Most of my PR and professional contacts send Christmas cards, but for the past two years the boutique Wall Street firm, Rodman & Renshaw, has sent me heavy metal piggy banks. I assume the company sends them to its clients as well.
Last year it was an old-fashioned gas station attendant and this year it's a retro deep-sea diver with a treasure chest. I get the cute logic. Occasionally I interview R & R's senior biotech analyst Mike King and I often quote their research on this blog and on the air. There's no quid pro quo. That'd be unethical.
While I appreciate the sentiment, the problem is the pggy banks don't work. Either I'm not following directions or they have a defect. They're made in China and so now I can't even give them away to coworkers with kids because they're worried about the paint. So, they sit on top of the file cabinet next to my desk collecting dust.
But check out the card shown above, that came with the bank. "Happy Holidays from Rodman & Renshaw, LLC This gift complies with NASD Rule 3060". That's the relatively new regulation that prohibits NASD member firms from giving a gift or a tip worth more than a hundred bucks. The value of the thing also complies with CNBC policy.
Whatever the banks cost, they're not worth it. Besides the occasional passer-by who will stop and ask, "What's that?", they're of no use. And they're too heavy to throw in the garbage.Anyone interested?
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com