Ep178: Dante Vitoria – When an FBI Agent Tells You to Go to Breakfast, Do It

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Guest profile

For over 30 years, Dante Vitoria has been running his firm the Vitoria Group, which has broad experience working with companies of various sizes to fulfill its client’s financial needs. The client base is extremely diverse, ranging from international money centers, domestic banks, insurance companies, and financial firms.

The group provides a vast array of financial services specifically tailored to enable clients to meet their goals, the assistance direction and access to professional banking and other facilities.

 

“Know when to get in, but more importantly know when you’re going to get out.”

Dante Vitoria

 

Worst investment ever

Getting into Wall Street

After college, the dad to one of Dante’s friends asked him to come work for him at a small but very successful investment banking firm. Though he’d never thought about getting into finance he said yes.

Experiencing his first stock investment

About a month and a half into his first job a doctor in Florida named Stanley Chase came up with this idea where he’d take your blood test and pronounce you AIDS-free then give you a credit card to show your AIDS-free status. A lot of brokers were interested in the idea and even tried it out.

They figured they could take the doctor’s idea public. The whole firm was behind the stock. Every broker from the rookie, to the 75-year-old retired guy who’d come every day and have a cup of coffee, was buying the stock. It was the greatest stock since IBM.

Getting into everyone’s favorite stock

Dante, not wanting to be left behind, took all the savings he had, about $50,000 and bought the stock which was selling below $12 a share. After about a month and a half, the stock was selling at double what Dante had bought it for.

Playing sheep with his investment

After he had doubled his money, Dante went to a stockbroker with a ticket to sell. The trader looked at him and said, “What’s wrong with you? It doesn’t get any better than this. Don’t do this. Let’s keep it. If anything happens I will tell you to get out.” Dante listened to the trader and kept his stock.

A week later the stock was trading at $31. He still doesn’t sell it. Well, the trader had not yet called to advise time to sell, so he still held onto the stock.

Here comes the FBI

One Monday morning, Dante stepped off his office elevator and was met by a huge guy wearing a brown polyester suit with slicked black hair. The guy asked him if he was Vitoria to which he answered in the affirmative. The guy said he was the FBI and told him to go have breakfast they had no interest in him.

Confused, Dante showed him the breakfast he was carrying and said he was good. The FBI told him to leave immediately and come back after lunch. So off he went. The office building was now full of cops, plainclothes detectives and the FBI.

When he came back later, the firm had four people in it. Two secretaries, the chairman, and Dante.

And just like that, he becomes the vice-chairman of a brokerage firm

The chairman informed him that he was now the second most senior person in the firm. This automatically made him the vice-chairman of the firm, at 22 years.

The stock goes bust

Before he could get excited about being a vice-chairman, he remembered his investment portfolio. He asked the chairman about it and all he could tell him was to forget it. The stock he’d bought for $50,000 was now worth about 50 cents. This was certainly by far the worst investment Dante has ever made.

Lessons learned

Not every stock is good for you

Just because a stock is great for your friend doesn’t mean it’s great for you. The reverse is also true. A stock might just be horrible for someone else but great for you. So do your homework and take the time to find out how good a stock is for your portfolio.

Andrew’s takeaways

Don’t bet on one stock

Always be wary of betting on just one stock because you increase your chances of losing your money. Diversify your portfolio for better risk management.

Check the legitimacy of your investment company

Be careful in the financial world to stay away from criminal behavior or else you’ll get into trouble. Make sure you do a background check on the investment company you intend to use to make sure it is legit.

Don’t hold onto your stock for too long

If you’re not sure whether to sell a stock or not you can always sell half or even 25% of it as you continue to watch the stock exchange market. Just don’t hold onto the whole thing for too long.

Actionable advice

Have a clear entry point and an exit point. Never chase an investment and don’t run too long with that investment.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Dante’s goal for 2020 is to have a better year than he had this year. His goal is simply to do a little better every year.

Parting words

 

“Do your homework and stay strong. Always have an exit strategy because it’s easy to get in but sometimes it’s hard to get out you know.”

Dante Vitoria

 

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About the author, Andrew

Dr. Andrew Stotz, CFA is the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research, a company that provides institutional and high net worth investors with ready-to-invest stock portfolios that aim to beat the benchmark through superior stock selection.

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