#knowyourclient

Chick-Fil-A becomes 3rd largest fast food chain

Despite progressives trying to boycott the Chick-fil-A food chain because the Southern Baptist COO Dan Cathy publicly opposed same-sex-marriage, American consumers have turned it into the 3rd largest fast-food chain after McDonalds and Starbucks. Store numbers have doubled and revenues tripled over the last decade.

Chick-fil-A states it’s mission is, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Chick-fil-A is notable by its closure on Sundays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So people are well aware ofthis corporate backing its religious beliefs.

CM has always rejected corporates pushing political and societal agendas. To that end they live and die by the sword. In Gillette’s case it was forced towrite down the long term value of the brand due to its toxic masculinity campaign driven by virtue signaling. In Chick-fil-A’s case it seems that customers think the product offering has always been backed by true beliefs from its inception.It’s a big difference.

Some may argue CM is making a doublestandard. Wrong. Chick-fil-A was founded form the beginning on its core beliefs. It was on the menu (pun intended).Gillette on the other hand thought trying to tell customers to be mindful about their toxic masculinity from a position of sponsoring a racing car series with its logo emblazoned across the backsides or super models was not.They thought being woke would win business. In fact it cost them a bundle.

Truth be told, most people probably just want a chicken sandwich and Chick-fil-A don’t ram religious beliefs on their burger wrappers.Gillette’s customers probably just want to shave without being told they shouldn’t be men.

The Footy Show is axed

This is what happens when TV producers think being woke, hip, diverse and inclusive (i.e. politically correct) will woo audiences. Sadly not. Instead of the blokey format that was a staple with The Footy Show fans, identity politics driven warriors were passed the ball to change the format.

The new version of The Footy Show debuted at 193,000 viewers, presumably people giving it a fair go to see the change. However, it quickly slumped to 96,000 in Melbourne to the then lowest print in the show’s long history. Last week hit only 53,000 TV screens. Now the show is being cancelled.

This is what happens when social justice warriors hijack the free market. If TV stations want to boost ratings, they should properly know their clients rather than pander to the left and think they can remove toxic masculinity by live indoctrination.

Married at First Sight (MAFS) would have to be some of the worst TV around but it gets ratings because it is utterly brain dead and people who’ve had a long day can zone out while watching these proms donnas scream at each other with non-PC words.

Vegan feminist cafe closes & Trip Advisor comments priceless

A vegan feminist cafe, Handsome Her, has closed its doors for good. It had imposed an 18% gender surcharge for men to account for the ‘wage gap’ and given women priority seating. Perhaps if the cafe focused on service in the normal fashion it might have flourished. Take these 1 star Trip Advisor reviews.

This from John P.

I was in Melbourne on business recently and a friend of mine recommended this cafe. What a shame I listened to her. It took 5 minutes to get the attention of a waitress who seemed to be more interested in chatting to her friends, rather than serving a customer who’d just walked through the door. I was eventually seated and chose the gnocchi paired with the suggested pinot noir. The gnocchi arrived and I was bitterly disappointed. The gnocchi was very undercooked and had a floury texture, the mushrooms were burnt and the dish lacked any real flavour. The only enjoyable part of the meal was the wine. I left most of my meal on the plate and finished my wine.

When I asked for the bill, the waitress asked if there was a problem with my meal, since I’d left most of it on my plate. When I told her of my dissatisfaction with the meal, she morphed into an aggressive and irate woman who then started dispatching some rather vile language. Not wanting to cause a scene, I subsequently left the requisite cash on the table, which included a 15% tip, and promptly walked out. As I was walking past the register on the way out, I could hear the same woman telling the other waitress working with her that I was a “vile beast” and that I “wasn’t welcome here again”.

I certainly won’t be coming back. One of the worst experiences I’ve had in quite some time.

Date of visit: August 2017

Cuban_American from Englewood, Colorado wrote

This place is a giant turd. Nobody in their right mind should eat at such a horrid place. Your sexism and gender attacks are cancer to society. Be gone forever.
Date of visit: April 2019
Jack from Adelaide wrote “Get Woke, Go Broke”
“Went there to see what the hype was all about. The conditions were dirty and unclean. The people working there looked like they hadn’t had a wash in days. The food was overpriced for what you got and the plate presentation was sloppy.”
Date of visit: January 2019
Fast Food Reviews wrote,

“A terrible cafe that has no respect for either equality or the law, with horrible staff that I swear the owner had to scour the scum of the earth to find. Spend half an hour trying to get a waitress to come over and when they finally showed up they told me I’d have to wait because I was a “cis gendered white man” and there were women who needed to be served first. According to the waitress I’d have to wait until ALL women in the shop were served before they’d take my order, even those who came in after me. I left at that moment and will never return.

Date of visit: February 2019

Good Tenks suggested,

“What a disgrace that in 2019 in Australia we allow a restaurant to discriminate against a group of people based on something they cannot change.
I went to handsome her with 3 girls who are close friends (I’m a male) and was spoken to like a second class citizen, the attitude and demeanour of the employees is abhorrent.
The food wasn’t bad, the coffee was terrible but the attitudes are disgusting, I was spoken down and made to feel like garbage.

Myself and the ladies all agreed this is promoting discrimination and against what we believe in which is equality.
What a joke, avoid at all costs there is much better around.”
Date of visit: November 2018
Do look up Handsome Her Cafe reviews on Trip Advisor. Sadly those that don’t pay attention to customer needs face the wrath of evil capitalism.

Denial

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These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline over 5 years. Is this a sign of a format that is no longer sustainable? Is the disintermediation/disruption caused by video on demand such that making a ‘date’ to go to the cinema is no longer a priority? Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south. The strategy seems to throw more at audiences and hope it sticks. Are the movies the industry rates itself on actually reflected in the box office? Out of touch with the audience? It would seem so. See for yourself.

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It should appear to Hollywood that movies about real life stories are the ones that seem to resonate most with audiences – Titanic, The King’s Speech, Argo and A Beautiful Mind. These 4 films grossed $1.04 billion at the box office. It has been 10 years since Hollywood has had a fictional film it chose for itself beat the worst of the 4 movies based off real stories in ticket sales. It has been 15 years since having a proper blockbuster like Lord of the Rings which is arguably pure fantasy and extends to child audiences.

Films are of course subjective. One film one person may enjoy, others may not share the same view. It is interesting though that $100m box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004 after which it has been hit and miss since. 9 films in the last 13 have failed to breach $75mn. So instead of Hollywood being so preoccupied with espousing politics, perhaps it should look to the audience it ‘preaches’ to and starts ‘reaching’ them instead.

Why the broking industry doesn’t get it and the regulator gets it even less

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I’ve had the opportunity to speak to numerous brokers in recent weeks and the sad fact remains much of the strategy is stuck in yesteryear. The idea that hiring more analysts and promoting a full deck colour brochure of their supposed ‘depth’ to clients is somehow more important than the content they can actually provide in a dumbed down compliance constrained world. The game has changed. The regulator has even less understanding than the brokers when it comes to understanding client needs. The buy-side investment community is also becoming highly resource constrained. To have to waste countless hours on admin to set a price on increasingly valueless research does them no favours.

Don’t be fooled by Smart Karma or Research Pool or any other 3rd party research aggregator. It is the same dumbed-down research bundled into a convenient pricing structure. I’ve looked into the economics and unless a research provider has a huge following the returns on contributing to these third party platforms is next to worthless. The more mouths to feed, the less return. On top of that the platform has no real control over what goes into it. It is a convenience store but in that vein, the nutritional value remains relatively low.

The simplest form of strategy is to set up ‘Special Forces’ type research teams. These teams don’t write rated research but charge on a ‘per mission’ basis. Take GLG. They have no broking license but carry out bespoke requests. Why aren’t brokers following this model? It is insane to hire more in sales, research and trading when the regulator is squeezing the traditional proposition to zero.

Two questions:

Did regulators actually ask smaller scale institutional  investors what they needed before they imposed rules which will dramatically increase their cost of doing business, the very opposite of the goal the regulator thinks its rules will create?

Are the traders of risk willing to take any risk to fill a gaping hole the very people they proclaim they serve are crying for?

What I see is more of the same. The bunker mentality. Conforming to outdated models to keep their inflated salaries alive for as long as possible pandering to internal politics to survive. Badgering clients to fill in irrelevant polls which serve no purpose but the promise of magical commission dollars in the future to their out of touch bosses at HQ. Some brokers even publish “the best of research” weeklies as a sort of self-appraised quality control mechanism to push on clients. Let’s think about that. If all research was properly screened before being published there would be no need to tell clients that this is the tiny fraction of research that isn’t (supposed) rubbish. It is actually confirming client’s worst fears – sell-side brokers aren’t listening  (as usual).

The gig is up. Regulators are even more clueless. Instead of trying to provide a marketplace where smaller boutiques can survive they drive the cost of compliance to such a degree that in many cases the teams of internal watchdogs swamps the investment decision makers. That’s right! The hottest ticket in finance is in compliance. A headhunter told me the network of compliance officers is so tight across firms there is almost a deliberate ‘insider’ matrix among them which encourages them all to switch firms to keep driving up their ‘collective’ remuneration. The people in charge of preventing scams are in fact the biggest operator of insider trading!

We’ve countless examples of how inept regulators are. Bernie Maddoff the biggest of them all. Despite multiple investigations and the clearest set of breaches presented to them they failed to uncover a $65bn fraud. Many regulators by background are lawyers meaning they are full of theory but devoid of real world practice. Regulators would be better off hiring convicted traders to hunt down fraud and illegal behaviour. As it stands they are as clueless as ever thinking more biting regulations will help the market. Wrong. Free it up but raise the penalties for actual wrong doing. I’ve never met an investor who doesn’t want to keep a useful broker alive. That’s why the payment skew is like it is. It isn’t just about Michelin 3-star meals and strip clubs. All the regulator has done is make an uncomplicated system almost unworkable. Although if brokers woke up to the fact that providing ‘special forces’ that clients directly requested and paid for they’d fill a gap which the regultor would have no answer to and make the iTunes research fintech companies obsolete overnight.

MiFID 2 will be the crowning glory of regulatory failure. MiFID 3 will be here before we know it as evidence of the catastrophic bungle it’s predecessor already is before it is in effect. Then again it is an EU directive – that ought to have told us something.

The golden rule of customer service

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Customer service! What is it? How well do we know our customers? In my case it is a Mr Kamimura, a diligent garçon at Aux Bacchanales in Kioi-cho, Tokyo. No matter what mood you’re in he has an innate ability to make you forget and laugh at yourself. In my case today new shoes are causing blisters. He saw me with bandaids at hand. Sensing what was wrong he scribed “blister” in my latte. A small thing perhaps but isn’t it amazing how something so simple, not discovered in any manual can keep a customer coming. The coffee is pretty good too so it’s a win-win. I’m fascinated how in today’s smartphone gazing culture how as humans were actually missing out what really matters.