wallstreet stocks investing finance mba roneysmith

E*Trade Financial’s (ETFC) stock took a “my name is Kunta” beating last week after Citigroup ( C) research investment analyst Prashant Bhatia had downgraded the stock.

I am not an investment analyst or an employee of ETFC any longer (exactly on the afternoon of the 50 basis Federal Reserve cut of all days-September 18th) and have nothing on the line either way but within my own opinion, I smell a “knock down the price and let’s buy them cheap” move on the table.

Big fish devouring the little fish is what I am beginning to detect for some reason.

Now today Goldman Sachs (GS) kicks the chair out from under Citigroup while they were demonstrating how ETFC’s demise might look to financial CSI types. Poetry in motion I say:)

If this is not a “Kill Bill” stand off in progress, then show me the door:)

Charles Gasparino is one financial reporter whose insights I trust almost blindly and his book “Blood on the Street” gave me a red pill on Wall Street wholesale, but the conspiracy theorist in me is seeing the string theory connect the dots like a room sweep flashback at the end of Mission Impossible. Why is everyone so quick to assume that it could not be a possibility in the wake of the financial service industry having to supposedly separate research analysts from investment banking activities?

Of course it would be premature to fully accuse C or Bhatia of intentionally doing this, but game recognizes game and real recognizes real and C is not looking too admirable right now especially with former C CEO Prince falling on his own sword honorably (wink, wink).

I am not going on a hunting or fishing trip with anybody in this climate:) Any such requests are being turned down just as the numerous job offers from Nigeria, staff of disposed dictators, and to process orders for art dealers in the UK. Strings are being pulled somewhere for somebody.

The downturn appears to be a scenario where “I hope you die before I do to distract the attention from my own misfortune”. Cramer may have this one right after all.

The best thing that everyone can do is to take a grain of salt with any analyst’s upgrades or downgrades until February at a minimum.

No one has to the fortitude to downgrade GS or challenge them honorably at the present time. Does GS have a bone to pick or are they looking for a discount? It does not matter since they have been doing so many things so right for so long, it would be welcomed if they were:)

I studied the financial supermarket concept in graduate school for my MBA in finance and it was a lofty idea back then in the mid 90s. But the execution of the idea has fallen short consistently.

Every company that I have worked for within the financial services industry has not gotten it right either. American Express (AXP) divested of its financial advisory division which is now named Ameriprise ( AMP). The only place where the consolidation of functions appear to be working is actually after an industry divestiture has taken place–the telecommunications industry.

After the US Department of Justice broke up Ma Bell (T) in 1984, time has revealed that the dry bones have been reconnected and a child (formerly known as SBC Communications) has grown up to consume the parent (bigger fish) through acquisitions.

Corporate philosophy and leadership are at an all time low right now. Too many companies are demonstrating that they do not know how to make money in hard times and the economy is paying the price through the wallets of the middle class. A hedge fund full of quants cannot save every company at the same time and although forex is a gravy train right now (even investing guru Warren Buffett has the Kool-Aid on his lips and tongue), corporate America is already busy forming a new bubble within foreign currency exchange from their long-term investments there.

Only after a system has been declared a failure has there traditionally been a restructuring and opportunity for new minds to be recognized and come to the table for implementation.

The AT&T that I worked in the early 90s undeniably failed just as those with a financial supermarket offering are doing so now.

I am not saying that the idea will never work, but clearly it will not work with the current personnel at the helm of these companies. The solution will only come from external sources or those not at the table when the current strategies were considered the right thing to do.

One significant problem that I saw at preAMP is that the card carrying customers being called on repeatedly for a formal introduction to the financial advisory side of AXP at the request of managers and supervisors simply had a psycho-graphic composition totally different from what the marketing department thought they did. They were interested within the exclusivity and benefits of membership of the AMEX cards but not within investing.

Linking mentally (somehow as a great idea to an unnamed corporate John or Jane Doe) these customers’ credit scores with their investing inclinations had the same effectiveness and was at the same level of doing a hardcore substance-abuse intervention for toddlers:) I kid you not!!! No one even looked at the advisor attrition levels to identify this as an input to my knowledge.

No one at pre-AMP had a clue of a suitable customer profile on any level (I asked repeatedly before taking things into my own hands) and as far as I can tell, the same is still happening there and is more prevalent than these all-in-one-stop companies would dare to imagine.

Anyone within any company that is being told to cross-sell and up-sell existing clientèle should begin to recognize the fallacy of this marketing myth.

You may ask what I am going to do as a result and I am glad that you have done so:) First, I am going to continue the implementation of a long-term proprietary strategy launched in the aftermath of my latest employment transition (nice way of saying that you will have to see my fruit since my seeds are more secure than VP Cheney’s assets–LOL🙂 Secondly: since history has a fondness for repeating itself, I am going to keep my eyes open for the next SBC-type company that springs up within the financial services industry. I missed it last time due to working for the Death Star (as T was called back then in some corners).

Being outside the system is the only hope since the Kool-Aid has to be loyally consumed with every direct deposit.

Even since being terminated from my last employer, I still cannot get my jaw out of the divot from the mindset running rampant at the wholesale and retail levels within the supermarket segment of any industry pre-paradigm shift.

But I do know one thing that will absolutely never fail in my analysis of it all: the management severance packages and golden parachutes are being kept safely and securely by personnel dressed as the old Intel shiny suit commercials appeared. Maybe Diddy and Ma$e will auction their form of the shiny clean-suits:)

By choice and by force, no executive is fighting to stay in control in lieu of taking the big payday and running with it:) Their mamas did not raise any fools on that level!

May God help us all that are not as fortunate in our placement on the pyramid organizational charts.

Maybe the three-card Monty of network marketing may not look so bad after all when compared to this. LOL🙂 Surely I jest for the record.


My vote currently is neutral and I would not recommend any viewing or dissuade someone from watching the channel.

The undeniable NY theme is almost too restrictive and suffocating and I watched multiple programs on the network over a couple of hours.

I rather see regional correspondents, web cam tie-ins, or some other people in the field and throughout the nation to avoid the incestuous, homogeneous, and non-diversified reporting, pundit commentary, and analysis.

Were the words incestuous, homogeneous, and non-diversified redundant enough for you? Now you know how I felt watching the cookie cutter panelists and opinion dealers:(

Having worked in the financial services industry and traveled to Wall Street, Times Square, and other tourist and financial district sites in the Manhattan-Jersey City area (JC is my birthplace BTW), there has to be more business on-air talent than appears on all of the business networks and programming.

Clearly there also has to be more diversity than what I am seeing.

But after viewing enough of the commercials on FBN and CNBC, one can come away with the perspective that diversity in business reporting is not highly desirable after all.

Hmmmmm. Opportunity knocking? I may have to revisit this later and see if more energy and resources are available to tackle the issue.

FBN or Fox 5 Atlanta reading? Send me an e-mail or leave a comment.

I will give the new network several more glances to check if movement beyond the current point in the learning curve takes place.


Earlier this morning, I was "drafted" by my wife to volunteer at our oldest daughter Rachel's school.

Volunteering did not scare me since I was a former high school teacher of grades 9-12, a youth pastor and minister since 1996, a stockbroker with some the richest customers or deadbeat-foul-mood-because-my-buddy-told-me-a-bum-stock-tip-that-took-all-my-money-after-I-bought-it people that anyone will ever meet:)

Everything went as my wife indicated that it would but when I arrived in the classroom, I knew that rubber was going to meet the road in a 21st century way that I had never experienced before as a student or teacher.

The classroom was divided into smaller groups of 4 students on average.  My daughter attends a new charter school within our county by the way.

The smaller groups instantly had an advantage over other educational philosophies in that each student could receive special attention at a faster rate than having a single classroom mass of students.

But the smaller groups also have a dual-edge in that if the student wants to drift off mentally or has problems with learning, the tasks at which the group does not receive hands on instruction will find the student driving off a cliff without any chance of hitting a guard rail or safety net.

As a former teacher, I had a learning curve in that the groups were rotating faster than I thought they should but I later realized that it was for the better.

In today's culture, I now believe that the gaming world, entertainment companies, and education institutions had better get married shotgun-style if American youth will have a chance globally.  The attention span of American society today requires that the small groups change tasks faster than they would when my deceased mother taught school or when I was a teacher or student.

Only a three-way marriage is going to give the masses an opportunity to not appear in printed documents posted within post offices or facing three strikes nationwide.

It is now clear to me that even a charter school will not be able to save some who have not been adequately prepared at home intentionally or unconsciously.

I was assisting first graders with the task of locating vocabulary words within a dictionary and categorizing the words as nouns of either people, places, things or animals, or verb (not a noun).

Some words may have been both a noun and verb and a few words did not actually appear within the dictionary being used.

The first group assisted were already working when I got there.  Almost immediately, I found one young girl to be as equally a drama queen as my own girls whenever things were not flowing her way.

I almost thought it was a ploy to get more attention.  But wait, it was:)

The bell or beep to change tables and move to a new task came faster than I realized.  I kept wondering if they were going to have to leave the classroom for some reason.

Then it hit me like lightning during the second group I was assisting.

One young man came to the table without any tools as the other kids had, appeared to not have been present the previous day, and sat down in a position to watch the computer monitors of kids who were working in another group even though he could not hear the sounds they heard through headphones they were wearing.

The gentle way but slightly mocking tone another young boy spoke about him let me know that the first kid was not going to get the star for the day.

3 of the 4 students rapidly jumped in to locating words while the unfocused kid found other worlds to dwell within.

So I moved beside him and squatted down to get on everyone's level of eyesight and more doors started opening up.

Although I had heard it during the first group, I was surprised to see the children more focused on what page a word could be found versus knowing how to locate the words within the dictionary.  Working together in groups is one thing, but not knowing the process involved is weakness that subverts the teamwork.

The fight to get them to not call out the page numbers was gentle and nonviolent but highly irritating at the same time.

Since the young kid was more focused on the computer monitors I asked everyone the question, "How many of you have played video games before?"  Everyone said yes or raised their hands.

I then explained to them that looking up words within a dictionary was just like playing a video game and counting at the same time.

I confirmed that everyone knew how to count from one to ten.  I then asked them "How many letters are in the alphabet?"  The fork in the road was then reached at warp-nine light speed.

The kids who were bright and appeared in tune with everything kept calling out numbers either too high or too low.  Upon each recount, they reached a higher number surprisingly.

It was the unfocused kid who changed positions away from looking at the computer monitors and made the 180 degree turn that stunned me.

He simply and calmly counted the letters of the alphabet and gave me the correct answer on his first reply.

"26!" was his answer and the rest of the kids even within the other sections did not get it right on their first attempt.

I then explained that they had a code of 26 letters that they had to use just like numbers in order to locate the words by using the beginning letters of each word.

From this point on, those who used the system would find the words quickly and easily while those who focused on the page numbers spent more time starting over and wasting time.

But the correct answer did not sustain the kid and he went right back to looking at the monitors as he had done before.

I stayed beside him and kept asking him about the letters within the words.  He understood the logic involved but would not get to second base of actually looking for the words.

The sessions continued without any further difficulties and by the time the last group reached me, I was back in rare teaching form. 

One of the best things about today was that the comfort zone of only dealing with my own daughters was broken and meeting and working with kids other than your own will keep you more in tune with your own children and you will see some of the nuances that your own kids pick up while attending school.

The time went into fun zone and I really enjoyed it.

But the unfocused kid made me realize some things that I rather not have witnessed but now realize that I can help others like him who have grown up and attending college may not be a workable goal for them.

The kid made me realize that only through a video game or logical flowchart of a video game will American citizens regain the leadership in the quality of life.

Other countries have the lower health standards, higher crime levels and threats of violent wars, but America will slide into the same pits if the inequalities between the haves and have nots continue to multiply.

The creativity involved in creating a video game will capture and motivate youth and young adults above and beyond the criminal lifestyles that pop media is decaying into.

The criminal lifestyle appeared to be within this kid's future but we can flip his script early enough to keep him off that path.  I later thought to myself that the kid clearly has a future of being either Forrest Gump, Nino Brown, or the beautiful mind of a hedge fund quant if he can be reached.  Otherwise, somebody better get a football in his hands and show him a three-point position:)

But back to the breakthrough and turnaround.

People who have taken the paths of dirty money can and will finally see that they can lower their risks of being separated from their families and friends or the threat of being incarcerated if they begin to learn some simple, life-sustainable skills in how to earn clean money that can be taught to their circles of influence and descendants.

It still amazes me that rapper and music mogul Jay-Z and even deceased Biggie have been credited with the ability of not having to write down their lyrics before recording them.  This feat is nothing short of Shakespeare or Einstein in my opinion.

Clearly the skill has the seeds of mathematical finesse only commonly found within financial centers around the world.

Today's youth can turn the country around by learning these skills.

The primary downside or threat that I see is that without the proper guidance and selection of worthy values and moral compasses, earning generational wealth of such magnitude will more rapidly destroy them or be simply in vain.

My calling that was confirmed today is that I know how to share both requirements with them as a minister, teacher, and entrepreneur.

My 20th entrepreneurial anniversary is approaching on November 1st and with each day I am becoming more energized for this new task and the next level that it will usher in.

I realize that I have only a tip of the iceberg in skills to create such a video game.  I know that through the power of God as revealed within the internet and web 2.0 world that the remaining tools can and will be discovered.  I can start to compile the rest of the components that I have within my reach however.

It is indeed the dawning of brighter new world:)

So I am keeping hope alive when it comes to today's youth in spite of all the traps and negative opportunities that await them.  They can and will survive!


I made my first trek to Wall Street and NASDAQ this week and I wish the same for any financial services professional or MBA.

The vibe was electric and the visit made everything experienced to get to this point worth it all.

I do have a “how do you like me now?” for my former employer that provided the entry point into the financial services industry. Even your policies, procedures, and management style was worth going through in order to get here.

I thank my current employer for their confidence and trust that I would continue to do a great job after previous such trips to Tampa, FL, Charlotte, NC, and Sandy (Salt Lake City), Utah in addition to my regular duties in Alpharetta, GA.

I thank God for making this happen and for blessing me beyond what I could ask or think!

Now I must return to the valley with incredible power from on High!