How IB is depicted in the media

PAJaden's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 16

What movies (or TV Shows) would you say depict Investment Banking most accurately? Would you say movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street are an accurate or an outdated representation of the lifestyle of bankers? I hear The Big Short is an accurate one as well.

Comments (43)

Most Helpful
Feb 24, 2020

Yes, I would say the Wolf of Wall Street is extremely accurate. Especially the part where Leo throws a dwarf at a target. This is common practice at most BBs. Dwarfs are usually hidden in closets until they are thrown at targets on Monday evenings at 8:00 pm. This is commonly known across the Street as "Monday Midgets".

    • 88
Feb 24, 2020

Can confirm. Had multiple supers to be a Closet Dwarf Summer Analyst last summer at some of the BB's (think JP MS GS type).

Array

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Feb 25, 2020

The midget tossing was an actual Jefferies event like 20 years ago that got the firm in trouble. It was the brokerage side, not IB.

99% of the time, the public's idea of "bankers" is not IB but some other person in finance. Often brokers or buy side. Anyone who watched the Big Short and doesn't work in the industry thinks every character in that movie is a banker.

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Feb 25, 2020

Totally agree. Almost all bad behavior in "banking" is institutional sales people of one type or another. Snorting coke in front of a CEO is great way to get black-listed from your industry if you're on a deal team....

  • VP in IB - Ind
Feb 25, 2020

Former group head at my former bank actually did hire midgets at his party in late 90s while at another bank. It was on few newspapers. Investment banking

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Feb 26, 2020

We actually call ours Midget Monday, but yea when 8pm hits it's MTT (midget tossing time)

Feb 24, 2020

Wall Street 1987 is such a great film. Accurate depiction of 1980s finance

Feb 25, 2020

I can't tell if you're being serious...but I don't think that's how it went down. Not even for Boesky or Icahn.

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Feb 24, 2020

Rogue Trader is the most accurate i've ever seen

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Feb 24, 2020

IB isnt depicted in the media lul. I've been meaning to write a novel though and my writing skills are mark twain x george rr martin. I know if i did write it, it'd get picked up by socrcese or tarantino, would u guys support me?

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Feb 24, 2020

Even WSO does not depic IB accurately, I never knew we have to draft 60-100 pages internal memo for all the deals (even bond deals for crappy issuers or small ticket equity placement).

WSO did not tell me powerpoint charting, graphic design and desktop research are the key skills for IBD.

I wish I knew 70% of my time is spent on desktop research and building appendices that nobody reads.

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  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Feb 24, 2020

Oh btw, this vid depicts IBD best

youtube.com/ watch?v=L_LUpnjgPso

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Feb 25, 2020

Banking is too boring to portray accurately in the media...

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Feb 25, 2020

Margin Call might be the most accurate depiction I've seen, and even that's more focused on S&T roles during an actually very interesting, albeit compressed, timeframe. The poster above mentioning most of banking is too boring to display accurately in media is right. Nobody wants to watch an analyst #REF out a model, or a bunch of bankers walk through a DD question list with a client, on primetime TV.

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Feb 25, 2020

The made-for-TV movie of Barbarians at the Gate is probably the best with Shearson Lehman scrambling at the last minute to get a bid together.

Margin Call is close-ish but as mentioned, it is the S&T/Cap Markets side of things.

Although the hands-down most accurate is that single scene in Succession where Kendall is screaming at his banker:

"You're fucking me here. I'm making good faith fucking assessments to my father, and you're making me look like a hack, and I will not have it. Stop sucking each other off back here, and get fucking on it. You pour the shit I'm pouring on you on your fucking minions, and you ride them. I don't care. 24 hours, rolling shifts, crack the fuckin' whip. Everything you're doing is fucking bullshit, and I'm very disappointed in you. I swear to God, I will fucking fire you if you keep monkeying around... Put the fucking snacks away!"

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Feb 25, 2020

Lol - I was going to post that Succession scene. That would be my pick as well

Feb 26, 2020

Succession s2 scene w/ Logan Roy having dinner with his banker who is smooth talking him into accepting the hostile bid for Royco was a pretty slick representation of sellside advisory IMO

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Feb 25, 2020

I think on TV / Movies, more often than not you will see lawyers doing the deals.

I was just watching the Change-Up with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, where they pee into a fountain and switch bodies. There is a tense scene between Jason Bateman's legal firm and an opposing legal where they are trying to hammer out a deal. They were asking for financial information, EBITDA, leverage etc. and one of the lawyers asks about the WACC but says "W-A-C-C". I might be going crazy but found it funny for some reason.

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Feb 25, 2020

Lol lawyers are depicted in TV so wrong, they basically just answer questions from buy-side firms about wtf any of this means before those firms makes decisions.

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Feb 25, 2020

I guffawed at "W-A-C-C" like it's the women's ACC college basketball tournament or something.

Not a big fan of "EBIT-D-A" either but have heard that from CFOs (!!!)

Feb 26, 2020

whats wrong with EBIT DEE AYY... easy man

Feb 27, 2020

Oh my god I had a partner who always said "EHH-BIDUH. Sounded so ridiculous. Everyone else in the room saying it normally, and he keeps saying Ehhbiduh.

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Mar 9, 2020

it's always the old guys that say it

Feb 26, 2020
BankerC159:

where they pee into a fountain and switch bodies.

Wut.

Feb 25, 2020

Margin Call is the most accurate and likely the reason that it's less popular than a lot of other movies but I love it.

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Feb 26, 2020

Check out bad banks, it's a German series so you might need to find a version with English subs but is the closest thing I've seen on screen to the actual vibe of IB. The story is a bit of a stretch obviously.

Mar 13, 2020

Bad Banks was such a huge let-down. Extremely well shot, some interesting characters, especially that Dutch boss - but the story was sooo fucking shitty. Never worked in IB, but even I know that the writers had no fucking clue what they were talking about. Heavens, do we really have no equivalent to Michael Lewis or ARS here in Germany?

Vincet Voluntas - Will shall win

Feb 26, 2020

I only watched the Wolf of Mole street

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 26, 2020

the Assault on Wall Street movie is a pretty good representation for me personally.

Feb 26, 2020

Office Space - not an IB movie, but resonates the same in terms of day to day work,

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Feb 27, 2020

Suits has some characters in IB roles although they work at a hedge fund

Feb 27, 2020

Suits also frequently depicts the lawyers doing bankers' work/giving bankers' advice to clients, and conveniently there are never actual bankers involved in the deals

Feb 27, 2020

Big Short was dead on for that era, especially when he faces the credit rating agency and tells them their rating is wrong, and she says "but they'll go down the street!" (I literally remember hearing stuff like that pre-crisis) , and there you have a good 50% of why we had the crisis, and 100% of the reason why the ratings agencies are now so heavily regulated!
Wolf of Wall Street wasn't about Wall St at all - it was about a boiler room penny stock brokerage. I don't know what their parties were like, but I think the crude language/behavior may have been on trading floors years ago. Again, not really Wall St, more like Marshall's as compared to Neiman Marcus, you know?

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Feb 27, 2020

The movie Equity actually does a great job accurately portraying an IPO process

Feb 28, 2020

Equity and Margin Call are probably the most accurate. I think movie/TV depictions are generally shit, though.

Feb 29, 2020

Can't imagine a show where you watch investment bankers navigate internal politics between product groups and coverage groups. Then you get to watch them turn comments internally and witness the internal conflict the analyst faces when he gets a conflicting set of comments from the VP he's close in his group and the head of M&A. Yikes pass on my side

Mar 2, 2020

Lol - the analyst would probably end up being a supporting character at best and a punching bag for everyone else. Main guy would need to be a senior VP or MD who's got enough autonomy and spends enough time out of the office to have cool things happen to him. Put him at a fictional EB that's NYC based but has clients on every continent and flys people all over the world for meetings.

Mar 2, 2020

On this week's The Analyst, Joe fixes pitchbook details, and we have an in-depth discussion on the finer points of fonts and logo alignment.

Next week: Drama at The Firm! Someone parked in the wrong parking spot! Heads roll and daggers fly!

Mar 2, 2020
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Mar 13, 2020
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Vincet Voluntas - Will shall win