Stockbrokers are a notorious bunch. The media narrative often goes something like this: powerful men, highly competitive risk-takers, earning shed loads of money and working long hours often fuelled by a serving of daily fairy dust. We’ll leave the last part to your imagination.

But amid all the wild tales of ludicrous success of the archetype stockbroker, there are some sad tales of those who lost it all. We thought we’d take a look at some of these tales to serve as a reminder that things — despite much media claim — aren’t always as they seem. Or, are exactly as they seem.

A sad tale of success and loss 

William ‘Preston’ King worked as a big fish stockbroker at Merrill Lynch and Oppenheimer & Co., where he earned millions and lived a flash life in his fancy Manhattan flat and drove around in even fancier motors, which is starkly different to his experiences after his original member of the Wolf of Wall Street. Quite different.

But last year the former stockbroker was sadly found down-and-out on the streets of New York, where he slept on empty pizza boxes and begged for a living.

It was apparently King’s taste for high-living fuelled by drug abuse and excessive everything that brought about his demise. There’s probably a deep moral in all this, but we’ll leave that for you to decide.

Wall Street’s Jordan Belforts


Imagine being worth $250 million by the time you reached 25-years-old. Well, that’s what Jordan Belforts was reported to have been worth at that age, and the stockbroker quite literally had it all. From yachts to planes to drugs to women, there seemed few things to be lacking in this man’s life.
But Belforts, who worked for stockbroking firm Stratton Oakmont, finally met his demise when multiple millions of his wealth were discovered to be linked to fraud and money laundering. Oh-o! After serving a jail sentence and paying back loads of cash to other stockbroker, Belforts thought it was high time he wrote a book called ‘Catching The Wolf Of Wall Street’. It had something to do with ethics, about not losing it in the process of becoming mad wealthy. Better late than never, aye Mr Jordan. What a life.

Oops, back to work 

A poor Essex couple, James and Delia Bagot were customer of a quite reputable stockbrokers firm called WH Ireland. That turned out to be a bad move for the couple. Some crazy stockbroker over a period of six years decided by basically bet (it is betting after all) on risky companies on a not-so-regulated part of the stock market. It is most future retirees nightmare come true.

So with nearly half of their money amounting to almost £500,000 gone. But luckily for this couple, they did have some rare success in clawing back some of what they lost. A compassionate and frankly sane ombudsman ordered the stockbroking firm to pay the couple compensation. Although, this was only to the maximum amount that can be ordered, a total of £150,000. Still, better than a kick in the teeth.