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Remembering a Hero to the Individual Investor

By Costas Bocelli May 26, 2011 Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Email Logo LinkedIn Logo

Yesterday morning, right around the opening bell, the news broke that Mark Haines, veteran journalist and iconic fixture on the financial network CNBC, had passed away suddenly at his home the night before.

The mood was quite somber throughout the day, and it was very evident how his presence over the prior 22 years as a TV anchor impacted virtually everyone who invests or follows the financial markets.

He will indeed be missed, by yours truly included.

I thought it would be appropriate this week to stray away from the normal trading and investment theme and share my thoughts on how important his contributions and impact to the financial markets really were.

He was a pioneer in financial broadcasting and journalism, as he became the cornerstone of what CNBC is today.  Mark was the founding anchor of CNBC's morning show "Squawk Box", which became the number one pre-market source of information for numerous market participants before the start of trading every day.

His contributions helped CNBC become "the" designated channel on practically every trading floor and exchange around the country, including the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, where I was a floor trader for nearly 7 years.

As a floor trader, I had the opportunity to meet and observe many important and famous people as they visited the exchange or were honored guests to ring the morning bell.  (Yes, even the PHLX had an opening bell ritual.)

One morning, Mark was visiting the PHLX and walked around the floor greeting the traders and exchange staff and employees.  He was a very down to earth, approachable person.  He took the time to spend a few quick minutes in our trading pit and chat with the crowd.  I saw first-hand how charismatic and genuine he was without any cameras in sight.

I also had a deep respect for him professionally.  As a TV personality and a network anchor, usually the number one focus is all about the ratings, especially when the main concern of the producers and directors that generate the content flow is viewership.

The point here is that -- if you haven't noticed -- the mainstream financial media is biased in how they present content.  The real secret to boosting viewership and ratings in a mainstream financial media outlet is to portray a booming stock market where everyone is making a killing.  The average Joe tunes in when they see that the market is going up … or think it's going to go up. 

Well Tycoons, in the real world, we know that's not always the case.  That's why you read The Tycoon Report and subscribe to many of our financial education products and services, right?

You want someone to tell it like it is without any preconditions or ulterior motives.  That's what we strive to do every day.  And I can attest to that for every TycoonU Staff Member.

And so did Mark Haines.  Even though Mark had to deliver a specific message and stay in-line with the company "agenda", he would always speak his mind and sometimes go off script to tell it like it is.  Watching many, many financial TV personalities and pundits glaze over the truth or spin the headlines, Mark communicated in a way that brought trust and caring when he delivered the facts of the story.

He was also a great interviewer, and pressed his guests very hard to get the real truth or understanding from the subject, topic, or discussion.  He liked to ask smart, compelling questions, and rarely threw out fluff of softball questions.  If he felt like he was getting the song and dance response, he was not afraid to push back for that elusive direct answer.

Not only did I pick up on this, but many self-directed individual investors like you related to this as well.

Here's a perfect Mark Haines moment that brings out his genuine personality …

After the May 6 flash crash last year, many individual investors lost total confidence in the financial markets, and were fed up with being fleeced by Wall Street.  Money flowed away from the stock market and, you guessed it, the financial cable channels took a hit on their ratings as well.

Well, several months later, the market finally found support off the QE2 Jackson Hole speech by Fed Chairman Bernanke, and the broad market rose 17% in less than 2 months, drawing Main Street's attention to at least start tuning back in to see what's going on and perhaps thinking about get back into the market. 

There was a report circulated around that time that basically detailed that most of Main Street missed that huge rally, as they were not vested in the market from the earlier damage of investor confidence.

Well, Mark must have picked up on the story and basically started talking about it off the cuff, which was not on the day's talking point agenda.  As he was in the middle of literally telling the viewers how most every day investors missed this huge market run, he was immediately interrupted in mid-sentence by the producers and directors that were screaming in his earpiece communication device.

You could almost hear them screaming at Mark to "STOP". 

Of course, Mark had to change the topic very quickly, but it's a perfect example of how the mainstream media spins the news and only reports what they want you to hear.  That's why we always stress to you to do your own research and formulate a sentiment that's not tainted by the spin doctors.

It was indeed quite embarrassing to the network, but shows the true genuine character that was Mark Haines.  I think that is why he was so beloved by many and will be missed greatly, not only for his kind spirit, but for the true value that he shared through his professional career.

If you had the privilege to know Mark Haines, or have a memorable story that helped you profit in the market from his professional journalism, feel free to share with all your fellow Tycoons in the comment section.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Haines family and may he rest in peace.