Brokers Allegedly Guzzle Red Bull And Stand For 14 Hours At This Firm That's Under Investigation


Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis’s brokerage firm John Thomas Financial has drawn regulatory scrutiny and could face disciplinary action from FINRA, Bloomberg News’ Zeke Faux reports.

FINRA records show that Belesis received a Wells Notice from the self-regulatory organisation in January.

FINRA claims that Belesis’ JTF “wilfully or recklessly sold a substantial portion of a firm proprietary position while failing to execute customer orders to sell shares of the same stock, at prices that would have satisfied the unexecuted customer orders” and “used manipulative, deceptive and/or fraudulent means to artificially inflate the price of the stock,” among other allegations.  

If you’re not familiar with Belesis, you might recognise him as the managing director to Shia LeBouf’s character in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” He’s also the guy who organised a rally to “put the pride back in Wall Street” a couple of years ago. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani also named him the “Bronx GOP Man of the Year” in 2009.

Anyway, here’s what Bloomberg News’ sources said it’s like to work at Belesis’ John Thomas: 

John Thomas’s 40,000-square-foot offices on the 23rd floor of 14 Wall St., the pyramid-topped former headquarters of Bankers Trust, are decorated with a statue of a bull, big-screen televisions and a vending machine stocked solely with Red Bull. Some brokers rub the statue for luck as they walk in at 7:30 a.m., then practice their sales pitches with one another while speakers blast music from the “Rocky” movies.

Everyone wears suits. Brokers who show up with stubble are sent to the bathroom, where a bow-tied attendant dispenses razors, cologne and candy.

Belesis, bald and muscular, sometimes seeks to inspire his predominantly male staff with speeches about how they’re entering a “war zone” before the calling starts in earnest. He walks the floor, patting people on the back and calling them “buddy.” Some days, executives from small publicly traded firms pitch their stocks to the brokers.

Working from printed lists or index cards, junior brokers dial again and again as they hunt for potential customers. The senior brokers shout and talk about weight lifting, cars and watches. The junior brokers, who are told to make about 500 calls a day, don’t have computers and are required to stand. Their bosses tell them that standing makes them sound more animated, and their pitches more compelling to customers.

JTF insists that it does not have a boiler-room atmosphere.

Read more of this dramatic account at Bloomberg >

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