Back in February, FINRA informed John Thomas Financial founder Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis, he of rallies for Wall Street and Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps fame, that he “may face disciplinary action on a claim that he artificially inflated the price of a stock,” while the Post reported that the firm was being probed by the FBI and the SEC. According to the firm’s lawyer, Robert Bursky, “There is not a shred of evidence that suggests there is an ongoing inquiry by the FBI,” and if you asked David Pitts, a spokesman for John Thomas, if the brokerage is a boiler room, which Bloomberg did, he’d say it is not (and that, on the contrary, “it helps real companies raise money and provides honest advice to investors”). Regardless of whether or not any of the allegations are true, a few business practices one might want to avoid if questions like “is this place legit” or “is this business entirely modeled after 2000’s Boiler Room” are being raised include:

Using “Rocky” to get pumped up for calls with potential customers.

John Thomas’s 40,000-square-foot offices on the 23rd floor of 14 Wall St., the pyramid-topped former headquarters of Bankers Trust, are decorated with a statue of a bull, big-screen televisions and a vending machine stocked solely with Red Bull. Some brokers rub the statue for luck as they walk in at 7:30 a.m., then practice their sales pitches with one another while speakers blast music from the “Rocky” movies.

Oddly intense policies about facial hair.

Everyone wears suits. Brokers who show up with stubble are sent to the bathroom, where a bow-tied attendant dispenses razors, cologne and candy.

Not letting junior level employees sit down.*

Working from printed lists or index cards, junior brokers dial again and again as they hunt for potential customers. The senior brokers shout and talk about weight lifting, cars and watches. The junior brokers, who are told to make about 500 calls a day, don’t have computers and are required to stand. Their bosses tell them that standing makes them sound more animated, and their pitches more compelling to customers.


Some senior brokers told new recruits not to call women or people whose names sounded as if they were black, Latino or Muslim, because they’re apt to be poor or difficult to sell to, said three former employees, one of whom is black.

Quoting/screening Boiler Room at the office.

Three former junior brokers said their bosses often said “motion creates emotion” and other lines from the 2000 movie “Boiler Room,” the story of a fictional penny-stock brokerage brought down by the FBI. One of them said John Thomas showed the movie at the office.

In related-ish news, Shia LaBeouf, who learned the ropes at JTF as preparation for Money Never Sleeps, is apparently distancing himself from the firm (his publicist told Bloomberg he was “he was too busy to be interviewed” for the story), which can’t be good.

Red Bull-Fed Brokers Stand as John Thomas Draws Scrutiny [Bloomberg]
*”Bursky, the John Thomas lawyer, disputed those accounts. The brokers don’t use high-pressure tactics or scripts and they’re allowed to sit, he said.

24 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (24)

  1. Posted by Alt_EST | February 25, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    "Brokers who show up with stubble are sent to the bathroom, where a bow-tied attendant dispenses razors, cologne and candy…so they can smell great and freshen their breath before slitting their wrists in a bathroom stall because you just got told that you have somehow fallen below the social thresehold set by John Thomas Financial and seriously, there's no coming back from that."

  2. Posted by Guest | February 25, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    What, no fapping before the deed?

  3. Posted by Guest | February 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    John Thomas Financial? Are you kidding me? What a bullshit name.

    -SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises, Inc.

  4. Posted by Guest | February 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    This is exactly how I picture N'08, well minus the mushroom stamp on his forehead

  5. Posted by Anal_yst | February 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    You know what always helps with motion? Lotion.

  6. Posted by mr_blonde | February 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    "Patel? Ravadem Patel? How am I gonna make a livin' on these deadbeats? Where did you get this one from the morgue? " – Ricky Roma

  7. Posted by 2 Legit | February 25, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    "Don't pitch the bitch" tag, please. Completely appropriate here.

  8. Posted by Im_a_Dude | February 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    What is this "candy" they are dispensing in the john? nose candy?

  9. Posted by Doug Masters | February 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I'm pretty sure I saw this guy get curb stomped outside of Minetta's by several "poor looking" people

  10. Posted by @phoneranger | February 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    I love getting calls from the JTF dudes. Guaranteed shorts every time.

  11. Posted by JT Financial | February 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Guy sounds like he has it all fiqured out. Get desperate shmucks to make phone calls all day for the hope of buying a Ferrari by 25. Then tell them not to call black/hispanic/muslims since they dont have any money.

  12. Posted by Hobbes | February 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Do I sign a book deal before or after I get arrested?

    – Tommy

  13. Posted by Danker_Banker | February 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    These guys sound suspiciously like they're incredible alone, unstoppable together

  14. Posted by To The Point | February 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    He even looks like Vin Diesel

  15. Posted by Stubble Guest | February 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Worst comment since the last worst comment.

  16. Posted by Will Ferrell | February 25, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    You can't come in here looking like that , Buddy.
    -quote from some movie, I forget the title

  17. Posted by JT Marlin Alum | February 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Last night when I saw Ben Affleck pick up the Best Picture statue, I wondered if he ever looks back at the best role in his acting career.

  18. Posted by TJ Swordfish | February 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I totally forgot he was in that. Dude has serious acting chops.

  19. Posted by Guest | February 25, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Yeah you must get a great borrow on the pinks.

  20. Posted by Blake | February 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Put that Red Bull down!! Red Bull's for closers only.

  21. Posted by LEH | February 25, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Italian or blackish ?

  22. Posted by LEH | February 25, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    There was an article in the weeekend FT about the restaraunter who opened Minettas.

    I laughed quietly on my couch.

  23. Posted by Longun | February 26, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    close though.

  24. Posted by Tsylana | March 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM