Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How the game is played, part 3: Should you follow your brokers advice?

This is the third in a series of unfortunate events.

I had a friend who used to have a broker he called the Great White Shark. This broker was so unreliable that he was actually reliable, provided you always did the opposite of what he suggested. Whenever he advised you to sell a stock, it soon went up; whenever he advised you to buy a stock, it soon went down.

What was going on? Basically, the broker was working for his firm's interests as opposed to his clients'. When the firm needed to push some crap financing out the door, they advised their clients to pick up the shares, and if the firm knew something good was coming down the pipe, they took the shares off their clients' hands.

Last year, I received a communication from a broker about a small account which had not been active for some time. In it I held a few shares of a company called Volta Resources Inc. (VTR-T) which had been in the account for some years. The value of the shares at the time of the notice was not very much, as the shares were trading in the $0.15 range. [disclosure-- long position, but not as long as it could have been].

The communication stated that as I had not been active in this account for sometime, and as its total value was rather low, they gave me a choice of either selling the shares and closing the account or keeping the shares and the account open, but paying a monthly fee (I think it was about $20).

Neither choice seemed appealing, as the broker's commission was normally in the $60 range. But they said they would waive the commission in this one particular case if it would help me decide to sell my shares. What swell guys!

So I sold them at $0.19. About a week later the shares popped up and have continued popping up ever since (see below).

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