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Who Said Only The Good Stock Brokers Die Young?

At 99 years, Ms. Irene Bergman, a good stockbroker, shares some advice for those who would like to enjoy a long career on Wall Street. A direct quote from Ms. Bergman herself: “Don’t do anything stupid.” Ms. Bergman happens to be one of the oldest working professionals in an industry run by men half her age.

Ms. Bergman offers a rare perspective of the changes in the securities industry. She recalls the small private firms founded by German Jews in the early twentieth century. Her father was a private banker in those days. In 1942, Ms. Bergman began working as a secretary at a bank, and then fifteen years later, Ms. Bergman joined Hallgarten and Co., a member of New York stock exchange.

Ms. Bergman states that “women on Wall Street were not very popular,” in 1950’s and 60’s. In fact, stockbrokers back then were generally referred to as “customers men.” In 1973, she joined Stralem & Co. (Stralem), where Ms. Bergman said that she finally felt like she belonged. It was the first place where she was treated as an equal. Ms. Bergman has been associated with Stralem ever since. Now Stralem oversees almost $2 billion in assets, and she holds a seat on the important investment committee.

Ms. Bergman states that “in this business, you have to get the confidence of your clients.” Most customers appreciate the fact that Ms. Bergman has her own wealth. Ms. Bergman says that “they had the feeling that I didn’t need to churn their accounts because I had money myself.”

As a result of Ms. Bergman’s success, she was able to earn enough money with a long term strategy for her clients. She has made many clients feel comfortable and confident working with Ms. Bergman. Even with the horrible life style Ms. Bergman had to deal with in her early years, she was able to stay focused and on track and accomplish what she needed to get done. Now Ms. Bergman is going into her triple digits and she has had a very successful career after 58 years in the business.

Unfortunately for investors, not all of Wall Street stockbrokers have the same high standards and values when dealing with their clients. Stockbrokers and other financial industry professionals have been known to engage in different types of misconduct which violate industry and firm rules, practices, and procedures. In order to protect customers from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require broker dealers to establish and implement a supervisory system. The implementation of these rules require supervisors to monitor employees to ensure they comply with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, and the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures. If broker dealers and/or their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages which flow from the misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses because of their stockbroker’s misconduct can file a claim to recover damages against the brokerage firm, which should consistently oversee its employees in order to prevent stockbroker misconduct.

The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed! This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 35 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities, and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, send Mr. Pearce an email at pearce@rwpearce.com, and/or visit our website at www.secatty.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.