From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
But there's a dark side to the story: the legions of hungry, young investment bankers who make it all happen behind the scenes. Wall Street's young turks attach themselves to anything and everything that generates fees. In the late 1980s it was junk bonds and mortgage-backed securities. In the greedy 1990s and onward it's Internet stocks.
Now thanks to two recent defectors from
Two young MBA hopefuls, John Rolfe and Peter Troob, got sucked into Wall Street right out of Wharton and Harvard, respectively, soaked up the local color and left to tell all a short while later. The scenes are straight out of movies like Wall Street or The Boiler Room: The young associates nurse their supersize egos while their bosses try to crush them; they curse profusely and live large on four hours of sleep a night; they subsidize the strip clubs of Manhattan before Mayor Giuliani took the perk away from Wall Street.
But what do they really do for $200,000 a year? "It took our mothers six months to realize that we weren't stockbrokers, working the phones to sell crappy public offerings to unsuspecting investors," they write. "It took us another six months after that to realize that we were, in fact, selling crappy public offerings to investors." The only difference was that these two associates were shoveling the smelly deals to institutional investors, who then passed the bucket on.
Dave Barry couldn't have written a more schizophrenic tale. In a freewheeling narrative that alternates between the two men, Monkey Business lays out in exquisite detail how pitch books are developed (collaborative yet futile chaos dictated by hierarchy); how an investment bank arrives at a company's valuation (mostly guesswork driven by the desire to prove a company's march toward world domination); how to read a prospectus that an army of lawyers, bankers, accountants and managers have fought over in mind-numbing "drafting sessions" (skip everything except the financial statements). Then there's the story of a fruitless "due-diligence" trip for the junk-bond offering of an unnamed multinational wireless company, a wild goose chase over 12,000 miles through seven countries that yields little substance.
A year into their banking careers, both authors decide to chuck it all and get a life, leaving behind what they call a jungle full of commandeering baboons, dung beetles and busy monkeys. These days they work for a hedge fund, go home at 8 p.m. and toy with a Web site (www.streetmonkey.com) that pokes fun at anything Wall Street, from the relaxed dress code at Goldman Sachs to the demise of the Tiger Management hedge fund. The duo isn't working on a pitch book to take themselves public - yet.