Business The Punt

Tuesday 21 August 2018

The Punt: Wisdom of the queen of Wall St

99-year-old Irene Bergman, financial adviser at Stralem & Co
99-year-old Irene Bergman, financial adviser at Stralem & Co

A 99-year-old veteran of the cut and thrust of high finance on Wall Street has revealed her secret for success: don't do anything stupid.

As one of the oldest workers in an industry run by men half her age, Irene Bergman, below, offers a rare perspective.

She recalls the small private firms founded by German Jews of the 19th century that came to define Wall Street before their partnership model gave way to public listings, and honour succumbed to an ever-fiercer push for profit.

"The way of doing business has changed," she said, in an interview with Bloomberg. "It's much more competitive, much more knives-in-the-back."

Her career was a near-realisation of a dream she had as a teenager. She wanted to follow her father, a private banker, onto the Berlin Stock Exchange. He made that world seem so "lively". she said. She would have been the first woman to attain that position.

But along came the World War II, and her family was forced to flee Germany, ultimately moving to the US where she began working as a secretary at a bank. Fifteen years later, she joined Hallgarten & Co, a member of the New York Stock Exchange. She's popular with her clients, but admits she missed one investment: Apple.

"I missed Apple totally," she said. "Apple was too much for me."

Kerry takes off this week

There's an interesting line-up set to take part at an aviation conference being held this week at the Killarney Convention Centre in Kerry.

Among, those who'll be there: the omnipresent Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer at Ryanair.

There are plenty of others who'll be giving their views on the aviation industry and where it's headed, including senior WestJet executive John Weatherill.

He's the director of network and schedule planning at the Canadian airline, which last year inaugurated a service between Dublin and St John's, Newfoundland. Richard Carcaillet, the head of strategic marketing at Airbus, will also be among the many attendees.

They'll also be kept in almost tip-top condition while there. This morning's events kicked off with a 5km run.

Tonight, they'll all be feted at a 'Welcome to Ireland' night at Muckross Hotel. The evening will include learning how to pour a pint of Guinness (yes, one of those skills deemed so essential the State embarrassed itself by hauling aging British royalty around the Guinness Storehouse), and how to play the bodhrán. Who said twee is dead?

Bloomberg: From boring to barking at

Headlines on the uber-serious business news service Bloomberg can be so po-faced and, frankly, odd, they even have their own parody Twitter accounts.

The joke is that Bloomberg sub-editors insists on cramming so much information into their story titles - not all of it related - it can be at the expense of meaning.

Regular users learn to navigate headlines like yesterday's: "Intel Seeks Departure From Past Stumbles With Altera Takeover".

All of which is only to explain the Punt's surprise when the following headline popped up on our well-worn data terminal: "Use of 'Doggie Double' in Talent Show Causes Uproar in UK."

It's not clear why Bloomberg ran a story about Matisse, better known as the dog from TV show 'Britain's Got Talent".

The show is in the news after TV producers admitted a ringer or "doggie double" replaced border collie Matisse during part of its act in the popular talent show - which the dog(s) won.

What that has to do with the price of shares - Bloomberg's usual territory - is a mystery, but the headline certainly grabbed our attention.

Irish Independent

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