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The Advisor #3: I, Wholesaler Can Get It!

Jun 3, 2011

MONDAY

San Francisco  6:32 AM

Frieda Brass was exposing her pale blue lace trimmed panties as she bent over to pull up her stockings in Ignatius Rowe’s kitchen and employee lounge. She didn’t possess a drop of  modesty.   Frieda had just delivered a treasure trove of sugary goodies for her brokers.

Frieda was a former Miss California who had realized early on that looks fade.  So, she needed to reallocate her reliance on other asset classes as she got older.  Like many other mutual fund wholesalers, she had started out as a retail broker who discovered that it was easier selling to the middle man than to retail clients.  Frieda powered through Ignatius Rowe’s immense hallways desperately hoping to avoid being caught by Ignatius Rowe’s regional manager, Charles Delancey.  There was plenty of industry and office gossip to exchange and Frieda knew it all.  Many brokers detested both her abrasive style and even some of her funds, but they sold them anyway—because if they didn’t—they knew that Frieda would ice them out from the really important insider information—prospective clients and jobs at other firms.

She was popping her head in from office to office until she emerged from Wellington Monroe’s office.  “No, Wellington.  I will not give you one more dime for marketing support.  You don’t even do my funds.”

“You need me, Frieda.” Wellington Monroe shouted at her from inside his exquisitely appointed office.  Monroe, a former male model, gazed into an immense  mirror which hung on the wall facing his desk.  It served two important functions.  First, so that he could look at his face hourly to make sure he  still had looks worthy of being photographed for every charity event in town.  And second, to monitor his facial expressions whenever he picked up the phone.

Frieda nearly collided with Jared as she shot out of Monroe’s office.  “Oh gosh, Jared.  I didn’t even see you.”  She pointed a crooked finger at Monroe while she positioned her other hand on her right hip.  “Here, Wellington.  Take a good hard look at a broker who actually writes tickets for my funds.”

Wellington unceremoniously unzipped his pants and mooned them both.  “Take a good hard look at this, Frieda.”

Frieda took in more of Wellington’s chiseled body than he had intended to show her.  “Impressive equipment, boychick.  Too bad it doesn’t plug into my type of outlet.  Now, Wellington—not a dime more until I see some business.  You hear me?  Not a red cent.”

Frieda waved at Molly Granger, head of compliance, as Molly retreated back into her office to answer thirty new e-mails.  “Molly darling, great news!  I think I found you your prince charming.  And he’s MOT to boot.  Your mother will be kvelling.”

Leo Hayes overheard the comment.  “Yo, Frieda.  What’s MOT mean?”

Frieda rarely associated with newer brokers until they stuffed her coffers with sizable trade tickets, but she decided to oblige Leo this once.  “MOT means Member of the Tribe.  It means he’s Jewish.  I landed a nice Jewish doctor for Molly.”  Frieda counted on Molly whenever she hit rough patches with the firm.  Right now it was about as rough as it could get.  There was no doctor, but she had to think fast.

Leo shook his head and walked back towards the Broker-In-Training  Camp Ground.

Jared flashed Frieda a smile and extended his hand to shake hers.  “How are you today, Frieda?”

“So what can I do for you, Jared?”  There was never a hello or a cordial greeting.  Frieda meant business.  Her grip on his hand was stronger than that of most men he knew.  She retracted a blood red lipstick out of her black lizard skin Louis Vuitton handbag and applied it liberally to her collagen-inflated lips.

“Can you get me a decent cold calling list, Frieda?”  He tried hard not to sound desperate, but at this point he really was.  He looked at Frieda’s leathery face.  Time had not been kind to her.  She looked ten years older than she had when he first met her two years ago.

“How many of my funds have you placed year to date?”  She already knew the answer to the question before it left her immense jaws.  She even knew how much he and everyone else in the branch had placed with her competitors.  Frieda was plugged in.

“About six hundred thousand.”  Jared couldn’t believe he was actually at work after barely surviving his harrowing bus ride.  He and Leo had worked together with the bus’s driver at the very last moment to narrowly avoid a complete disaster.

“Make it a million and then we’re talking a kickass list.”  She glanced down at her shiny fingernails.

Jared stood his ground.  “Come on, Frieda.  I need a good list.”

“And I need a husband who can give me multiple orgasms.  Life’s real cruel that way, Jared.”  She looked straight into his eyes as if she could see right into his soul.

He scrambled for ideas.  “What if I talked to some other brokers about your funds?”

“I’m listening.” Frieda mulled over the proposal.  “Just be careful who you’re talking with ‘cause word on the vine is that quite a few of them will be leaving shortly—either of their choosing or at Delancey’s”

Frieda’s unique position traveling among the different brokerage firms allowed her to cross-pollinate information and, if the favor was large enough, to snag brokers for rival firms.  It ensured her tremendous access to branches in a time when fewer and fewer wholesalers were able to meet directly with financial advisors.  Unfortunately, word had gotten back to Charles that she had helped a rival firm recruit two of Ignatius Rowe’s top producers, so her time in the branch today was severely limited.

“Okay, Frieda.  I guess I’ll see if Otto O’Brian can help me out.”  It was a bluff.  Jared was known to have incredible devotion to only using the best products and not to wholesalers.  O’Brian’s mutual fund family had terrible performance numbers.  But everyone knew that Otto would do anything to land new business.

Frieda bristled at the mention of her competitor’s name. “Otto O’Brian?”   She contorted her face and protruded her front teeth like a beaver in search of a dam as she mocked her competitor’s severe overbite.  “That bottled old fart couldn’t locate a decent cold call list if one flew down and bit him on his gnarled old ass.”  She put her hand on his shoulder and ducked for cover thinking Delancey might be coming around the corner.  “You have to cold call?  There’s more than one way to skin a cat, you know.”

Jared pleaded with the tough-as-nails saleswoman.  “Frieda, I do it all.   I belong to four networking organizations.  I ask my clients for referrals every damned day.  Yeah, Frieda, I have to cold call.”

“I’ve always liked you, Jared.  You’re a straight shooter.  Let me see what I can do in the list department.”

“Do you have a minute to talk, Frieda?”  It was Charles Delancey.

Jared watched as Frieda’s usually stoic face turned to a look of pure terror.  “Of  course I do, Charles.”  Jared watched Frieda as she mouthed the words “Oh shit.”  She walked with Delancey like a schoolgirl who had been caught dead to rights setting the cafeteria on fire.

© Samuel Rush 2011.  All Rights Reserved.