I planned to meet a friend at a Harvard Hedge Fund event who works for a major nonprofit organization. Everybody shows up for it whether they’re in the industry or not—it’s like a big B-School garden party. Come to think of it, I don’t know what a hedge fund is. So, where did that name come from? That large bush that surrounds the “masters of the universe?” Or is a “hedge” a small malicious animal with sharp teeth—like a rat, trained to point fingers…or claws. I didn’t want to come, but I figured there would be good shoes, cute guys, and shrimp. I arrived early and we were not allowed to touch the drinks. And there were no cocktail franks. So, I had to survive the famine until after the panel discussion. I walk toward the auditorium of the investment firm where the event was hosted, and signed a non-disclosure before I entered the inner sanctum. I sit in my seat and inhale the scent of leather and power. People are a whirl of Wall Street black and grey, furiously checking their BlackBerries. The atmosphere is hushed and private—even reverential. And it should be…
Some of the people in the room probably make more money than a small county, come to think of it. We civilians in the audience are fascinated to be near this tidal wave of cash.
The moderator takes the microphone, “Nothing we say here is true.” All the speakers nod silently. The audience bows in reverence. Each guru takes his turn delivering a market recap and prophesying the year to come. We take notes hoping the wizardry will rub off.
The terms blurred…derivative…long position…Whatever. When do we eat!
Fingers pointing, but all innocent. They’re all good. Right? Like Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs who is doing “God’s work.” What a relief. And he’s just a blue collar guy. I have shirts with blue collars too.
The words echo,”Madoff was not one of us. He was a broker/dealer. He never would have received external clearance.
The room nodded.
There was no shrimp at the reception. Only fried chicken.