The following four movies offer a panoply of perspectives on the business of wealth management.
Boiler Room (2000)
This movie flew under the radar a bit when it came out, grossing under $20 million. Since then, however, Boiler Room has found its audience, thanks to heavy rotation on basic cable. It boasts a stable of young stars like Scott Caan, Vin Diesel, and Ben Affleck who gives a stellar performance as the firm’s veteran guru of greed. The plot centers on Seth Davis, played by Giovanni Ribisi, who takes a job with the brokerage firm, J.T. Marlin. Seth is lured in by the promise of millions, but he soon finds out that things at the firm aren’t what they appear to be. As J.T. Marlin unravels, Seth’s true nature coheres-a nice contrast that reminds us some lessons can only be learned the hard way.
Trading Places (1983)
The Duke Brothers are rich, powerful, and bored. They make a $1 bet to settle whether nature or nurture truly make a man. They scheme up a social experiment to have a street hustler unknowingly trade places with a patrician businessman. Dan Akroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis deliver as a milquetoast blue-blood and a prostitute respectively, but this is Eddie Murphy’s movie as the con artist trader. (Side note: You’d be hard pressed to find a comedic actor more on top of his game than mid-80s Eddie Murphy). This belongs on a list of movies everyone needs to see, not just wealth management professionals. For those in the biz, the plot packs extra laughs, especially when the protagonists use the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to exact their brilliant revenge plan. Don’t bet the farm on frozen orange juice concentrate!
Wall Street (1987)
The grand-daddy of stock-broker movies. Few movie characters captured the zeitgeist of the Reagan era financial world like Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko with his mantra, “greed is good.” Far from being a one-sided portrait of wealth management and investment, this Oliver Stone movie is a morality play. As the main character, Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) learns, and the film’s tag line states, every dream has a price.
Too Big to Fail (2011)
A heady antidote for wealth management professionals who may be suffering from Gordon Gekko/Wolf of Wall Street syndrome, Too Big to Fail reminds us that unregulated self-interest, especially in our globalized economy, can have disastrous consequences. The film follows Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson through the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The film does a good job of making screen-worthy drama out of what could have been dry political negotiations. As Paulson tries to contain the fallout from the Lehman Brothers collapse, we see how the over-valuation of toxic housing assets, spurred by optimism (reckless in retrospect) that the housing market would only continue to rise, led to the biggest financial collapse since the great depression.
Source by Andrew Stratton