Column: The Unofficial Order Handling Rules

Famous English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer and author, Sir Frances Bacon, once stated that, "Knowledge is power"… Whatever.  On Wall Street power is measured by one thing and one thing only… the average size of your order. Here’s my unofficial order handling rules.

5K and less: Bottom of the of the order barrel. Why burden us with these BS orders. The only instruction that should come with these types of tickets is "just get it done." These orders are the reason you have algorithms. They are like bugs on your windshield–you just want them off your screen and out of your way so you can see. And there’s no need to call when they’re done… they’ll see the fills. Do not spend a dime on these sand fleas; these types should be covered off the retail desk anyway.

10K: Still not worth hanging up the personal call, but at least these things add up. Again, no need to call with fills. Don’t waste any of your entertainment dollars on these guys either… save their names for expense report fluffery after you spend too much on your real clients. Maybe you can send them lunch once a year, but that’s it.

25K: Definitely more respectable but nothing to write home about. They should just stop being annoying and give the whole number already. Probably not a bad idea to check to see where the stock’s trading, but only if you can do so and still remain horizontal in your chair: Dinner once a quarter and occasional cocktails.

50K: Time to shut down YouTube and start paying attention. Definitely safe to start shopping six figures. Make sure you get to know the whole desk, cause if this guy’s sending you 50k at a clip, they’ve got some wood to chop.

100K: You’re in business. If it’s before noon and the order isn’t immediately followed by the official "I have no conviction, so stretch it over the day" tag-line, then you’ve got yourself a live one. If the market goes the right way and you don’t mess this one up, you’re looking at least a half-million-share ticket. Cocktails should be a monthly occurrence. If you’re not in front of them, some other parasite will be.

250K: Jackpot! Nothing else matters. Let the previous lights ring and focus, focus, focus. You’re staring in the face of at least a million shares–probably multiple seven. This client just earned himself a $4,000 night out at the VIP club. And even if he doesn’t go with you, who cares. You’ve got a free pass to go yourself (Just throw his name down on the expense report and be sure to say hello to Maritza for me).

500K: Anyone who has the power to send you 500k shares at a clip or consistently says thing like "find out what your guy really wants to do, I’ll buy whatever you have."   Or the classic, "I won’t embarrass you," should never have to take public transportation again. Your goal is to be invited to this man’s wedding. This guy should have your car service phone and account number programmed into his cell (and make sure his car is always stocked with all the right perks).

1 Million: My corporate card is your corporate card.  You tell me you’re the guy that’s capable of writing million-share tickets every day, and I’ll show you someone who’s willing to …. Get to know this guy and see if he’ll agree to be godfather to your next child.

Position Movers: Top of the food chain.  This guy usually starts out with "get to work on a million and make a few select calls."  Fire up the jet! There are a handful of buyside traders out there who prefer to move multiple seven figure blocks. I don’t care if you have to run over your own mother… DO NOT let this guy walk away with a bad taste in his mouth. Ever. Keep this guy happy.

Making sense of it all,


Dopey was the founder of the Web site, For two-and-a-half years, Dopey offered his wit and wisdom about the "untold stories" of Wall Street to a faithful following on trading desks and curious onlookers across the country. It should be noted that the firms, people and practices depicted in this column are fictitious. Any similarities to actual firms, people and practices are purely coincidental.

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