Every Bro knows "Greed is good," the quintessential Wall Street term made popular not just in the movies but in the high-risks, high-rewards world of global finance dealings. For many Bros, "Greed is good" has become a way of life — with money of course, but also women, booze, cars, and just about everything else. But there are plenty of other Wall Street buzzwords that can just as easily apply to a Bro's everyday life. In my years working at one of the top New York firms, I've collected a list of terms overheard on the trading floors, at the negotiating table, and in power lunches that the common Bro can put to good use. Here's Part 1…
Definition: Easily accomplished acts or tasks; easily attainable investment gains.
Wall Street: The low-hanging fruit was plucked in 2009. Now we really have to work to create alpha.
Bro: Last night I hooked up with a chick that was a 5 at best, but in all honesty I needed to get laid so my attention was focused solely on the low-hanging fruit at the bar.
Not Saving Lives
Definition: A term used to express dissatisfaction with general indecision, lack of expeditious progress, or an overly serious characterization of something that is in fact not critical in the grand scheme of things.
Wall Street: Please tell Johnson to calm the f*ck down about the investor presentation and take a deep breath. We’re not saving lives here.
Bro: I’m not sure why we spent so much time debating which beer to order for the kegs. I mean we’re not saving lives here. Let’s make a decision and move on.
Finding Out Where the Bodies Are Buried
Definition: Conducting proper due diligence to expose any and all weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or hidden liabilities in a given investment, doc*ment, or person.
Wall Street: I think it’s worth spending money on technical consultants so they can pour over the company’s operations and figure out where all the bodies are buried.
Bro: I asked around about Mandy to find out where all the bodies are buried and learned that she’s a total nut job. Definitely not worth pursuing.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Definition: When it really counts; the moment of truth.
Wall Street: I know they say they’re an excellent counterparty, but where the rubber meets the road I need to know they won’t fall down on the trade.
Bro: Mike is a bit of a hot-head, but where the rubber meets the road you’ll be glad to have him on your side.
Definition: In Latin, the phrase literally means “on equal footing”; in finance, the term is often used when referring to securities or debt obligations that have equal contractual rights of payment or legal seniority within a given capital structure.
Wall Street: The company could issue another $500 million of pari passu first-lien bonds ahead of us, so we have to appreciate the incremental priming risk here.
Bro: There’s nothing worse than when Mike owes me a bunch of money, because I know my money’s not even close to being pari to the thousands of dollars he owes the bookie.
Split the Baby
Definition: In a negotiation, to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that bridges the negotiation and/or value gap between two or more parties at the table.
Wall Street: We can posture all night long about synergies, enterprise value, and leverage, but at the end of the day we all know that the optimal path for all parties involved is to split the baby.
Bro: I wanted to f*ck. She wanted to just make out. We ended up splitting the baby and the result was a delightfully slippery hand job.
Treat Me Subject
Definition: A statement of conditionality on a given transaction. The initial terms have been broadly agreed upon, but ultimately any agreement is subject to final confirmation and in no way is this a binding arrangement.
Wall Street: [To broker] We’d like to be a buyer of $25 million of the 8.375% notes at 89.5 or better. We’ve seen markets at 89-90, so work the order but as always treat me subject.
Bro: I’m almost positive I can make your party on Thursday night, but work might interfere so treat me subject.
Boiling the Ocean
Definition: Attempting the impossible or that which is needlessly ambitious; an exercise in futility.
Wall Street: I understand the importance of assumptions and inputs into the model, but predicting short-term crude prices? Good luck and God bless. Might as well try boiling the ocean.
Bro: When you start drinking at 11 a.m. and keep partying all day, it’s tough to boil the ocean and have an aggressive Saturday night.
Definition: An attempt to control or organize a process that includes elements, entities, or constituents that are fundamentally at odds or uncontrollable.
Wall Street: I’ve never tried to advise a board that’s been more disparate in their strategic views. Getting consensus is like herding cats.
Bro: We were hanging with a group of chicks last night and they couldn’t figure out whether they wanted to go to this bar or that bar. They were all hammered and going back and forth. It was like trying to herd cats.
Lipstick on a Pig
Definition: A term used to express the notion that applying minor aesthetic or superficial changes will not be sufficient to disguise or conceal the true nature of a given security, company, or product.
Wall Street: Listen, I know this company isn’t going to be cash-flow positive for the next decade, but let’s put some lipstick on this pig and get the IPO done. If we get it done before month end, steaks and str*ppers are on me.
Bro: Sure, with three pounds of makeup Mandy looks like an 8. But when you wake up next to her on a Sunday morning, you realize that she’s a 6 at best. Lipstick on a pig, Bro.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and leave your own favorite Wall Street/Bro terms in the comments below…