Wall Street's Dour Christmas Parties

Have you ever been to a Wall Street Christmas party?

I mean like a legit one, with everyone wearing three thousand dollar suits and stumbling through mountains of cocaine?  I mean the old school ones from before Dodd-Frank and the credit crash when they used pick out their own live lobsters from a crystal tank and make them fight each other in a ring on the floor before boiling and eating them.  I mean the parties that began at 6pm at Cipriani and ended in the VIP room at the club Marquee (which was itself a giant VIP room during the good old days) and then at one of Amy Sacco’s after-after hours places that were so exclusive you had to show up with the secret password and one of Amy’s baby teeth to get in.

Yeah, me neither.  I was never at one of those.  I swear.

Those parties are a thing of the past, however, as it turns out that minus the freewheeling, anything goes-mentality and a metric asston of leverage, the business of banking is actually rather moribund and mulit-million dollar compensation packages are in no way guaranteed by mandate by virtue of whose dad was “The Man” at Princeton back in the day.

The Emperor never had any clothes to begin with, just an unholy amount of leverage and the ear of their congressmen.  Now that we all know this and have treated their share prices accordingly, the banks have pulled back on the bacchanals quite a bit.

Here’s my friend Kevin Roose at DealBook:

But, mindful of mass layoffs, flagging profits and sustained anger on Main Street, the nation’s largest banks have canceled firm-sponsored celebrations or moved them in-house to avoid the costs and the criticism.

For the fourth year in a row, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have shelved their official holiday parties. The investment banking divisions of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America have also decided against them. But groups of employees at all five firms were permitted to hold — and pay for — their own festivities..

Corporate holiday parties, in general, are on the wane. This year, only 74 percent of companies are holding them, down from 95 percent in 2006, according to a survey of 120 companies conducted by Amrop Battalia Winston, an executive search firm.

Yeah, for some reason, it’s not quite as “festive” when you’re laying off between 2 and 10% of your workforce each year and nobody knows what the business model might look like in a year from now.


For Wall St.’s Big Players, the Holiday Party Is Still Over (DealBook)

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