A few unfortunate ‘baller bankers’ found out the hard way that, even if you are rolling in cash from your high-paying job in finance, there are plenty of exclusive clubs in London that will turn their nose up at your very existence.
Jonathan Downey, owns one of these places – London’s East Room on the edge of Financial District. Downey had some pretty harsh words for a Bloomberg article chronicling this proverbial slap in the face of all the city’s finance employees:
"We don’t want the archetypal City idiot, waving his cash about at the bar and braying like a buffoon and annoying women," said Downey, 42, whose club charges men an annual membership fee of 350 pounds ($655). Women pay 150 pounds.
Financial workers, who make up 85 percent of employees in London’s City square mile, are being shut out of the most exclusive clubs. Passed over by centuries-old establishments such as White’s and Brooks’s, which prefer nobility, military officers and politicians, bankers aren’t welcome at the newest venues either. They’re not cool enough, said Mark Wakefield, U.K. head of clubs at the Quintessentially concierge service.
"If you work in the City, unfortunately this is something money can’t buy," said Wakefield, 25. "Lawyers, bankers, even property developers they’re not that keen on. They want creative people." Wakefield advises clients on which clubs would suit them as well as favor their applications.
I would be totally outraged if I were one of these snubbed bankers. They’re just looking for an exclusive place to hang out, have a few pints of brandy, get entertained by some well-mannered and polite butlers, and watch a 17 hour game of cricket. Is that too much to ask?
We may be underestimating the exclusivity of some of these ‘clubs’ though. Turns out most of them have yearly dues costing several thousands of dollars. There is also an essay contest questionnaire review board for all those seeking entry – "What makes you laugh? (in 10 words)", "How do you think your friends would describe you? (in 25 words)", etc.
And seeing as how these clubs favor members of the ‘creative elite’, it might be a little on the tricky side for some pie-graph charting banker types to sum up the ‘creativity’ necessary to describe cleverly and briefly enough what makes them laugh.
My advice? Move to Wall Street, we did away with that nobility thing years ago. As long as you’ve got enough ‘benjamins’ for bottle service, you’re in.
Bloomberg: London Clubs Rebuff ‘Braying’ Bankers, Favor Style Over Wealth, August 15, 2008