|Being There is an absolutely wonderful gem of a movie starring Peter Sellers as Chance the Gardener. I'd tell you more about the plot, but that would ruin the film for those of you who haven't seen it. Rent this one tomorrow. Aficionados of this 1979 cult classic often quote the famous scene between Sellers and Jack Warden (President Bobby). For those of you unfamiliar with the film, the scene is on the right.||President
Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can
stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
President "Bobby": In the garden.
Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
President "Bobby": Spring and summer.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
President "Bobby": Then fall and winter.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
Chance the Gardener: Hmm!
President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.
[Benjamin Rand applauds]
President "Bobby": I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
roots have not been severed and all will eventually be good in our
garden. It is now spring. There will be growth in the
spring! Wall Street may yet survive the frost and bloom.
I have certainly been busy the past couple of months. As many of you may have noticed, my online empire is growing into something bordering world dominance. Soon, I will be setting my sights on control of the Milky Way. RRBDLaw.com, BrokeAndBroker (the Blog), and the new BrokeAndBroker site will be beamed out to the known and unknown galaxies.
However, let me briefly deal with the more mundane concerns of my life on Earth.
The Beta version of the new BrokeAndBroker site is now up and running, and we're expanding daily. The initial response has been very encouraging and I'm glad to see so many industry participants willing to help us with the launch. I've been listening to what you want, and every day we're adding new features and services. Many of you want help on starting your own BD or RIA. We've started to list some service providers, with more to come. Some of you want to buy a BD or RIA, or want help in dealing with a so-called franchise set-up. That too is in the works. Then there is the simple request to bring a lot of industry related content under one page -- we're doing it and trying to filter out the garbage.
I have recently completed discussions with a number of industry trade groups. In recent years, many of you folks have urged me to join one or another organization. I appreciate the compliment inherent in that request and I hope that you appreciate (or at least understand) my candid replies. Not every existing trade group is a good fit for me or the member firms and registered persons in the FINRA Dissident/Reform Movement with which I maintain personal/professional relationships. Moreover, I am not the easiest person to get along with -- I hold strong opinions about the need to reform Wall Street and I am not given to compromising my core beliefs.
Some trade groups have been too radical (yes, even for a firebrand such as me). Other groups have been too compliant with the industry's regulators and have acted as counter-productive proxies. Some groups pretend to far more influence than is justified by their number of claimed members. Other groups just don't seem to be more than a logo and a handful of unhappy campers. Clearly, the FINRA indie/regional community needs to coalesce under one effective trade group--and the agenda and goals must aspire to far more than an annual outing and a meet-and-greet the regulators seminar. We need an umbrella under which we can all huddle. It's okay for us to disagree -- most families and partnerships do -- but once we vote and the majority wins, then it's time to join together and make common cause. The trick is to ensure that the trade group abides by democratic principles. As long as the doors are open to elective office and the Board, as long as no one person maintains a stranglehold on management and the agenda, then the playing field is level.
I'm not sure if I will ultimately be asked to join any of the groups with which I have recently spoken. I'm not sure if I will accept any offers that may come my way. Nonetheless, if and when I make a decision, I'll let you all know. It's time that we in FINRA's indie/regional community all join forces under one powerhouse trade group. Together we can accomplish much. In our presently divided state, we are marginalized.