Prose Header

Volatility Cycles

by Morris J. Marshall

Table of Contents

Volatility Cycles: synopsis

Krista Beauregard, a part-time college professor, is delayed in rush-hour traffic one winter morning. Toronto police have cordoned off the intersection of Yonge and King Streets, and a bloody tarp lies on the sidewalk. Krista discovers that this incident has a personal connection: Gavin McLeod, her former top student, has died in a fall from a nearby office building in which he worked. The police quickly close the case, contending it was a suicide, although one of the investigating officers suspects more is at play. Devastated by the suicide ruling, Gavin’s father asks Krista to help him discover what really happened.

Chapter 13: Suspicions

On Valentine’s Day, Krista arrived at work at eight-thirty and checked her email to see if Haiyuan had sent her an early morning greeting. She found an e-card containing a large red, pulsating heart, asking her to meet him at Hao Dao, a trendy Vietnamese restaurant at Yonge and Eglinton. He had a six-thirty reservation for two.

Krista logged into the DBC Financial website and began checking her clients’ accounts. In the two weeks she’d been there, she’d amassed 25 new clients. Five of them had invested more than twenty-five thousand dollars. Even Carla had been impressed.

As Krista was scanning her clients’ accounts, she became aware of the receptionist’s voice and a familiar voice responding.

“Can I help you?”

“Aye. I’m here to see Krista for my ten-a.m. meeting.”

“Krista!” Marnie called out. “It’s for you!”

Krista ran into the hallway. “It’s great to see you, Bill. Come with me.”

“Nice office, lass,” he said as he walked inside.

Krista closed the door. “I’m not concerned about that.”

They sat down, Krista behind the desk and Bill in front. “We’ll start with $2,000 in an RRSP,” she said. “I transferred the money last night from my savings account into my checking account.”

“That’s okay, lass. I’d rather pay for it.”

“This could be risky,” Krista said. “Let’s use my money. We’ll put it into your RRSP, then track the account.”

Bill fidgeted with his cane. “Sounds like an idea. Gavin found out something before he died. If ‘money talks,’ maybe it’ll tell us what.”

Krista smiled. “Let’s do a basic Risk Analysis for you.”

“What’s that?”

“I have to ask you some questions about your investment style, about the risk you’re willing to take.”

“Ask away.”

“Okay, how much of a dip in your investment would you be willing to accept before you felt uncomfortable? That is, before you were kept awake at night?”


“You’re not willing to accept any loss at all?”

“Uh-uh,” Bill said. “I’ll be officially retired in two years. I need all the money I can get.”

“I understand,” Krista said. “You’re completely risk averse.”

“Where are you going to invest my money? Or, should I say, your money?”

Krista looked at her computer screen. “Definitely not in stocks. We’ll put it all in fixed income. Bonds are much safer.”

As she entered the information into DBC Financial website, Bill asked, “How’s the job going so far?”

“There’s a lot more hustling involved than in teaching. I’m on a quota of three sales per day. Lots of cold-calling. It’s a good thing the stock market’s been strong lately.”

“Gavin found cold-calling tough,” Bill said. “That was the best thing about becoming a manager; he didn’t have to do it anymore.”

Krista went to the printer to pick up Bill’s investment profile. She clicked her mouse to send the paperwork to Carla. “Now I’ll just track this along with my other accounts.”

“I have confidence in you, lass. Are you sure you’re safe here? I don’t want you to put yourself in—”

“I’m fine.”

“Aye.” Bill picked up his cane, raised himself from his chair and walked to the window. “Lots of condo developments going up. You’d think with all those new buildings that prices would be a lot lower than they are.”

Before Krista could respond, her phone rang. “Yes? Okay, thanks, Marnie.” She hung up and looked at her cell. Forty-five minutes had breezed by. “My next client is here. I was enjoying our discussion.”

“Me, too, lass.” Bill hugged her. “I’ll call you later in the week to check in.” He left her office and walked through the reception area, smiling at Marnie on his way out.

During her lunch hour, Krista went into the DBC Website and printed off all her customer investment sales for the past two weeks. She slowly observed each one, starting with the oldest, focusing on the dollar amounts. She compared them with the amounts she’d originally recorded, noting the discrepancies. Something was wrong. She reviewed her accounts over and over again for the next two hours while her lunch sat uneaten on her desk.

Proceed to Chapter 14...

Copyright © 2017 by Morris J. Marshall

Home Page