of it.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

Is all this stuff really gone though? I mean are there still pockets where little shops like this operate?

c153's picture
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Joined: 2005-11-28

read this to get a clear idea od operations of typical boiler rooms in the old days
 
http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/Enforcement/Proceedings/SOA/soa_200 00328_acmacpherson_genodellarocca.jsp

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