Matt Taibbi did once again what Matt Taibbi does best: make sweeping generalizations about industries he does not understand. A gem from his latest piece declares “Investment bankers by nature have huge appetites for risk.” Clearly Mr. Taibbi has never met an investment banker. Or, more likely, he characterizes everyone who works in an Investment Banking Division - from Sales & Trading to Legal - as an “Investment Banker.” #fail.
While traders may take huge risks making bets on stocks, bonds, rates, and derivatives, which could ultimately prove costly, true Investment Bankers face much more genteel risks. Particularly M&A Investment Bankers. I list for you below the greatest risks those with “huge appetites for risk” may both take and face on a daily basis.
Investment Banker Risks:
- Mismatched Cufflinks
- Paper cuts from tickets to the Giants game
- Airport delays
- Banker belly (like beer belly, but worse)
- Having a birthday around the same time as Schwarzman
- Forgetting excel keyboard shortcuts
- Missing the birth of your first child
- Going gray and/or bald by 25
- Unaligned tables in pitchbooks
- Trying a new restaurant on seamless web
- Getting herpes from a mistress
- DROPPING IN LEAGUE TABLES
- Replying to the wrong client email
- Forgetting your iPad before a JFK-SIN flight.
- Smaller bonus than your neighbor in Connecticut.
- Losing in ANYTHING to Bank of America
- Inviting client who hates seafood to Le Bernardin
- Submitting the low bid in a bakeoff
- Two words: Commercial Bank.
- Being photographed next to Jamie Dimon.
- Hitting on the new analyst in front of your wife
- Sunburn from Sunday golf with the private equity guys.
- Midlife crisis by 30
- Having your corporate card declined (a real risk at Soc Gen)
- Forgetting wedding anniversary
- Sending a suck-up “great performance” email to a company about to report a loss.
- Your assistant getting the flu
- Taking a vegan CEO to Peter Luger’s
- Not being involved in the latest hot take-private
- Donating a wing to a lesser museum
- Not effectively masking line-items on an expense report
- Clients who don’t fly private
- Getting on the wrong side of Bill Ackman
- Getting a call from the SEC about your big mouth
- Wife getting pregnant when you haven’t been home in months
- Your kids turning out exactly like you
In sum, Investment Bankers may have “huge appetite for risk” concerning their dignity and integrity, but not much else.
* If you concede you don’t mean “those” investment bankers, only traders who work at investment banks, yet continue to use the broad term “investment bankers,” you are intentionally misleading your audience.