It’s prime holiday season. Schools are out. Lawmakers are out. Bankers are on the beach. If you want to identify or avoid bankers in a state of partial undress, how can you go about it? A selection of senior financial services professionals from the U.K., France, the U.S. and elsewhere have made the following observations.
1. The banker will have a Blackberry and will consult it, repetitively
It’s a cliché, but true: apart from riotous British teenagers, bankers are some of the only people in the world who still use Blackberries. “Unlike ‘normal’ people, bankers think Blackberries are secure. They therefore bring them to the beach and will check them incessantly,” says one private banker in Luxembourg.
Another former fixed income trader turned globetrotting academic, says bankers are usually the ones shouting loudly about business into their cellphones.
2. The banker will be wearing a Rolex
“The first thing that comes to mind is that bankers always wear their Rolexes – despite the sand,” says the private banker.
3. The banker will have a nanny
In general wealthy bankers will not turn up on the beach without someone to look after their children, says the wife of one senior French banker. “They don’t like to take care of the kids at all,” she says.
4. The banker will have a lot of toys
Bankers are hyperactive on the beach, says the French banker’s wife. They rarely sit on the sand, preferring to play in their boats. If they do sit on the beach, they will do so in between using their jet ski, water-skiing, or diving.
5. The banker will arrive in a big car
“Look at the cars they drive to the beach,” advises one fixed income trader-turned academic. “There are a lot of Lambos and Ferraris.”
6. The banker’s wife will be wearing an eye-mask
Bankers wives typically cover their eyes on beaches, says the ex-fixed income trader. It’s not clear why this is.
7. The bankers’ children will have a lot of toys
You can spot banking families because the children are often petulant and loud. “The children get everything they want from the kiosks – hot dogs, candy, you name it,” says the former fixed income trader.
8. The bankers will be wearing Vilbrequin shorts
Bankers on the beach will wear Vilbrequin swimming shorts, says one French banker from Morgan Stanley. “It’s like a uniform – they all wear them in San Tropez,” he says.
“Villebrequin are hugely popular here among the bankers’ wives set (for their husbands),” says one U.S. M&A banker. “Perhaps because they cost north of $200 a pair,” he reflects.
[A word of warning: David Cameron has also been known to wear Vilbrequin trunks.]
9. The bankers will have a high degree of self-assurance, often coupled with a negligible level of physical attractiveness
“Yank bankers are balding, pasty, squidgy and check their smartphones every 15 minutes,” claims the U.S. M&A banker “They also have physical confidence unwarranted by their personal appearance.”