I got another boiler room broker call today, so I guess the recent downturn has not flushed out all the cockroaches. A while back I discussed the frequent calls I get from boiler room stock promoters. The approach they use with me is this:
So the other day, I accidentally let one of them go further than I usually allow. He said he was from Olympia Asset Management. (There is an Olympia Asset Management web page, but I don't know if it is the same company and the web page has not been updated for several years.) I let him run for a bit because a friend of mine runs a very well-respected financial planning firm with a different name but also with Olympia in the title, and for a moment I thought it might have been one of his folks.
Anyway, he proceeds to try to convince me that we have talked before and discussed a certain security. "Remember me, we talked six months ago about ____". Of course, I had never heard of the guy. At this point I usually hang up, because I have heard this crap before -- it is a common pitch.
Its pretty clear to me now that this is what he is doing:
- Trying to imply that we have some kind of relationship we actually don't have. Or worse...
- Trying to convince me that he touted stock A six months ago, so now he can tell me stock A has gone up in price. Many reputable brokers built their reputation by cold calling people and saying: Watch these 3 stocks and see how they do and I will call you back in 6 months. That way, you can evaluate their stock picking without risk. The modern sleazy approach is to pick a stock that has gone up a lot in the last 6 months, and then call some harried business person and pretend you called them with that pick 6 months ago, hoping that they will give you the benefit of the doubt.
The call just went downhill from there. I hung up after his discussion of throwing Molotov cocktails into the cars of people he doesn't like. That was right after I asked him if Tony Soprano was standing beside him listening in on the call.
Anyway, beware. The guy today called me and asked me if I remembered him calling 6 months ago predicting the downturn in the mortgage market and the crash of the financial stocks. You are not crazy - no matter how certain the guy seems, you really did not talk to him 6 months ago.
By the way, I am not the only one getting this pitch. Ed Moed got the same pitch from the same script from the same company. Many of his commenters share similar experiences.
Update: Wow, they sure do like Mitt Romney over at Olympia Asset Management. I'm sure there was no arm-twisting here, when every single employee of the company seems to have given the max donation to the same candidate, with no breaking of ranks.
Update #2: Mike Murphy, CEO of Olympia Asset Management, was "a member of the [Hoffstra's] elite football team." Wow. Remember that time Hoffstra ripped through all those SEC teams? Yeah, neither do I. Anyway, this achievement does not hold a candle to the fact that I was once captain of Princeton Tower Club's elite intramural coed field hockey team.