Behavior Issues

submitted by Clay Tompkins,


Tony McFarland had a drinking problem, but he called it his “drinking solution”. “Every computer has a fan in the back to dissipate heat, so how’s that different from my bending an elbow at the end of a day?”, he laughed when his friends poked fun at him. He’d legged himself up to the top broker position at Morgan, so who was to question his kind of release at the end of the working day.

Morgan had built a reputation on the Floor and throughout the Street as having the finest IPO (Initial Public Offering) team. During the 90’s, as hundreds of new companies became listed on the NYSE, this was a critical sales point for the bank. Executives at the listed company, shareholders and traders all knew that any Morgan IPO would be priced correctly and the aftermarket trading handled by Tony’s crew with the utmost finesse. Among those in the know, they enjoyed a well deserved fame.

Tony had grown up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but as his family grew he moved to Greenwich to give his children a suburban lifestyle. In the early months of his move to Greenwich, Tony tried commuting but found it impossibly dreary. So he bought a new Mercedes and drove the 45 minutes to Wall Street wrapped in Teutonic perfection as his hangover receded and he collected his thoughts about the shape of the coming trading day.

Since Tony left Greenwich every morning at 5:30, he rarely had to park the car in a garage. He liked it that way, because his innate thrift born in his early hardscrabble years in Brooklyn made forking over $20 a day to a garage an impossibility. But come 8:30 at night, after stumbling out of Harry’s or Bobby Van’s or Delmonico’s, finding his car became a real problem. Those were nights for Arista Car, and too many nights he found himself being shaken awake in his driveway in Greenwich by the town car driver. At one point three of his cars sat in lower Manhattan, waiting for him to discover them. One of the wags on his team nicknamed him “Tres”.

Consolidated Hardware was the most coveted IPO of the decade. Every bank had vied for it and Morgan had been selected to run the book. The day before CH’s debut Tony faced the fact that managing this giant offering would be the most challenging day of his career. 40 million shares have been priced and he feels sure that over 100 million will trade, more than twice the best volume day of any stock ever. He’s elated but anxious, and after convening his team to plan for the next day’s opening, he leaves the Floor and ambles over to Harry’s to brood.

He’s gently prodded by a soft hand and as his eyes come into focus he sees a stewardess standing in the aisle. “Welcome to Aruba, sir.”