As WSJ reported several years ago, Wall Street has its own secret society. This discovery was not only confirmed by an article in Bloomberg a couple of days ago, but also built upon with evidence that the recession has done little to affect the society's rather healthy existence. (But... is it just us, or has business and secrecy almost never led to good results?)
For one, this Kappa Beta Phi, as the movers and shakers worthy enough of admission call their bro-ssemblage, was founded in 1929, right before Black Tuesday. And yet, the founders were creative enough to state their society's purpose as "to keep alive the spirit of the 'good old days of 1928-29." Right. Because those "good old days" as the society so fondly remembers them had absolutely nothing to do with what immediately followed (poverty, disease, and death to hundreds of thousands of Americans).
Anyway, Bloomberg reports that, on Tuesday, the society, which meets only once a year, gathered at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, where a night in the Astor Suite costs, oh, a mere $1,050 (chump change to these billionaires).
What was the ocassion? New inductees, of course! Among others, former lead of mergers and acquisitions at Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (which, as you've probably heard, went under in 2008, claiming the record for largest ever bankruptcy filing in U.S. history), Paul Parker, who now holds his former position at a new firm, Barclays Capital in New York (no wonder our markets perform cyclically).
Whereas in college, one usually chugs ungodly amounts of booze and runs around naked thereafter singing the alma mater on the campus lawn (as part of initiation), for Kappa Beta Phi's inductees, the process is slighlty more... cavalier, believe it or not. Parker, who is 47, had to play a video, which was filmed years earlier, of who else but his old colleagues at Lehman (perhaps unemployed at this point in time, if not as lucky as him?) doing what else but loading up a time capsule - get it? How insensitive.
There was no mention of what qualifies a candidate induction into the society, but judging by their choice in Parker, one can assume all you really need is a shitload of money - and, probably, some former boss's nephew's colleague's connection.
Is this kind of like the big-shot version of the Native Society?
[Image via Davidson]