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We Want To Fire You

In 2010 I was given a new boss.

He was Brazilian who did not speak a lick of Spanish, he only spoke Portuguese. Given that my entire account base were Spanish speakers, I thought it was unusual to put this man in this role as he would have no way of talking to any of my accounts without a translator. But such is the nature of Wall Street. He was out of accounts having blown up his account base so they no longer wanted to speak to him. After the crisis in 2008, he spent 2009 in the courtroom with accounts suing him, and our firm, for the damage he had done. He had made the firm a lot of money by selling toxic derivatives but in 2009, the firm was paying for his malfeasance.

But 2010 was a new year and new victims were needed. In fact, I had two new bosses not one. The second boss was living in N.Y having fled Mexico. There were rumors that he hadn’t made certain payoffs in trades and some high level people in Mexico wanted him dead. In my first interview with my Mexican boss, his first words were, “We wanted to fire you but there are too many people at the firm that like you so it was not possible.” Talk about a vote of confidence! You see in 2010, it was getting harder and harder to find revenue and since I was making money, but not sufficiently covered politically, I was an easy target.

Wall Street is about making money. “Make money but not too much” was advice given to me by a colleague of mine when I first started working on Wall Street. You see, if you make too much money on Wall Street, the sharks will come in and take it from you. If you are neither a shark nor protected by one, they will steal your business. If you make too little, they will fire you. But if you can make just enough money and not attract the sharks that’s how you make a long-term career on Wall Street.  However, if you figure out a way to make money that nobody has before you, the predators will come in and claim it for their own. In the first part of 2010, my account base was producing lots of money and people had taken notice.

From 2006 to 2010 I had scraped and pieced together an account base from all over Latin America. I had found accounts and networked to a point that I literally had new accounts calling me every day looking for my bank’s service. It wasn’t easy. From 2006-2008 I had acquired 30+ accounts only to lose them all during the crisis. So I started all over in 2009. But by 2010 I was one of the most profitable sales people on my desk. I had sweated, lost many nights sleep putting my business together. But, by 2010 I was making some serious money for the firm and people were desperate for revenues.

In the end, I left the firm just as the writing was appearing on the wall, so to speak. The thieves had their knifes out and I had to protect myself as best as I could. I left the firm with my stock and I moved to another firm. Two years later, the two bosses that had ousted me were no longer at the firm. Their lack of character was apparent and the firm had no choice but to let them go.

By 2010, the “follow the money” mantra no longer worked. Pension funds and mutual funds had  been burned badly by the Wall Street banks and no longer would tolerate such behavior.  In the end what accounts want in the finance industry is service and transparency. Until Wall Street gives them that the banks will continue to struggle as will the overall financial flow.

Steve

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