Behind Michael Steinhardt's serious exterior is a man who knows how to break the tension. His own tension. Stockbrokers, on the other hand, are a bit on edge.
“At the end of the trading day, particularly with a broker who was very anxious to get an order, I would pick up the phone and I would say, ‘Hey, Jim, it's 3:47, I've got something for you to do right now,' Steinhardt told Benzinga during our exclusive video interview. “And I'd say, ‘I'd like you to buy 85,000 shares of [purposely mumbles],' and hang up the phone.”
Steinhardt said that while the broker couldn't have understood him, he probably assumed that the mumble involved three symbols.
“And he would [call back], and I'd have someone else pick up the phone and say, ‘Yeah, who is it?' ‘Hi, my name is Jim [whatever], and I think I just got an order from Michael Steinhardt.' [And my guy would respond], ‘Oh, he just went to the bathroom, but he'll be back in a few minutes.'
At this point the broker must have been going crazy. But Steinhardt wasn't done with him yet.
“At 3:55 I'd call the guy again. ‘Jim, did you call back?' ‘Yeah, I couldn't understand—' ‘What do you mean you couldn't understand? Just take the order, buy 85,000 [purposely mumbles]' and hang up again,” said Steinhardt, laughing.
Lucky for the broker, the joke would come to an end with the close of the market at 4:00 p.m. Adds Steinhardt, “There were all sorts of crazy things you could do [to break the tension] – funny things.”
To hear more from the hedge fund legend – including his best investment and his views on politics – don't miss Benzinga's full interview with Michael Steinhardt.
Practical Jokes With Michael Steinhardt [Benzinga]