Top 5 cultural references Wall Streeters use when ripping people offFebruary 6, 2013: 12:10 PM ET
Wall Street is stuck in the 80s.
FORTUNE -- Libor fixing and a spate of other recent cases against financial firms have once again raised the question of whether the culture of Wall Street is corrupt. It may not always be clear, but what's obvious from the legal complaints is that Wall Street's cultural references are behind the times.
1. Talking Heads
According to the DOJ civil suit against Standard & Poor's, an analyst at the firm, after reviewing S&P's ratings on 2006 mortgage bonds, wrote a parody of the Talking Heads song "Burning Down the House," mocking the subprime mortgage bonds that the firm rated highly. The title: Bringing down the house. First verse:
Housing market went softer
Strong market is now much weaker
Subprime is boi-ling o-ver
Bringing down the house
Weird Al, your job is safe.
In his op-ed, Why I Quit Goldman Sachs, Greg Smith said that traders at Goldman regularly referred to their clients as muppets. They also talked about ripping clients' eyes out, which is less adorable.
3. Captain Chaos
One of the nicknames UBS's libor traders used for each other when they were fixing rates was Captain Chaos, the lovable alter-ego of Dom DeLuise in the Cannonball Run movies. Not clear why. Libor fixing didn't appear to have taken much super strength, just a phone call or an e-mail and a dated nickname. Dun dun Dunnn.
4. Mike Tyson's Punchout
According to e-mails uncovered in a suit against Morgan Stanley (MS), investment bankers at the firm considered naming a mortgage bond that ended up going bust after the 1980s video game Mike Tyson's Punchout. Other names put forth for consideration were nuclear holocaust, subprime meltdown and shitbag. They went with STACK 2006-1. Good choice.
5. Trading Places
According to the DOJ suit filed Tuesday, an analyst at S&P made a reference to the famous Eddie Murphy and Dan Akyroyd film that featured Chicago's commodities trading pits in describing what it was like at S&P in 2007 as the highly-rated mortgage bonds fell in value. The analyst wrote an investment banker, "You should see how it is here right now. It's like a friggin' trading floor. 'Downgrade, Mortimer, downgrade!!!'" Not feeling so good, Billy Ray!!!