Today, Bloomberg brings us a story about a Wall Street subspecies that is slowly going extinct: the cold-calling stockbroker. As a result of do-not-call laws, widespread caller ID, and people’s growing reluctance to do stupid things that are bad for them, it’s harder than ever for a broker to call up unsuspecting marks and pitch them the latest hot mutual fund.
Bloomberg suggests that the brokerage business is terminally ill owing to a generational shift — that young people just don’t have the guts or the wherewithal to do the grueling work of dialing for dollars anymore. But clearly, all today’s young brokerage bucks are missing is a little gumption. Take, for example, the case of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who broke into the brokerage business by being a ladies’ man.
Bloomberg relays this (unconfirmed, alas) story about Icahn’s foray into cold-calling:
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s first Wall Street job was at Dreyfus & Co., according to his website. A former colleague who asked not to be identified because he still works in the industry said he knew Icahn would be successful when the colleague was trying to pick up a woman at a dance at a Catskills resort and saw Icahn sign up her father as a client.
Smooth, Carl! Now, if Mystery had only done a chapter on selling ETFs to widows, young brokers would be all set.