Bloomberg has an amusing article out today with the headline: "Credit Suisse Traders Keep Rockin' Through Firings." It's about a group of former mortgage-backed securities and other structured product bankers, many of whom lost their jobs, that have a rock band which is going strong. Or at least as strong as an amateur cover band can be going: they command swelling crowds of over 1,000.
The group has kept playing, belting out covers of U2's "Vertigo" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps" even as members have been shaken by the financial collapse. Front-man Allen Oppici, 45, and saxophonist Jason Weyeneth, 30, are working elsewhere on Wall Street, trumpeter Mike Marriott retired, and vocalist Carla Lynne Hall, 41, has changed careers.
"It's the music that keeps us together," Marriott, 46, said from his vacation home in Naples, Florida. "The fact that I'm hanging out at the beach and a lot of guys have left the firm hasn't diminished our desire to play together."
The problem with articles like this, is that they seem to confirm everyone's fears. No, not that they hell might turn out to be listening to a bunch of middle-aged finance geeks butchering classic rock songs.
Most of the guys featured in this article were mortgage or other structured product traders or underwriters. As I just mentioned, they're the ones who purchased or created the rotten securities that caused banks to lose billions. This article makes clear that some of the people who deserve some responsibility for making a mess of the economy retired in their 40s and are sitting on a beach somewhere, or have another cushy job already and spend their non-productive hours playing drums for fun.
But hey, they raised a whopping $50,000 for cystic fibrosis research. That makes up for it.
The same Bloomberg article also mentions that over 183,700 former Wall Streeters have been laid off in the past two years. Very few are sitting on beaches or enjoying great new jobs; many -- the majority of which had nothing to do with the financial crisis -- are struggling to find a job in a world of finance that will never be the same.
The ones that made millions or hopped off a sinking ship onto dry land before being taken under should stop bragging about it. Doing so just creates more resentment and hatred for Wall Street among people who read these stories and think it's the norm. It isn't, and these guys should be content spending their time sipping mojitos and playing in their cover band instead of talking to reporters about how good life is after banking.
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