A New York number rang up. It was “Clark” from Coastal Equities. Coastal Equities has called me before and I’ve asked them to not call me again.
I asked “Clark” for his last name. He told me it was “Pennington”. So “Clark Pennington,” who sounded very young on the phone, was trying to find out if he could call me in the future with their “Single Best Idea.” I’m sure that idea would have been entertaining. But, as those who read this blog know, I don’t do business with cold callers. More importantly, I don’t do business with people whose registration status I can’t determine.
When I was talking to “Clark” he started to profile me, asking me if I was an aggressive investor. That is a registered representative’s job. “Clark” does not appear to have that registration. I may be wrong.
I went to FINRA’s Brokercheck website and entered “Pennington” for the name and “Coastal Equities” for the firm name. Nothing.
So I simply entered “Pennington” (figuring how many could there be?) to see if there was even a person with the name “Clark Pennington” in the FINRA database. Nope. Not at least with “Clark” as the first name and “Pennington” as the last name. “Clark’s” pitch was that they are a boutique Wall Street investment bank. Well, their HQ is on Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware. Maybe I didn’t understand him correctly.
So now I’m wondering if they play a game like the “porn star name” game where you take the name of the street you grew up on and some town that has some relationship to your life. That becomes your porn star name. So maybe “Clark” grew up on Clark Street, somewhere. There isn’t a Clark Street in Pennington, New Jersey. There is a Clark, New Jersey, however. So maybe this is a twist on the game. (He probably thought I was some dumb Floridian with no knowledge of New Jersey geography. I grew up near Pennington, New Jersey) So “Clark Pennington” it is. Your cold-caller name. Now all we need is the Harry Potter “sorting hat” or John Belushi from Animal House to dole out the name.
It’s a shame that some young people (This makes me old saying this) are indoctrinated into this business by being convinced that smiling and dialing, using a phony name, is the way to be successful. It’s not.
That’s the view of one lawyer from Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Florida. I’m Marc Dobin.