There’s a piece in today’s Post entitled “Tools of the Trade” and, not to stroke Rupert Murdoch’s ego or anything but, they certainly nailed it. The mean girls over at Dealbook have already made a new entry in their slambook, though that’s not exactly surprising, given their catty nature. But the article and its subject, “Andrew,” a 24 year-old investment banker, even has mild-mannered gossip blog Gawker passing judgement. Gawker! We were planning on just rising above the whole thing, especially after Dana Vachon surmised that Andy is probably a “Citi branch manager” (we don’t do retail). But then we received a 540-word diatribe on the situation from Tim Sykes and we figured, what the hey. Finance types have been persecuted for TOO LONG. If we have to be the first people to say it, so be it. Next year, in Jerusalem.
First, a quick primer on “Andrew.”
Salary estimate: $190,000, including projected bonus
Suit: Hickey Freeman suit, $2,749
White shirt: "There's a saying in the banking world that you can never have too many blue suits or white shirts. I get mine from Hickey Freeman [$149-$249] as my standby, but I also shop at Charles Tyrwhitt [$99-$200], Thomas Pink [$149-$249] and Turnbull and Asser [over $250]. I get my white shirts heavy-starched."
Collar: "I always buy cutaway collars and French cuffs from the British stores (Tyrwhitt, Pink, Turnbull & Asser), and Barrel (button) cuffs from Hickey Freeman."
Watch: Breitling Navitimer, $5,299
Shoes: Ferragamo loafers, $395 at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Shoe-shining: "I like to shine my own shoes."
Red Bull: "Every two weeks I buy a 12-pack of sugar-free Red Bull. I have one before I get in the shower, and then I drink one on the way to work." [Ed. note: as a very clever DB reader points out: HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??]
“The Speculator’s Stance”
Wow, I never thought I’d be sticking up for an IB, but here it goes. Gawker’s latest categorization of a finance type is just another example of the media’s attempts at putting down the American way of life. Having been the subject of one of Gawker’s previous finance type hatchet jobs, “Timothy Sykes, Capital Schmuck,” I kind of know what I’m talking about. When that article came out, I cringed, but I held back. After reading some famous guy’s misguided attempts at portraying the hedge fund industry in Portfolio, I cringed, but I held back. But now, I’m unable to hold back any longer because this journalistic “style” goes against everything America, for better or worse, stands for.
Gawker seemingly singled out this one IB out of the NYP article basically because his salary was 3-4x that of all the others mentioned. Does he deserve to earn that much more than the other fine folks? Who knows; there’s not enough evidence to judge one way or the other, but Gawker has never needed evidence to prosecute anybody in finance before, so why start now?
Recently, due to our eccentricities and our partiality to talking about how we spend our hard earned dollars, finance types have been targeted by the media. Hedge fund managers feel the brunt of these diatribes because we, as an industry, make the most money and are usually too busy, not to mention forbidden by industry regulations, to respond. Luckily, my fund is incredibly small and my trade setups are rare, so it actually helps me to take time off and reply to such absurdities.
I say let anybody who makes good money do with it what they please because they’ve earned it! Instead of judging or ripping on them, we should praise businesspeople for their pursuit of the American dream and heap additional praise on those who succeed. IBs might not be the poster-boys for businesspeople, but companies still need to raise capital so their services are required. Some hedge fund managers might bet against companies and currencies, but they provide much needed liquidity to these marketplaces and more importantly, make money for significant societal institutions like pension plans and universities even in down markets. Financial dinosaurs, aka mutual funds, cannot claim as much so hedge funds are required.
Society has forgotten that our great country was built on the backs of financial speculation and business expansion. Actors, singers, and athletes have had little impact on society until recently, when new distribution technologies and national lethargy have converged to make entertainment a way of life. Whether I’m watching an athlete hitting a ball very far, a singer soothing my nerves with their songs, a model looking great on while promoting lingerie, or even a monkey playing on a tambourine, I love being entertained. But it sickens me to think that our children aspire to gain fame and fortune through such menial tasks.
It’s sad that a $3,000 suit, a $5,000 watch, and a cocky attitude really help close deals in the business world, but sometimes, that’s just what it takes. Listen up you media bastards: hate the game, not the players.
Timothy Sykes is a hedge fund manager, star of the reality show “Wall Street Warriors”, and author of the upcoming book “An American Hedge Fund”. He can be reached at www.timothysykes.com
Fellow IB'ers with similar sartorial inclinations, be warned: once Sykes's fund takes off, he won't have the time to come to your defense, re: such abusurdities. You (and your suits) are on your own.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE [NYP]