Castlereagh was more than a little frustrated this week that he was not able to pull off a brilliant Halloween joke.
There I was, all dressed up as a ghoul to impersonate local UBS chief, Matthew Grounds, in what I thought was the safe assumption that he would be presiding over some local job cuts, yet nothing happened!
My plan was to walk the corridors of the Chifley Tower, dressed as Matthew Grounds in Grim Reaper mode, carrying a scythe emblazoned with the UBS logo, U’ve Been Sacked!
I imagined popping the fake blood capsules in my mouth and drooling blood as sacked UBS workers got into the lift with me and rode the elevator down to the pub.
There’s nothing like a good old mass sacking at an investment bank – I’ve been a victim, myself – and was hoping to join the UBS staffers at their wake, dressed as their boss.
The parties you have afterwards are memorable, if only I could remember them. We’ve all heard the one about the hired dwarves, right? Just make sure they don’t have sweaty heads.
In a varied career I’ve been frogmarched by hired goons off the premises on many occasions – in Hong Kong, New York, London and Sydney – but have always had the last laugh. After all, Castlereagh is not that cheap to get rid of. Those goons think they are tough but what kind of severance pay do they get?
It seems that the local UBS outpost will be spared the head-office razor gang, however that could be because there’s not too many investment bankers left there. They are lagging Macquarie and those upstarts at Credit Suisse in the league tables, I read only last week. The shame of it all!
But come to think of it, are there many investment bankers left anywhere in Australia anymore? They either took the money and ran to set up boutique wineries, which have probably failed by now, or they’ve segue-wayed into funds management.
Some, ashamed of their previous lives, are now devoted to philanthropy – even though that probably involves getting money off other people with money, rather than using their own.
Others, God forbid, have probably gone off and joined the Big Four, working cheek by jowl with children in short-sleeved shirts, ties and faces full of pimples. The fabulously named Simon Mordant seems to do all right in his new incarnation over at Greenhills, but there’s not much happening out there at the big end of town to get excited about in M&A land.
When was the last time we had a really good old-style takeover battle? I pine for the days of the corporate raider, pillaging the corporate landscape like one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. That was when reading the financial press was entertainment, rather than a chore.
People give poor Nathan Tinkler a hard time largely because he is not built to the same proportions as Hugh Jackman. But at least he’s out there having a crack, which is more than I can say for the rest of you with your corporate-fitness training regimes in company livery!
Now that we are on the verge of Melbourne Cup and about to go into the final two months of the year – when, let’s face it, no work is done at all until after Australia Day – I implore everyone to make the financial industry more fun in 2013. Less plain vanilla, more outrageously named cocktails.
We all seem to be still in mourning for the millions we lost in the GFC. Well, I was there too and I’ve only got one thing to say – it ain’t coming back. The sooner we get over it the sooner a new age can begin, and I’ll be there to lead the charge.