we gathered in a lighted tower of a lower Manhattan promontory seminarians listen to discursive ramblings of bank industry experts on the finer points of Basel II Tier Three op risk
towards a better better best practice we pique our ears to hear the critical dispassionate annunciations of expert expertise
a panel of practitioners a panoply of knowledge networking opportunities and hands on insight we are granted institutional affirmation nesting warmly in a corporate cocoon 13 flights up off West Street 10 bucks a seat 30 for non-members
we settle in soulless white rooms divided by long horizontal wall panels bleached of all humanity visualizing phantasmagoric vistas of changing regulatory landscapes in strait backed chairs resembling the blanco armor acrylics of Imperial Stormtroopers
on watch for Black Swans the panel's moderator incants if one appears we told you so if one fails to materialize risk managers have earned their dear keep seminarians chuckle
the dais backdrop a massive SONY plasma screen stares down seminarians with ruminative bleakness. no digital blips or power points will convey any meaning turn a clever phrase sprout a statistic paint a pretty picture, just the plain spoken word of highly credentialed speakers with bios many paragraphs long confers license to speak
the screens blackness a perfect counter point to a rooms spare whiteness and pedestrian furbishment save a day glow Warhol Print of the heroic MTV moon walker and a predominant majority of Far Eastern attendees
questions from the floor drizzle the panel tied tongues use tight selective language of lexiconic colloquialisms speaking a queer vernacular of erudite bombastic bunk
questions are mumbled with increasingly greater acuity dancing around bank meltdowns and global economic catastrophes with a self anointed smug absolution and poignant failure to acknowledge a failures paternity pink elephants and 800 pound gorillas remain dance hall wallflowers
to be sure language evolves the moderator instructs as regulatory guidelines converge to address market flux. Is everyone comfortable with the current acronyms we devised to describe our present situation best laid plans and timely initiatives to safeguard capital adequacy and institutional solvency right here in our own little tower of Babel?
My tie is too tight to clear my throat I can't ask my question of apples to apples dust to dust and oranges to tangerines while the halting speech of others is broken up by timely ring tones from Jeopardy and Gene Autry's Don't Fence Me In
every once in awhile a chuckle is raised we laugh about the score in this inside baseball game of capital requirements regulatory Nexis and smart *** traders plying bold arbitrage strategies blowing us back to Basel I after the global bank implosion oh the hilarity of credit crises and crashes the jokes on us the joke-sters R US
some begin to urgently finger blackberries sending confident commands to be dutifully carried out by young back office minions impatiently waiting hanging on every word of unintelligible texts eagerly biding time to take the solid senders warm seat in these cold blanched rooms
Closing the seminar the moderator's summation offered the thought that her fondest hope remains scenario analysis, stress testing and the new emerging paradigms will become embedded in risk management best practices and that fewer regulators will be needed to regulate and we will continue to be employed (nervous chuckles) clapping reception for networking to follow questions and cocktails in the next room
I move quickly to fill my plate with brie English tea crackers and a smoky tangy cheese. A fellow seminarian approaches me. He smiles and asks, Whats your name? What do you do? I tell him and ask the same. He says he is 50 and unemployed. He sounds unsure and frightened. I bite into a chunk of exotic cheese. ******* crumbs fall onto the lapel of my freshly pressed pinstripe suit.