A business associate of mine did very well when the company he was with went public. "Worth millions" is the phrase that comes to mind. He needed something to do with his money, so he opened a substantial account, million-dollar minimum, with one of the big name brokerage firms. He’s a very active investor, and sometimes we trade stock tips and war stories. Last week he was complaining about his account. It seems that all the online information he gets is a day old. But he found a way to get around this problem. He set up a shadow account in Yahoo where he can get up-to-the-minute information.

When I pointed out the irony of having to use a Yahoo service to overcome the shortcomings of his "special" brokerage account, he became a little agitated. Seeing a great opportunity to needle him (I don’t get many), I pressed on. "Aren’t you one of their elite customers?" "Don’t you pay a hefty management fee?" "Shouldn’t you at least get the same information that I get from my tiny E*Trade account?" "How can you trust your money to a company that can’t master simple technology?" By the time I finished, steam was coming out of his ears. He swore that he would get real-time information or close the account.

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