I spoke at a conference recently at a major bulge bracket firm. A friend introduced me to a bond manager who runs an enormous amount of money.

He is not the typical manager. He said one of the most amusing things I’ve ever heard:

“Isn’t it funny when you walk into a investment firm, and you see all of the financial advisors watching CNBC — that gives me the same feeling of confidence I would have if I walked into the Mayo-clinic or Sloan Kettering and all the medical doctors were watching General Hospital…”

-Senior portfolio manager, UBS

Classic! I love learning that I am not the only one with an irreverent view of my industry . . .

Thanks, Mark!

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

38 Responses to “On Financial Advisors Watching TV”

  1. Mannwich says:

    Priceless. And so true!

  2. Invictus says:

    Thanks, BR. Love you, too.

  3. call me ahab says:

    maybe the are looking for those contrarian indicators that spew forth- or maybe it’s just for a laugh-

    for example- I was watching a movie “The Happening” several weeks ago- horror/suspense genre I guess- but it was very funny- unintentionally so- especially when they were trying to out run the wind- which had me in stitches-

    CNBC has that same quality

  4. ashpelham2 says:

    Working in the financial advisory industry, I am well aware what people are doing in their offices. Basically, those that have been around a while are waiting for the phone to ring and money to fall in their laps, like it has in the past. Those that are just starting out are burning the phones up, trying to find 2.00 to invest.

    Apparently, rich people are just falling off trees like f’ing crabapples!

  5. flipspiceland says:

    Why limit it? Anyone who watches those programs deserves to get it in the neck.

    Time after time I hear them saying “without naming names….” WTFIT??

    Don’t name hames?? And this is considered kosher when names are the only things that truly matter in getting to the bottom of …….oh, wait a minute…….

  6. call me ahab says:


    no doubt- I saw that earlier- exactly what we don’t need

    the corporation’s rights aren’t being violated- it’s more that we’re being violated by the corporations

  7. microcap says:

    If you are an Obama fan, here’s a simple one point plan to regain his approval ratings:

    Send the National Guard into CNBC. Nationalize the station, publicly torture Cramer, take CNBC off the air.

    Guaranteed 20 points jump.

  8. call me ahab says:

    this makes me chuckle-

    “China declares crisis past, inflation a concern” – yahoo finance

    hopefully they aren’t relying to much on the “old” dynamic of the American consumer-

    if they are- they may be in for a bit of a shock when they find their factories aren’t churning out what they use to in exports

  9. Mannwich says:

    @ahab: Property values up 68% in Shanghai over the last year. But there’s no bubble going on over there. Nooo sirrieee bobby. LOL.

  10. call me ahab says:


    not at TA today? either bergie’s or CV’s?

    also- re China- I think they really went the stimulus route which has artificially pumped the economy- however- remains to be seen if the American consumer will recover any time soon- could be years/decades- also a bit of a backlash against China going on- did you see Denninger’s piece?

  11. microcap:
    CNBC’s target audience isn’t big enough. It’s probably good for a five point bump, though.

  12. Mannwich says:

    @ahab: I’m bouncing around a bit today.

  13. microcap says:

    Calvin: maybe a public flogging of Kudlow and Kneale would be good for another 5.

    And tarring and feathering Ben Stein could really get him all the way back! He’d at least get all the votes of regular BP readers then! LOL

  14. noilifcram says:

    Down here we do watch it but nobody takes their opinions / analysis seriously, I mean come on!

  15. Bokolis says:

    Harsh! I would have been nice about it and said Grey’s Anatomy or something.

    We keep it on for ambient energy and for laughs. They won’t let me watch SpongeBob, so I keep the headphones handy.

  16. Maverick1 says:

    I bet Jim Cramer watches CNBC to prepare for his show.

  17. JROR says:

    Yeah, it is on here periodically as well. It’s like investment porn and nobody takes it seriously; we all prefer Bloomberg but CNBC is quicker if you are doing anything event driven in stock land. But Cramer, how embarrassing. It’s not like many other professions have to suffer such a public clown.

  18. “To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

  19. dead hobo says:

    Yup. They love the sell side and watch it to get pointers on how to keep the commissions coming in. It’s all about getting the talking points of the day straight. Where else to go?

    Every now and then you see someone who questions the intelligence of anyone who puts money into a gamed market. Upon which each is dutifully thanked for their contribution and then the viewer is teased to wait until after the commercial to see the next group who promise to show you where the big opportunities are, followed by more sales folk. It’s the infomercial network, with adequate deniability.

    I suspect the HFT programs might need a bit of tweaking now. One intangible aspect was to use a ‘go boldly’ strategy because Uncle Stupid was underwriting the market. The programmers will now be looking to see if Barney Frank (please fire him) wins in delaying the free ride or if Uncle Stupid actually bumbles into a little control. Also, I wonder if there is any subtext behind Uncle Stupid’s new plan or if what we heard was the maximum intent, soon to be followed by normal incompetency?

  20. Ny Stock Guy says:

    That is great. I must use it for my FB page.

  21. d4winds says:

    The producers of General Hospital should take offense at this manifest slap in the face.

  22. jessefelder says:

    Sad but true. Laughed out loud. Thanks, Barry.

  23. I think they may be off the air!

  24. davossherman@gmail.com says:


  25. Robert M says:

    This did make me ROTFLMAO.
    I do remember how deadly these channels were back in the day. I am sure you remember Dan Dorfman. He used to come on CNBC around noon and say things like I am being told Salomon is buying X, C, GM or whatever. Option Traders and Equity Specialists, especially equity traders on regionals that had auto fill programs based on best bid/offers, would get their backsides ripped because a manula order for 100 shares wouldn’t get taken down. The exchanges often had rules committees that would not rule the order was filled incorrectly in order to hold unto order flow. The exchanges soon bought cable and had the screens put in over the posts. They replaced the screens w/ the Dow, Knight Ridder and/or Reuters crawl which at least gave everyone the same chance at info as there were no automatic computer hardware driven order machines.

  26. Jack says:


    Remember, Puzo’s “Godfather” book actually made some of those guys believers.

    Life imitates art?

    Buy low, sell high.

  27. Doc at the Radar Station says:

    “Isn’t it funny when you walk into a investment firm, and you see all of the financial advisors watching CNBC — that gives me the same feeling of confidence I would have if I walked into the Mayo-clinic or Sloan Kettering and all the medical doctors were watching General Hospital…”

    Excellent! Love this post. I think that rolling dice or using a Ouija board would be about as effective at investment advice compared to these people…. haha

  28. dr.j says:

    CNBC IS a source of both contrarian commentary and news that individuals BELIEVE.

    Knowing what the masses accept as fact is helpful when talking to them. Of course, anyone who keeps it on all day is either too lazy to turn it off, in need of ritulin because they clearly are overstimulated and need help focusing, are teenagers, self delusional or just stupid.

    Do not underestimate how powerful CNBC is with main street. The commentators encouraged buying tech in ’99/00, panic post 9/11, selling before the war in March ’03, buying real estate after that with countless shows about how prices are going up, up, up. Touting bond funds in the last 6 months based on trailing 12 month returns. And finally, how many of you have heard someone say how great K/Cramer is. Jesus. They actually pay attention to CNBC and it is helpful to know what they are being told. And so the lambs are led…

  29. ToNYC says:

    Not for nothing, but I absolutely love hearing CNBC is the popular channel. I suspected as much having spent way too long, almost decades on the Street in one firm but am glad to hear it is widespread. I use it as a foil, a spitoon, a silly farce, a tale told by idiots, signifying nothing. Nice to hear the the phone-in beaucoup moolah accolades to Cramer…enjoy what you see, that they got! With gratitude, BR.

  30. wunsacon says:

    I can’t imagine paying attention to CNBC so long as Bloomberg videos are available.

    Then again, I don’t work in the biz. So, what do I know…

  31. foxmuldar says:

    Just because they have CNBC on the tube, doesn’t mean anybody is watching. I bet most are twittering or checking out their facebook page. The guys maybe be watching to catch a little clevage on some of the info babes. Remember the days when looks didn’t matter that much. Now you best have a nice set of jugs if you want to get a decent spot in front of the cameras. How much of a brain does it take to stand in front of a group of screens that show the movement of different stocks. Just look sexy and point to the wall. Say GS is up again and don’t forget to mention those green shoots.

  32. Great observation, reminds me something of Lemmings!

  33. Greg0658 says:

    rock’n’roll took a siesta .. we 60′s generationers gotta have background of our lives on .. might as well be the soaps of the real real world .. how much it sinks in depends on IQ in my opinion .. & why tv works


  34. plantseeds says:

    Great analogy, so true! Although I agree that most probably don’t heed investment advise spewed from CNBC and view it only for the line of the day/talking points to impress clients or they block it out all together (based on my own experiences) although you never know. CNBC has been on in most offices since it started.

    IA shows up for his first day just after the bell….

    IA: This is a brokerage office, I can see CNBC playing right there.
    Office Manager Mr. Hand: Really?
    IA: May I come in?
    Office Manager Mr. Hand: Oh pleeeaase. I get so lonely when that bell rings and I have no Investment Advisors to talk to.
    IA: Sorry I’m late, the market schedule is so confusing…..hey…(IA points to another brain dead fool) I know that dude.
    Office Manager Mr. Hand: Investment advisor Spicoli……
    IA: That’s the name they gave me.

    I would suggest that some IA’s in the industry try paying attention to CNBC, every once in a while they might get lucky which may actually be an improvement over the proprietary research that is Mr. Handed out to some of the brainless tards.

  35. Doug D says:

    What do you call Investors that listen to CNBC talking heads? BROKE!!!!!!!!!

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