A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 06, 2008
“Investigate, then invest” (Wall Street saying)

"Investigate, then invest” was the slogan of Merill Lynch in the 1940s. Investors were cautioned to look closely before moving their money, to help ward against fraud and high risk. Many companies have used the “Investigate, then invest” slogan, recorded in print since at least the 1910s.

Investment author Dick Davis has written than “investigate, then invest” is hogwash. The average person has neither the time nor the educate to read and understand complex financial statements. It’s a nice slogan for companies to have, Davis writes, but it does little to protect the investor.


Google Books
August 1913, Hearst’s International Magazine, pg. 321:
Investigate, then invest.

Google Books
9 January 1918, The Outlook, pg. 72 ad:
“INVESTIGATE—THEN INVEST.”
(A. H. Bickmore & Co.—ed.)

Google Books
Your Dollars and Mine:
Being a Group of Simply Told, Non-Technical, Discussions Relative to Thrift, Finance and Investments

By Elwood Lloyd
Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Evening Herald
1924
It reads: “Intelligent inquiry is the public’s great safeguard.” Which is merely another way of saying — Investigate, then invest.

15 March 1931, New York (NY) Times, pg. 89 ad:
INVESTIGATE then INVEST
(The Morris Plan—ed.)

29 November 1944, New York (NY) Times, pg. 30 ad:
We have always urged investors to “Investigate then invest.”
(Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane—ed.)

9 February 1949, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section II, pg. 8 ad
Investigate...then Invest.”
(Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane—ed.)

13 March 1949, New York (NY) Times, “Highways and Byways of Finance,” pg. F3:
It all began several weeks ago when the firm’s resident partner in San Francisco, Ferdinand C. Smith, decided to activate the Merrill Lynch slogan, “Investigate, then invest.”

28 September 1952, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 50, col. 3:
Edward Greene
Dies; Business
Bureau Leader

Promoted High Ethics,
Coined Phrase “Before
You Invest—Investigate”

MAMARONECK, N. Y., Sept. 17.—Edward Lawrence Greene, sixty-eight, who, in twenty-seven years as general manager of the National Better Business Bureau, helped promote high ethical standards in advertising and other business contracts with the public, died today at his home, 1005 The Parkway.

Mr. Greene, who coined the phrase “Before you invest—investigate,” during the bureau’s drive on investment frauds in the twenties, kept a vigilant eye on a wide variety of business chicanery through the years.

He warned the public against “chain selling” schemes which blossomed in the Thirties; charity and obituary rackets; quack cures; revivals and variations of the “Spanish Prisoner” swindle, three centuries old; bogus “Kinsey Report” interviewers or census takers; misleading advertising in the recent department store “price wars,” and uncounted specific deceptions, like a potentially dangerous hydraulic brake fluid, or a certain anti-freeze that contained brine.

12 October 1958, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “More Americans Investing in Various Stock Offerings” by Al Altwegg, section 2, pg. 13:
“Investigate, Then Invest” is what they advise, because let’s face it, you can lose money in this game just as easy as you an make it.

20 March 1963, New York (NY) Times, “Gaps in the Stock Market,” pg. 6:
The exchange has urged that the public, “investigate, then invest”; but if it cannot do a better service job, then the public, after investigating the clouded picture of what can happen in the marketplace, may well decide against investing.

14 October 1973, New York (NY) Times, pg. 181:
Is It Smart For You to Investigate, Then Invest?

Google Books
The Dick Davis Dividend:
Straight Talk on Making Money from 40 Years on Wall Street

By Dick Davis
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
2007
Pg. 193:
Investigate, Then Invest—Hogwash
(...)
A popular slogan on Wall Street has been “Investigate, then invest.” We’re advised by the gurus to do our homework, to study the report, and to “see what you think.” That’s okay for some, but in my opinion it’s nonsense for most of us. We have neither the time, the inclination, nor, most of all, the training to read and truly understand financial statements, cash flow analysis, accounting principles, currency translations, corporate governance regulation, book-to-bill rates, and so on.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, October 06, 2008 • Permalink