Aptronym of the Month: The Wyly Brothers

Nothing delights the mind more than a good Aptronym sometimes.  Basically we’re talking about when a person’s name fits their personality or profession perfectly.  Someone should keep a list of these for Wall Street people, maybe I will start to.

Anyway, the allegations about the wily insider trading activities of the Wyly Brothers of Texas makes for a kickass aptronym.  Cassandra Does Tokyo has a funny post up discussing the brothers and the perfection of their name / notoriety combination, but I get the sense the writer couldn’t quite put his finger on the term itself.  So now you know.

Anyway, here’s a snippet:

I used to smile sophmorically at the sight of a Dentist named Dr Fang, or a Plastic Surgery clinic named Dr Tuck, just as I have long-chuckled at the sight of the The Wyly Brothers moniker in print. Monday morning quarterbacking is always easy, but I can tell you that there was always something fishy about the way their stocks traded (both Sterling Software and Sterling Commerce) – and now, of course, we know why. Wealthy self-made Texans (however grey their machinations), it seems, are inherently disdainful of regulation and authority, and a sucker for low-hanging fruit irrespective of prevailing law. But rather than being “men” about it (so to speak), and simply taking their  operation private at an early stage, or checking out and becoming a citizen of Belize (like Tory Chair Michael Ashcroft or paper-cup scion Kenneth Dart) or creating their own island state with its own zero-tax and regulatory regime (like the Berkley Brothers),  the Wyly’s chose to speaketh in forked tongues, milking the system for its benefits, while systematically gaming it in reasonably cynical fashion. Even sadder, they authored a now-dubious book about their formula success – one which undoubtedly excluded a few ignoble “trucs de chef”. The Wyly’s, it would seem, expected nothing more than proverbially “having their cake whilst eating it too” versus paying more than their share of tax, forgoing illegal trading gains, or limiting their presence in their beloved fire-ant state to 180 days per calendar year. 

Head over for the rest of the post, like everything on that site, it does not dissapoint.


Wily Wylys (Cassandra Does Tokyo)

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