Area Hedge Fund Manager Pretty Sure Wall Street Protesters Are Just Looking To Rub Up Against Each Other And Score Dope

Author:
Updated:
Original:

What do top financial services employees think of the month-long protests headquartered in Zucotti Park, which took over Times Square over the weekend? So far the most vocal people have expressed support for the movement, like Jim Chanos, who said, “New York is so finance-centric that people here underappreciate the reaction of the rest of the country" and that OWS shouldn't be underestimated; Larry Fink, who told reporters, "I believe we should not turn our backs on these protests...Maybe we will get some balance"; Jamie Dimon, who told those listening to the JPM conference on Thursday, "I do vaguely remember the First Amendment that it is legal to demonstrate and it is completely fine. You should listen and not just have a knee-jerk reaction"; and Vikram Pandit, who in addition to saying that "trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the US," told protesters he'd love to chat over the phone. With the exception of John Paulson, however, who last week issued a statement telling protesters to 1) beat it and 2) thank their lucky stars that as the founder of a 'most successful business', he chose to set up shop in New York, most financiers with less then charitable feelings have kept their feelings to themselves, fearing retribution from the anti-Wall Street group. Until now.

Over the weekend the Times caught up with a few money managers who can no longer hold their tongues. Despite being confident that the protests are simply "an entertaining sideshow, little more than flash mobs of slackers," they chose to remain nameless but would still like their voices to be heard. Speaking to the protesters directly, they sent several messages. One, they'd appreciate a little gratitude.

“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”

Two, they want the protesters to know that they know what this whole thing is really all about.

Generally, bankers dismiss the protesters as gullible and unsophisticated. Not many are willing to say this out loud, for fear of drawing public ire — or the masses to their doorsteps. “Anybody who dismisses them publicly is putting a bull’s-eye on their back,” one top hedge fund manager said...“Most people view it as a ragtag group looking for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” he added.

Despite the notion expressed by the taxpaying money manager and the hedge funder/Woodstock expert that OWS's beef is unfairly aimed at the industry, others aren't sure there's reason to be getting defensive. “I don’t think we see ourselves as the target,” Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable told the Times. “I think they’re protesting about the economy."

In Private, Wall Street Bankers Dismiss Protesters As Unsophisticated [NYT]

Related

Area Hedge Fund Manager: Leave Harry Alone!

As you may have heard, earlier this week the lovable scamp that is Prince Harry of Wales got in a bit of hot water when he was photographed ass naked in Las Vegas, with a bunch of equally ass naked ladies, following some sort of swim meet with Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte. Those photographs, some of which involved a billiards table and pool cues, were subsequently run on the covers of various newspapers and the Queen, being none too pleased, told her grandson to get on the first flight back to London (apparently in a tone so scary he knew she meant business and "did not mingle with other passengers," instead remaining "in the upstairs cabin of the 747" to think about what he'd done). While it's unclear what kind of punishment the Queen has in mind, or if she's yet delivered the sort of tongue lashing generally reserved for naughty Corgis and her subjects at RBS, in the meantime many have come to the prince's defense and advised the old lady to back off, like the hedge fund manager the Times found on the tube who thinks the Queen should relax and have a good laugh about it. She'd be doing the same thing if Prince Philip ever gave her a weekend off. Among people surveyed at random in central London, including subway commuters reading about the Las Vegas incident on the front page of the tabloid the Evening Standard, the verdict was mostly thumbs-up. “I think it’s quite funny,” said John Daniels, 46, a hedge fund manager. “I’m sure most people would like to be doing exactly the same thing, especially in Vegas. This is his own private time and people shouldn’t be taking photographs of him.” For Prince Harry, Vegas Exploits Didn't Stay There [NYT]