by Larry Doyle, Sense on Cents
Martin Scorsese certainly knows how to make movies and Leonardo DiCaprio sure can act. The talents of both the director and the lead actor in The Wolf of Wall Street will attract many people to the theaters, and may win Scorsese and DiCaprio some awards.
The debauchery displayed by DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort and his band of morally degenerate colleagues at the bucket shop Stratton Oakmont generated a fair bit of laughter in the audience at yesterday’s show that I attended. The activities displayed may be the stuff of a frat-boy’s dreams but were in truth far more deranged than they were humorous.
Stratton Oakmont’s boiler room operation is not a reflection of the pursuit of the American dream run awry but rather of an industry that operates under a less than rigorous self-regulatory model.
The film’s depiction of SEC regulators being toyed with by Stratton Oakmont executives is indicative of the general public’s perception of regulatory incompetence.
How is it that customer complaints if not outright whistleblowing about Stratton Oakmont’s operation did not put an end to the criminal behavior far sooner? All too much evidence has shown the arbitration process on Wall Street dealing with customer complaints and whistleblowing are forced to run up a very steep hill in trying to expose bad practices. That reality was not only prevalent back in the ’90s but is even still in vogue today.
What is my final takeaway on this film? In a word, disturbing. Upon exiting the theatre, there was no real sense of patrons having been entertained. As one patron commented, how is it that the predatory nature of guys like Belfort could leave so much destruction in their wake and yet be sentenced to only three years in prison and ultimately serve less than two?
There is something seriously wrong with that picture.
Please pre-order a copy of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy, that will be published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 7, 2014.
Please subscribe to all my work via e-mail.
I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.
Editor’s Note: Don’t fail to enter a free drawing for Larry’s new book hitting book store shelves on Tuesday (07 January 2013). See for details: Four Days Left Before Book Drawing Entries Close.