The payoff for “holding down the fort” for my teammates over the holidays was a long-ago scheduled ski trip the first week of January. The location — Whistler, British Columbia — was on the Marc “bucket list,” and this vacation had been scheduled, and paid for, back in 2021 on the hope that Canada would have relaxed its COVID travel rules by now. Fortunately, the wager paid off, and our Canadian neighbors were more than welcoming.
British Columbia is on the far end of the Pacific Time Zone; like here in Northwest Indiana the winter sun comes up late and sets early in Whistler. So, I was a bit irritated when my phone started buzzing with a call at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday of my ski week.
It was Crystal, Oak Partners Director of Client Experience. Crystal manages the firm’s marketing, client events, media and social media. Like most who work in marketing and media, everything is urgent with Crystal, but she doesn’t typically bug me on vacation. I called her back about five minutes later.
Crystal’s voice was excited on the other side, “Victory Capital is launching a new ETF next week and they invited someone from Oak Partners to attend the opening ceremony at the stock exchange in New York City. You need to go.”Vikings.
I listened to her groggily as I scratched my unshaven mountain man face. “That's amazing, but I’m in British Columbia, which is like the other side of the world. I can’t go to New York City next week. Send someone else,” was my reply.
“I knew you were going to say that,” she countered. “No one else can go, besides I think you’re the one that should go. This is a once a lifetime thing.”
“Let me think about it,” I said as I hung up. The sound of voices was enough to get my wife Tracy to stir. “What was that?” Tracy asked sleepily. “It was Crystal, she wants me to go to New York to open the stock market next week. But I’m not going, I have too much going on.”
She sat up in bed. “You have the chance to open the stock market, and you’re not going because you’re busy?” she asked incredulously. “That’s crazy.”
“No,” she continued, “you’re not going because you don’t like New York City and because you’re being an old curmudgeon,” she stated, as only a wife can.
“Curmudgeon!” I thought. Before I refuted the claim, I paused. She was right, I was being a curmudgeon. I needed to take this invitation; I’m certainly not too old to burn the candle on both ends when I need to. New York City, ugh.
The NASDAQ Market Site occupies a high-profile corner in Times Square. The market show I watch while I brush my teeth every morning, CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” is aired live from this site daily. The facility is a complex of massive, bright, beautiful screens everywhere, scrolling non-stop market data. There are multiple staging studios, operating as an intensely choreographed media production. It is truly an amazing spectacle.
Perhaps my favorite part of the complex, however, was the hallway to the upstairs bathrooms. Yes, the hallway, because in the long hallway from the elevators to the bathrooms hung multiple large, gorgeous photos of many of the companies and people that had participated in this ritual over the years.
Photos of the proudly smiling famous management teams at Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, Amazon, Starbucks and so many others adorned the walls. I thought about the leaders of American business that had likely walked this hallway. The way our lives have been changed and improved by their products, the wealth and prosperity these companies and their leaders had helped create for so many Americans through employment and investment. This place was a brightly illuminated zenith of American markets, in all its glitzy splendor, a shrine to American free enterprise in all its glory. I was humbled and proud to be there.
My role in the market opening ceremony was to loudly clap and hoot. I think I did a credible job. The NASDAQ records the ritual live, and then puts it on a 50-foot-tall screen in Times Square, which candidly sounded awkward, but ended up being very exciting. I of course was sending out pictures and videos to my family as events occurred. My oldest daughter Bri (I call her Beanie), a 28-year-old tech marketing professional, who acts like a teenager when it comes to Kate Middleton and Taylor Swift, texted me “Dad, you had your face in Times Square just like Taylor Swift.”
“That’s right Beanie” I texted back, “I’m just like Taylor Swift.” I am truly grateful to my friends at Victory Capital for this incredible experience.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stock investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or preserve against loss. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. This material may contain forward looking statements; there are no guarantees that these outcomes will come to pass.
Marc Ruiz is a wealth advisor and partner with Oak Partners and registered representative of LPL Financial. Contact Marc at email@example.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.