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Dec 05, 2016

How to break up with your broker

Clare Harrison ponders the end of a beautiful relationship 

Dear James,

I never imagined I would be writing you this letter. There was a time when I thought you would always be my broker. I thought nothing could come between us: not the late nights (or the early mornings), not the investor meetings, the tepid cups of coffee or the conferences. Not even the bad sandwiches.

How things change. Every time I see your caller ID on my handset my heart sinks. You were once my most trusted adviser. But more recently, our shareholder register has featured more undesirables than an episode of Narcos, and I can only conclude that it’s time to go our separate ways. Of course, that’s only part of the story. The final nail in the coffin was when you became lead broker for my biggest rival – without telling me. For that to happen at all was bad enough. But how did you think it would feel for me to find out in the Financial Times? I mean, you could have told me first.

Then there were the unsuitable investors. At first I turned a blind eye. But getting our CEO in front of the buy side can be hard enough at the best of times, so when it does happen, it would be nice if you could make sure he’s in front of someone who is (i) likely to buy our stock and (ii) likely to hold it for longer than ve minutes.

I’ll admit I wasn’t always whiter than white, so I may as well come clean now, because you will only find out anyway. Of course there were others. There was the time Goldman took me to Paris, and the other time Credit Suisse whisked me away to Switzerland. Yes, I went. And yes, I enjoyed it: the meetings were fabulous! Why couldn’t you be more like one of them, instead of sending me on a wild goose chase around Frankfurt? Honestly, if you’re going to arrange meetings at opposite sides of the city, can’t you at least leave longer than five minutes to travel between them?

‘How could she?’, I suppose you’re thinking. It’s never nice to be dumped, is it? Well, I wasn’t just going to sit there while you took my competitors off to see the same investors – the same investors we’d visited just the week before! You must think I’m so stupid. Did you really think I wouldn’t find out?

I don’t imagine your analysts will want to cover us anymore but, frankly, I don’t really care. The research you published was usually rubbish and no one ever read it anyway. I’m not sure your analysts produced one accurate recommendation in five years! And while we’re at it, your market ‘insights’ were barely worth the paper they were printed on.

I’m sure you will offer me a litany of excuses but I’m not interested. The decision is final. We are over. Good luck with your other clients – and the rest of your life.

Yours sincerely,


This article appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of IR Magazine