Wall Street loves a murder metaphor.
Every banker wants to make a killing and bury the opposition. There’s a Wolf on Wall Street and an American Psycho in the boardroom. Some bankers at Morgan Stanley, however, recently took the trope too far.
In a 10-minute video titled Margin Games: Manager on Fire, bankers at Morgan Stanley spoofed the Hunger Games book and movie series. In the video, staff from regional offices are chosen by lottery to fight to the death in order to please “Home Office”.
In the Hollywood movie Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and Peeta Mellark, Josh Hutcherson, refuse to kill each other, choosing instead to take poison berries. Life on Wall Street is tougher.
“If it’s only you and I at the end, I promise I will make it as quick and painless as I can,” a woman playing Katniss tells the Peeta character in the Morgan Stanley spoof.
In another scene, managers watching the fight say many of the contestants are dead including the ones who tried to “hide behind lawyers. Those were holograms, the spears went right through.”
The video, first brought to light by Investment News, was intended for a branch manager’s meeting last year but was shelved and never shown. Apart from the bad-taste element the video also contains racial stereotypes. The one Asian character is shown to be a martial arts expert, nailing a dart board with her quiver of hairpins. The managers also struggle, laughing, over pronouncing the name of another fallen banker, Goldsweig.
The spoof stars a number of the firm’s top brass, including Shelley O’Connor, who oversees the firm’s approximately 16,000 wealth management advisers.
According to Investment News Greg Fleming, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, was instrumental in canning the project. Fleming is widely seen as the likely successor to the the bank’s chief executive officer, James Gorman. Fleming reportedly had concerns about how the video would be perceived.
Two months after the managers’ meeting Morgan Stanley cut its number of regions from 12 to eight and reduced the divisions from three to two. Wall Street has lost thousands of jobs since the 2008 financial crisis and Morgan Stanley has been no exception.
According to Investment News, one of the stars of the video had his position eliminated shortly after the movie was shot.
This article was written by Dominic Rushe in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 25th February 2015 16.48 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010