Saturday, March 22, 2008

Post# 6 - 'The Cast Of Characters' (The Old School)

The people who populated the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange as Floor Traders, Posties, Clerks, Exchange Staff etc. were as uncommon as they were predictable. This is not a value judgement, it is merely an observation. As for the predictable, I consider the fact that the TSE has a long history as a bastion of capitalism, trade and commerce. The Stock Market is the 'alter' the investment community worships. So, as you might expect, there are some stereo-typical 'stock broker' types, mostly from the group of 'older' traders that were on the floor during my time as a trader. These gentlemen, at least the 'Pros', were feared and respected and as long as made money, which is what it is all about, it didn't matter which you felt for them.

The older generation of traders from my time on the floor will be in the 'over thirty' group, as in years of age. Both registered 'Pro' traders and client traders are considered here. I might not remember everybody, but I do remember a lot of them.


No discussion of the vetrans traders could be started without first paying appropriate respects in talking about GOD! On the floor of the TSE there was only one omnipitent being that was everyone's god and that was Don Bainbridge. Bainey, as Don was also referred to, was a giant among his peers and was evidenced by everyone that ever traded in the nickle square. Nobody ever gave Bainey anything Bainey didn't want and Bainey never had to give anybody anything that he didn't want given. His dignity and style placed him in a category all his own. There were very few bad words spoken about Don Bainbridge on the floor, his domain. When people called him God, it was well deserved. His brokerage firm R.A. Daly was one of, if not the most respected house on Bay St. and that started and ended with Don Bainbridge. As a President, Govenor, Head Trader and TSE citized Don had carved out a place in the history of the TSE that is universally recognized for his success and the class he brought to the floor every day he stepped onto it. I had the pleasure of having Don as a boss in my travels and he was always fair minded in a very biased business. All my memories of Bainey on the floor are a pleasure and watching him do a slow dance with a stripper with the same grace he used dealing with the best of the business establishment was part of his charm. He was God!


George was as 'old school' on the floor as you could get. He was the last of a multi-generational family that owned and operated the brokerage house, Hector M. Chisholm & Co. Inc.
I believe the family was a charter member of the Exchange from its beginnings. They may well go back to the pre-historic floors trading clubs for spears. He reminded me of the Mr. Monopoly character and was about as rich and powerful, but didn't smile quite as much. George was often blustery and grumpy and didn't like to be asked questions about his stocks, such as 'how much offered' haha! Comming from an old money tradition, George was less a Pro Trader than an instituition. It seemed to me that he only came to work every day for the buzz of excitement and the lifelong friends and enemies he worked with every day. That's not such a bad reason to come to work though. Rarely was he really on the bid or offer, other that keeping an imaginary spread. He didn't like the Arbs or the Arb traders, of which I was a most annoying example to George. He thought we were thieves. I used to think that it was really cute that 'he' thought we were thieves! I wish I could say something cute and funny about George...but I am not really that creative.
My fondest memories of George was being in one of his TV commercials that was filmed on the floor. I simply walked by looking busy with every take. George had no idea I was doing a walk on in his commercial and I am sure if he did know he would have had me removed, forcibly. These commercials ran during Blue Jay broadcasts and made me a local hero, for about a day, in my hometown. My real pleasure was telling George how good I looked in his commercial, which always brought on a slow burn.


Cliff was one of the 'old guard' and came from the 'old money' and had an air of well earned superiority, if that can be noted as a personality trait. This distinctive gentleman is most well known to me for his footstep following son, Cliff Jr. Cliff Jr. was a bit of an institution himself and will be discussed in Part Two. I don't really know that much about Cliff Sr. other than to say that I know him. Rich guy!


One really good thing I could say about Jimmy Ackers was that in all my time working on the floor of the TSE I never, I mean NEVER, heard anyone speak ill of him. That would be just one of many.
Jimmy was the face of the 'floor trader'...every floor trader. As the head of the Floor Traders Association Jimmy was one to take his responsibilities in that position very seriously. I remember him spending time with me before I took my Govenor's test. He would tell me how to approach the test depending on the Govenors involved. In my case I had Tommy Milligan and Bainey, so I HAD to get it right. Thanks Jimmy, I think it worked.
Jimmy would always be the guy that organized everything 'trader'. I think that if he was with us today, there would not be one single former trader or floor employee that would have missed the 25th anniversary of the closing of the 'old' exchange event because Jimmy would have tracked down every one of them and made sure they knew how important these few and far between gatherings were. He got it. He got that something that it seems has escaped so many of us, as a group, from the time the TSE floor expired in 1997. I cannot believe how many of us simply DO NOT keep in touch with ANYONE from the floor. Jimmy would have done whatever he could to make sure we would have good reasons to get together more than once every 10 or 15 years.
As a character on the floor, Jimmy was another 'one of a kind'. He had a stare that could bring on a shitfit..haha When he looked pissed, he REALLY looked pissed and you just didn't want to get in his way. That usually lasted about 2 minutes at a time because there were few times that Jimmy, with that big buddah heart, could keep a smile off his face for any measurable length of time. He was a much befriended man on the floor, opening himself up to any and everyone that needed an ear or a career advice councellor. He helped alot of guys in alot of quiet ways and everyone on the floor respected him for all of his efforts.
Some of my good memories of Jimmy include the interresting items I occasionally bought from him, including a great ancient barber chair with a marble stand that weighed about 400 pounds. God knows where he got those from!
Jimmy was the man responsible for some of my greatest party memories from the fantastic 'bun tosses' to annual christmas and golf events. These parties were legend and anyone that can remember being at one can attest to this fact.

When I hear the name Jimmy Ackers, I think of many, many good things.


I didn't know Carl very well on a personal or professional level, other than I spent every day of my TSE life in the same confined spaces. From a distance I did know that Carl was a character. He was always a sharp dresser. Not my idea of cool, but certainly his. He also had a great sense of humor and was one of the vetran pranksters who loved a good gag.
His chauvanism was well known and demonstrated. Remember, back in the day being a chauvanist was pretty much status quo. He was just really good at the status quo! One of the things I remember about Carl was his golf wardrobe from the annual golf tournaments. If you have seen Rodney Dangerfield in 'Caddyshack', imagine a thin, 6'-4" version of Rodney, then you pretty much have a picture of Carl and his classic golf gear...only a little more garish. Carl was a likeable chap...and I had no reason not to like him.


If Don Bainbridge was God, then Dave Bond was the Jesus. Also a member of the R.A. Daly dream team, Dave was one of the 'big boys'. Dave was a prime time player and a bit of a chart legend. Dave was a soft spoken man that carried a substantial trading stick. Dave was a good position trader in a well financed and leveraged firm and his reputetion was that of a 'top level' player.
Dave Bond was not exactly Mr. personality and he seemed like he was hard to get close to. I know he was a curling fan and rock tosser and he was always fair with me, so I guess I liked Dave. Or more to the fact, I just really know I didn't dislike him.


Well, GM Johnny was the long time GM pro in a time when GM was one of the cornerstone stocks traded in North America. Just being the pro in such a stock gave you an excellent opportunity to prosper, because that stock was a winner. Not so much these days, but in THE day, it truely was. Johnny was kind of an oracle and handed down beads of wisdom from time to time and always seemed like he was not quite equipped for the stresses of the job. He was rarely intense, which was probably a good thing. He didn't so much hang out with the boys for drinks and such and his private life was and is, a mystery to me.


Oh man, Maxie was a very cool dude. He looked like a Johnny Carson clone, which probably doesn't mean a thing to anyone but boomer types like ourselves. He was a very sharp dresser and a very smooth ride. He did get upset on occasion, but was rarely anything but cool. He actually made Bill Brough laugh with regularity, which if you know Broughie is quite a coup. Jack was a very fair trader and never told you something that wasn't the case. In our business, the Arb business, knowledge was power and money and an honest piece of information was like money in the bank, so to speak. Jack was also quite a gentleman, something of a lost art even in our time on the floor, and almost completely lost now. He always treated the ladies on the floor with nothing but respect and kindness, unless they didn't take him off the bid...Just kidding!
I enjoyed Jack alot in my time on the floor. We had some great conversations and he was always a respectful guy, and he has my respect forever.


Lenny Webb, Dixie Duggan, Ike Ross, Frank Pike & Ian Braithwaite, always together, Jack Elliot, Jimmy Dimson, Russel Whittier, Frank Koren, Fredrick Douglas, Joey Fricker, Red and Moose Ferguson, Bobby Churchill, Lorne Fallon, Jim McGann, Dave JAmes, Lenny Amon, Barney Donahey, Dave Sewell, Jack Glass, Joe Hannan, Eddie Lewer and Bob Point.


These are the other traders I remember from the floor of the 'old' exchange.
Joe Pope, John Huckstep, Bill Pirie, Gary O'Connell, Harry Abbey, Bob Beggs, Harold Maine, Jim Dempsey, Jim Taugher, Tom MIlligan, Bill Barry, Paul Barry, Doug Mowatt, Al Hawkins, Tom Carley, Rick Craig, Dave Turner, Ted England, Herman Zander, Roy Lewer, Bill Brough, Tony Torella, Bill Budd, Don Moss, Charlie Mitchell, Bob Pete, Peter Green, Ron Westacott, Dave Wilkerson, Earnie Walker, Al White, George Marshall, Roy Black, Don Berrard, Dave Scott, Ross Hebert, Ron McQuaig, Tom Popovitch, Norm Oliver, Kenny Johnson, Tony Lill, Hugh Nickle, Howard Ellis, Jerry Reid, Bob Dunbar, Tom Fischer, John Moir, Brian Banford, Bill Davies, Bob Williams, Roy Coons, Alex Miller, Ross Miller, Bob Alexander, Dave Luke, Don McKittrick, Mike Accera, Kenny Wegg, Roger Rapson, John Morrison, Cam Jones, Jack Ayres, Tom Carmichael, Bill Schmidt, Bill Carnegie, Dave Prince, Ed Noonan, Jack Monteith, John Lawrence, Jim Taugher, Danny Brown, Harry Attack, Tim House, Ed Dempsey, Andy Thompson, Jack auder, Harry McGuire, Ross Brennen, Dave Scott, Ross Halbert, Gary Yarmulchuk, Peter Gemakis, Joe Ladera, Arnie Coombs, Pat Driscol, Lou Jones, Dave Farr, Roger Pesce, Bert Carmichael, Gary Sneddon, Charlie Faultless, John Bazar, Gord Fenn, Bob Williams, Nick Iannanou, Howard Jones, Bob Christie, Ken Rozell. And all the rest....

Stay Tuned for Part Two...The Young Turks.


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Anonymous said...

For your consideration. said...

i stated as a post boy on post 5 and 4---in the early 60s i recall carl christie and johnny masson so well----ed fenwick ended up working for me in vancouver and he taught me options to get thru my series 7 when i started my firm here in las vegas--- I met the most wonderful guys in the world----on the floor---got into sale with bankers bond---and if it was not for the tse----hiring me i would not have had the wonderful life as i have had thanks you cy williams--john snow---mike delgrand--barry brooks---george roadhouse---and every one else frank underhill