The Wolf of Wall Street has been released in Australia and unlike most financial films it has garnered a great deal of attention.
Most of this is to do with its excess and the cartoonish nature of the film, also the fact it breaks a world record for the use of the F-word on celluloid!
Think Goodfellas, just set on Wall Street and without all the murders.
But is there anything to be learned as an investor? Plenty, but most of it is featured in the first hour before the film turns farcical.
We begin as the film’s subject, Jordan Belfort, has his introduction to stockbroking at a major Wall Street brokerage firm.
His ideals of making money for his clients and his employer are shot down by lunch time, as he’s told, “the name of the game, moving the money from the client’s pockets to your pocket”.
Not that this should be a surprise as an academic study called “Inside the Black Box of Sell-Side Financial Analysts” found over 50% of brokers rated retail clients as “not important at all” to their employer.
After the crash of 1987 Belfort was unemployed and took a job pushing penny dreadful shares to unsuspecting investors.
The sales techniques Belfort learnt on Wall Street made him a star as he convinced investors all over the country to buy unheard of companies based on concocted stories about their potential.
It’s here you get to see those shonky sales pitches that inevitably form the basis for every investment scam or scheme that was ever perpetrated.
And while they might be shonky, they can often be skillfully executed which makes them more dangerous for the unsuspecting.
Be it shares, real estate, trading currencies, computer programs or tax dodges, there’s always a wolf willing to sell their fabulous wealth making secrets.
Yet there’s only one true secret to building wealth – it doesn’t come fast or easy.