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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Are You a Muppet?

For those of you who missed it, Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs resigned in a very public way today.

Among his musings in the NY Times Op-Ed:
The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money"... "it’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them"... and, the classic "I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets."
This was not some disgruntled associate who didn't make vice president.  This was the Executive Director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Regular readers will recall that just a few days ago I wrote about very similar experiences as an FNG in the brokerage business.  While there are some notable exceptions -- some of whom I'm proud to call friends -- many brokerage firms are populated by veterans who don't mind ripping people off and young guys who don't yet understand that their success will involve ripping people off.

I haven't heard the term "muppets" used to describe clients, but it did inspire some thoughts.  With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy...


If your broker calls you with Clippers instead of Lakers tickets... might be a muppet.

If your commissions exceed your annual profits... might be a muppet.

If you're not sure what "annual profits" means... might be a muppet.

If your mailman sighs and tells you how sorry he is when he hands you your monthly brokerage statement... might be a muppet.

If he then asks you for the postage due... might be a muppet.

If your bathroom walls are papered with stock certificates from, and Webvan... might be a muppet.

If the Welcome! package from your brokerage firm includes a tube of K-Y... might be a muppet.

If you've needed it after your dealings with your broker, I hate to break it to you, but... are definitely a muppet!

There are so many possibilities here, please feel free to chime in.


  1. If your broker gives you a paper weight for Christmas...

                                                          ...your might be a muppet.

  2. Hilarious!! I hope i am not a muppet, but that very thought might have qualified me as one LOL

  3. If your broker sends you a beautiful, leather-bound calendar for Christmas, but it's last years...

                                           might be a muppet.

    If your broker always seems to have forgotten his wallet when he meets you for lunch...

                                           might be a muppet.

    If your broker tells you his firm's compliance policy prohibits him from taking you to lunch...

                                            might be a muppet.


  4. If your broker traded in his Lamborghini this week because the old one got dirty,

                                             might be a muppet

    If you call your broker and he says "Graham who?  Do I know you?",

                                                      ... you might be a muppet

    If you still have your bank account at Citi, Goldman, BAC or at any of the other big banks when there are perfectly good smaller and honest alternatives,

                                                          you might be a muppet but you're definitely a moron


  5.  And, if the paperweight is stamped "made in Fukushima"

  6. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the time being), most small investors don't mind to be muppets (or whatever labels) as long as the stock market is rising.    As long as the "financial advisors" help them to make money, small investors are content and happy.   The news about "muppet" did not cause much concern on small investors today.

    However, if the tide turns and the stock market declines, you will see a totally different reaction from small investors.

  7. If the new assistant your broker hired away from Starbucks is now handling your account...

                                might be a muppet.

  8. More,

    When you call your broker, a voice mail answers and tells you that your account balance does not meet the minimum balance for a live financial advisor.   Rather, you hear "Press 1 for account balance", "Press 2 for order status".... might be a muppet.

  9. When your broker takes you out for a night on the town and the bouncer at the door asks him for ID,

                        you might be a muppet

    When perusing the photos in "Yachters' Paradise" and notice that the beautiful boat bitch lounging in her bikini on the foredeck is your broker's wife,

                        you might be a muppet

    If you're at your lawyer's office seeking help for the foreclosure notice that was handed to you earlier in the day, and he calls your banker and asks "What do you want me to do with this one?",

                        you're definitely a muppett

  10. If you're green and smell of bacon....euch..nah

  11. Pebble said "muppet", not "muffin".

    How you doin' stinky?  Nice to see ya at a classy joint rather than at the usual pit of vipers.  That's the reason I don't even chat with you over there any more.  Can't stand the place these days.  I just want to take a quick peek at the charts and get the hell outta there.  That's why we don't see our buddy Pebble over there either like we used to.  Nor about 30 of the other great folks who used to contribute there.

  12. Maybe we can be the two grumpy old farts in the theatre box. Maybe I'll come over to your "pub" one of these days and start a good old fashioned bar-room brawl just for fun.

  13. Have you ever seen a picture of a muppet?  Here's one just in case:

  14. LOL... so you press 2 and hear the dial tone again.

  15. If you took the bait and voted for a Wall Street puppet

    .... You might be a muppet

    If your broker's hand is always up your arse

    .... You are definitely a muppet!

  16.  Nice.  Bonus points for rhyme and subtext.

  17. These muppets make me cry...

    Hey, Goldman...  I'd be proud to be a muppet any day!