Frank A. Sortino sings “The Stock Market Blues” for real.
That is the title of a blues ballad Mr. Sortino, chairman and chief investment officer of Sortino Investment Advisors LLC, Menlo Park, Calif., composed.
While Mr. Sortino is also a professor of finance emeritus at San Francisco State University and founder of the Pension Research Institute, he devotes his spare time to playing the tenor saxophone. On one recent night, he departed from professional work on downside management to pick up a downbeat, sing his blues ballad and play the sax, jamming with musicians at Savanna Jazz, a club in San Francisco.
His song tells a bitter tale of big losses in the 2008 market fall and then finding retribution rather than redemption in short selling in an attempt to outsmart a rising market.
Talking about his performance, Mr. Sortino said: “I'm not giving up my day job.”
Here's Mr. Sortino's melancholy lyrics:
“The Stock Market Blues” by Frank A. Sortino
Now, there’s all kinds of blues, for all kinds of people.
But there’s one group of people that no one sings the blues for. You know who I’m talkin about. Yea, rich white guys on Wall Street. Nobody sings about their pain and suffering — until now. So, for all you rich Wall Street people out there, this song’s for you.
I got those stock market blues. Everything I buy goes down. Remember 2008?
Yes, I got those stock market blues. Everything I buy goes down.
Now the devil’s got me by the coat tails and he draggin’ me under ground. Somebody help me.
My friend said see my broker. I said I’m already broke. I don’t need to get broker.
He said go see my stock broker. He knows how to play this game. What’s his name?
He said his name is Mr. Goldman. Goldman Sucks is his name. Oh, oh that sounds like trouble.
Ol’ Sucks said you been buyin’ high and sellin’ low. That ain’t no way to go. He’s got somethin’ there.
He said what you need to do is sell first and then buy it back when it’s low. How you do that?
He said that’s called goin. Short. But whose shorts is it goin’ into, that’s what I want to know.
So I sold this stock called giggle gaggle Google, I borrowed it from ol’ Sucks
Yes, I sold 50, 000 shares of Giggle so I could really make the big bucks. Gonna be rich
Well, don’t you know that stock started goin’ up and up and up. That’s why now I got a new kind of blues.
I got those Goldman Sucks Blues. I’m so in debt I know I’m goin’ to jail.
I got those Goldman Sucks blues and this is the end of my sad, sad tale.
But before I go I’m goin’ to pick up this horn and wail.
Gimmy some wailin’ music.(Mr. Sortino picks up his saxophone and plays “The Stock Market Blues” melody.)
This article originally appeared in the March 4, 2013 print issue as, "Sortino Investment CIO wails about Wall Street".