I was watching Ozark this week, which if you don't know, it is a show on Netflix about a financial advisor who launders money for the cartel. Later in one scene, he is transferring money from a new client to his account, and they show his screen:
Now as any monkey on here should know, there is a big difference between being a financial advisor and investment banking, but to the average Netflix viewer, they're the same. A few weeks ago, my younger brother (who wants to be a doctor) and I were talking, and he said something along the lines of: "I will actually contribute to society being a doctor rather than an investment banker." When I asked him to name one service or activity that investment bankers perform, what he described was what he has seen from "Wolf of Wall Street" not capital raising, underwriting, or advising companies on acquisitions.
What is obvious is Investment Banking has a big PR problem. The general public has no clue of the role of an investment bank. What can be done about this? I see occasionally on YouTube Goldman Sachs has ads about different companies they've helped raise capital and thus expand their business. Stephens Inc. had been promoting this is Capitalism with the goal of:
Introducing a collection of stories of great American capitalists who embody the values of independence, innovation, and dedication. They inspire us to celebrate capitalism, its inherent social contract, and the good it can do for our society.
It explores and shares the stories of Helena Rubinstein, Jack Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, Madam C. J. Walker, Chuck Williams, and Sam Walton showing the power of capitalism. For those that don't know, Stephens Inc. was the co-lead underwriter in Wal-Mart's IPO in 1970 over many banks, including Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. This series focuses on promoting Capitalism, not Investment Banking, but is a step in the right direction of sharing the positives of free-markets and capitalism.
Alan Lee started "The Vampire Squid" podcast when he was an analyst at GS in SF with the goal of increasing education and transparency in finance, as he states at the start of every episode. The name of the podcast comes from Goldman being called a vampire squid after the 2008 crisis because it was viewed as sucking money out of the economy. An actual vampire squid gets its name because it looks like a vampire, and Lee found it ironic that Goldman also only looks like it sucks money out of the economy, just like the squid.
So Monkeys, Investment Banking has a huge PR problem, and multiple companies and people are trying to help, but it doesn't seem to. This obviously doesn't discourage me or most of you from striving to break into the industry, but what do you think it will take to improve the industry's reputation? I think it is a much larger cultural problem of demonizing the rich and successful, and investment banking is the ultimate icon of wealth and success, whether or not it should be. Love to hear your thoughts monkeys.