Free Vegas Trips, Cocaine And Hookers: A Peek At Real Banker Life

Tyler Durden's picture

Think frontrunning clients, trading against recommendations, manipulating LIBOR, and slamming gold at the London fixing is all investment bankers do? Wrong. What really happens in banker life is far more exciting and enjoyable (at least for preferred banker clients) as the following story by the WSJ's David Enrich shows.

In reality, the activities that bankers seem to spend the most time on, is treating their "preferred clients" with free gambling trips to Las Vegas, skiing in Chamonix, flying wives and girlfriends in helicopters, doing blow in industrial amounts, and, of course, cavorting with strippers and hookers. All paid for by some unwitting clients of course. It is this environment of utter and perfectly permitted, if not encouraged, debauchery that allowed scandals such as the Libor fixing "conspiracy" (first theory, then fact of course), to flourish, and which makes being a banker still the most desired job in the world (contrary to beliefs that it was all about the passion of crunching goalseeked DCFs at 2 am in the morning).

A quick summary of what really goes on behind the glass doors:

And a more detailed one:

Neil Danziger's trades for Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC generated rich commissions for the brokers who handled them. In return brokers at London's Tullett Prebon PLC took Mr. Danziger to London strip clubs and spent long weekends with him in Las Vegas... Brokers at R.P. Martin Holdings Ltd., another London firm, gave him early access to lucrative trades, these people say.
[B]rokers routinely reward valued traders by returning a percentage of their commissions in the form of entertainment. Brokers have paid for traders to spend weekends in the Alps and Saint-Tropez, and on occasion, have even bought them cocaine or prostitutes, according to people who witnessed such activity.
The London brokers and traders interviewed by the Journal estimated that roughly 5% of the brokerage commissions a trader generates often come back to the trader in the form of various perks. It isn't uncommon for a brokerage to spend $50,000 a year entertaining a single trader, they say.


While plenty of client entertainment takes place on Wall Street, traders and brokers say such activity is even more prevalent in London.


As recently as last summer, BGC Partners Inc., a New York-based brokerage, dispatched limousines to the homes of top traders at London banks. The limos ferried the traders' wives and girlfriends to a helicopter, which flew them to the Royal Ascot—a marquee event on London's social calendar—for a day of horse races, according to people familiar with the event.


ICAP has treated traders to ski weekends in Chamonix, France, according to a former bank trader who attended.


Several former brokers and bank traders said they witnessed brokers providing clients with cocaine or prostitutes.
Compliance departments at some brokerage firms cross-check brokers' entertainment expenses against a "banned list" that includes a database of major strip clubs.


Brokers take traders to strip clubs anyway, according to former traders and brokers. When taking traders to strip clubs, Tullett brokers sometimes paid cash out of their own pockets, according to one trader who participated. The trader said the brokers told him they expected to be reimbursed after submitting inflated expenses for taxis.


In a separate incident, after one broker took a trader to Las Vegas, the trader sent a batch of orders to a rival brokerage, prompting the broker to send an angry missive to the trader demanding to know why, according to a person who read the note.


In one of the few cases brought, the Financial Services Authority in 2010 banned from the industry a broker at Tradition Financial Services, Fabio De Biase, for showering a hedge-fund trader with approximately £131,000 ($200,000) worth of cash, gift vouchers and gold bullion in exchange for higher commissions. The agency said Mr. De Biase violated an FSA guideline that requires finance-industry professionals to "act with integrity."


While the FSA didn't take any enforcement action, police in London are now investigating whether brokers provided illegal kickbacks, these people say. "There aren't specific rules about whether you can send your clients to go see prostitutes," an FSA spokesman said. "You have to pick what sort of things you look at as a regulator." (Prostitution itself isn't illegal in the U.K., but soliciting a prostitute in public is.)

Why the lavish entertainment expenses that make working 20 hour days, enjoyable? (and the millions in comp, of course). Very simple - (s)quid pro quo of course.

One former ICAP derivatives broker says the morning after treating a trader to a night out, "there would be a line of trades for me. I didn't even have to ask."


The difficulty of proving a quid pro quo helps explain why British authorities seldom go after brokers for lavish entertaining, according to industry participants and lawyers.

And, of course:

U.S. and British authorities believe that brokers' eagerness to please trading clients played a key role in the Libor scandal.

Damn, it feels good to be a banskter...

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Kristian's picture

So they are not only fucking their clients and taxpayers.

Deo vindice's picture

When men (or women) lose their moral compass, it doesn't just affect one aspect of their lives.

LetThemEatRand's picture

These guys have a compass, but it only points to one kind of pole.

TrumpXVI's picture

Yeah, and the needle is always "erect".

Dr. Richard Head's picture

I agree, but posit Darwin takes way too long to correct natural inefficiencies.

derek_vineyard's picture

the rich always control the poor

Surly Bear's picture

Poor form! What happens in Vegas...stays in Vegas....

jbvtme's picture

can't wait for the banks to start accepting gold deposits...

HobbyFarmer's picture

This may come across as sour grapes, but it's as true as anything I've ever shared.  I wouldn't trade my life for any of theirs. 

I love my wife, love the boys I'm trying to raise into men, like my job, love my hobby growing and raising food and am as content as a man can probably be.  Or, at least as content/happy as I have ever been.

The bankers can take the bailouts, ski trips, blow, hookers, and whatever else they have. 

I woke up this morning and got to help a son with his 3 ducks he's raising for 4H after doing my own chores.  Tonight is "boys night" when my wife gets a couple hours off while the boys and I do chores and watch our one hour of tv per week (survivor--watch online since we don't own a tv) and talk about what we'd do if we were on the show.  Several evenings now, before bed, we've been laying out on the trampoline under a pile of blankets watching for shooting stars.  My boys beside me doing something we like to do...(cliche incoming!) priceless.  We've been improving our meadow by cleaning out rocks (to build a wall for our pigs) and the joy these boys get from working with me means the world to me.  God, I am a lucky man.

I'll keep my life and living it the way I am.

For what it's worth, I've got a brother in law who graduated from a top 5 mba program and is a banker with the ambition and work ethic to do anything....his goal?  Work for Goldman Sachs.  He laughs at me when I mention enjoy shoveling manure and working early/late hours + weekends to get my small farm up and running.  The sad thing? when his family comes to visit, the children sob when it's time to leave. 

My country home provides my family a paradise his riches will never earn. I honestly don't envy him the income he makes (with his bonus it's 4 times what I earn in a year).  I wonder if/when he will wonder what he gave up.  Because we're related, I hope it's sooner than later.

As for the rest of the bankers, I don't give a damn about them. 

jumbo maverick's picture

You should not have written that. You have just jumped to the top of the drone list.

AldousHuxley's picture

The real smart bankers or any professional out there leave the game once they hit their number. Even Dave chapelle faced same decisions on to make more money making fun of his own race or quit with enough to survive. He chose a farm in Ohio.

More flash= more self delusion

After 3 million in assets (~100k/ year residual income)your time becomes more valuable.

If you don't set a limit for yourself, you are going to end up divorced and having your assistant buy and deliver birthday gifts for your children in boarding school

chumbawamba's picture

If anyone had any pings of envy over these guys, don't.

Galatians 6:7

I am Chumbawamba.

redpill's picture

Fuck Royal Ascot anyway, I'd rather go to Del Mar.

francis_sawyer's picture

Where the 'SERFS' meet the turf...

SamAdams's picture

Paid cash at strip clubs and later "they expected to be reimbursed after submitting inflated expenses for taxis".   Either that is one very expensive taxi, or one very desperate stripper.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

I'd leave the bankrupt system sooner than later.  Like Bill Gross, we'll all be getting grossly desperate very soon, when they come for your money/401k.

Ron Paul + Jim Rogers on the government: "They'll use force and they'll use intimidation..."

Here's a video clip with Ron + Jim, from the Sovereign Man Offshore Workshop, at Hotel W, Santiago, Chile, a month ago:


Ooops, did I front-run a future posting?

Manthong's picture

James T, yeah you did

HF..  good stuff..

if you care to divulge.. what neck of the woods?

I am shopping for new neighbors.  state/county is close enough 

HobbyFarmer's picture

Sheboygan county Wisconsin.  Good people, surrounded by farms, men and women who know how to work and know  how to produce.  this is one of the necks of the woods that will rebuild America when the time comes.

francis_sawyer's picture

I hope you have a decent tractor... I've been clearing out rocks from the meadow for the past 4 years now [about 50 sq, ft at a time] with a mattock & my back... Last 2 days has been biting gnat parade city... I just keep thinking about 'Cool Hand Luke' while I work...

Manthong's picture

good cheese and a nifty airshow up there, too.

and I’ve heard there was a football team somewhere in the vicinity.


aragornsos's picture

Nice.  I'm just a little to your south in Illinois ;)  But we have space up in Wisconsin that will do quite nicely "when the time comes".  Back up plans and all of that...


Grew up and learned the basics of farming from my dad back in Massachusetts, and helping the old man down the road who paid us like $1 a bushel for picking green beans, corn and such.  Fun times.  Learned to value money, learned to value what you get then you have to expend actual LABOR to produce something.  At least I know enough to be able to produce when we get to that point (wish I had enough now to drop out and off the grid and start the producing now, but have to live in reality with a family that's still pretty much all just sheep, unfortunately.)

zerozulu's picture

I heard in the news that a granny wants to move to Idaho!

Hopeless for Change's picture

Isn't it sad that jumbo maverick's comment is a joke that we all get?  This man is celebrating his independence and we all know that this will anger the government, who relies so heavily upon dependants that they are feverishly creating millions more. 

BostonBill99's picture

I know many on here will give you crap about what you wrote, but for me, I say Bravo, HobbyFarmer, Bravo!!

Goldbugger's picture

When the Trillions in derivatives explode your brother in law will come a knockin.

HobbyFarmer's picture

He and his family will be accepted with open arms.  Family first.  We all make bad choices.  And his choices aren't all bad.....any more than mine are all good.

chumbawamba's picture

God Bless you, brother.

Observe: here is a man that has discovered the secret of life.

I am Chumbawamba.

francis_sawyer's picture

God's Chosen People doing 'God's Work'...

Thisson's picture

Fuck off, Francis - you mean God's Chosen people such as Anshu Jain?  Jamie Dimon?  Come on, already - you're a one trick pony and it's very monotonous.

otto skorzeny's picture

prove him wrong that they don't hold alot of jobs in high finance in proportion to their 1.7% of US population. also O just appointed a few more to top spots- pritzker( who put his black ass in the WH) and some other yid.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

My bank already does. They charge a fee in fractions of ounces per year to hold the bullion.

1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

Man must abide by a moral code, God fearing or not. If a person is say over 25 or so there is no way to rationalize hookers and blow because in your gut you know it is not moral . Been there done it all the time knowing.

dontgoforit's picture

Me, too; but I've changed my ways - long time ago.  And it's not about the money, though it is tough to get on without it.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Oh? I believe in a free market and I believe the government has no say in what’s moral. So when it comes right down to it what’s IMMORAL about hookers if it’s all consenting? Sex is consenting, trading money/goods is consenting, generally apart we don’t all say those are bad things, so by what morality magic is the combination of the 2 suddenly immoral? Seriously, what is the logic?  As for blowcaine it’s natural from the environment just not purified like that. Then again, penicillin isn’t naturally purified either, nor is silver typically found at .9999 purity, yet we accept this. Why? What’s the logic in your morality? Or do you simply expect us all to take it on faith?  I don’t advocate hookers ‘n’ blow but the banksters bother me not for how they spend the money but for WHO’S MONEY THEY ARE SPENDING. It isn’t theirs, it’s taken by force, fraud & collusion. THAT is clearly immoral as it is NOT with consent.

MachoMan's picture

Everyone has a compass...  sociopathy is INCREDIBLY rare.  The problem is that virtually no one has any integrity (degree of adherence to their moral compass).  Hence why the job requires a hookers and blow lifestyle...  it's just a natural coping mechanism.  Some might aspire to do such things, but that's typically a response by shallow people who have no choice in the matter. 

Bobbyrib's picture

How rare can it be? Everyone in CONgress besides Ron Paul is a sociopath who is out for their own benefit and would not care if the whole country collapsed tomorrow as long as they were enriched. Unfortunately, I think sociopathy is not as rare as it should be. How the hell did we elect so many sociopaths in Congress, locally, and at the state level? How did we allow the President to appoint Bernanke, and allow the local Fed governors to control our lives economically?

Nightblade's picture

To be successfully elected in a democracy, you have to be very skilled at controlling other people's minds (to make them want to vote for you).  The type of person who is best at that skill is a sociopath.  Thus, all politicians are sociopaths.

Bobbyrib's picture

I do agree, but look at the network these sociopaths create once in office. The financial institutions and our elected officials are now working together to fuck every non 1%er out of their wealth. Troubling to say the least.

AldousHuxley's picture

People who are obsessed with power money fame will sacrifice family, ethics, even their own health and happiness to achieve them.

For best results in life seek out people who have balanced lifestyles. You never notice them but they are there.

MachoMan's picture

sociopathy is a medical diagnosis... I don't think most of the people you consider to be sociopaths would meet criteria...

You're getting "patently retarded", "obnoxiously self interested", and "high machiavellian aptitude" confused with "sociopath"...  The former "cares" but is incentivized not to...  the latter may not "care" at all (robot) and/or literally has a starved moral compass (not fully developed or incredibly skewed).  Big difference.  One is a complete human that is an asshole (or I think more likely in this case, completely ignorant), the other is something less than human and probably cannot ever regain that lost area.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

My immoral compass musts be broken, as I've experienced Vegas, Ascot, Wimbledon, Formula 1, etc.  But they all bore me to tears -- would not want to go back a 2nd time.  All hype and faux-status.  Would much rather do a Nature activity with good friends or family. 

Of course skiing in Chamonix, with French food & wine... hmmm, could be tempted, could be taken on a holiday.  [Monty Python skit: Holiday pictures, photographs, your wife - is she a 'goer'?, know what I mean, know what I mean?  Say no more!]  ;-)

SMG's picture

The bankers party, while 1 in 5 people can't afford to feed themselves, including millions of children.   

Where is justice, when will people become outraged by this?



combatsnoopy's picture

They party with their nasty tranny looking wives, stinky crotch infested hookers and meth laced cocaine so they can maliciously rob and starve people. 

OMG.  And Charlie Sheen was ostracized.  Spitzer was ostracized.  At least they can get pretty women.

Charlie Sheen -did his own partying with his OWN money.  Damm pissed dem bank welfare whoring "flowerchildren" off-jealousy is a b*, isn't it?

roadhazard's picture

I want to be Charlie Sheen when I grow up.

cifo's picture

I wanted to be Hugh Hefner.

somecallmetimmah's picture

Divorced, impotent, reviled and near death?


combatsnoopy's picture

It's Gin and Tonic all the way to Cougartown! 

Be careful what you wish for.

cifo's picture

At 80+, he is surrounded by more beautiful women than all of us here will ever be.

But I should speak for myself :)