When they are not dressed in power suits and rushing for back-to-back meetings, bankers indulge in a number of sports. In business and pleasure, social levity is the hallmark of financiers and it comes as no surprise that their sports are marked by these qualities.
If football is the beautiful game, then golf is the golden game. The green is the sporting equivalent of a martini lunch where handshakes are traded and deals get concluded. Even the vocabulary of golf finds parallels in the language of finance. For example, the word “par” which is used in golf to indicate the predetermined number of strokes that a golfer is required to complete a hole, round or tournament also denotes whether a stock is above or below its normal level.
A recent survey by Saxo Bank found that cycling has grown in popularity among London City’s professionals following the 2012 Olympic victories of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy. Saxo Bank has capitalised on this phenomenon to launch a “Ride like a Pro” campaign. The campaign will see the Tour de France team’s coaches train 30 of its close clients who are passionate about cycling.
The cousin of cycling, the triathlon is an equally demanding physical activity that attracts highly driven and motivated executives raring to be physically challenged. For example, Meredith Kessler, while working 60 hours work weeks at RBC Capital Markets, decided to step up her involvement from recreational participation in triathlons and Iron Man competitions to professional competition. Mrs Kessler attributes the appeal of the triathlon for finance professionals to competition, camaraderie and a healthy lifestyle.
Fitness goes a long way in the boardroom and bankers are not oblivious to that. Whether it’s Weightlifting, Yoga, Barre or Spin, the gym has enough on the menu to cater for one and all. And there are exotic activities too. For example, SoulCycle, a chain of 39 studios across U.S, offers community-based indoor cycling with inspirational instructors and rocking music in candlelight.
Mixed Martial Arts
Richard J Byrne, former chief executive of Deutsche Bank Securities, has been a Wall Street evangelist of the martial art best known for its display on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Having arranged the financing deal for the Fertitta brother’ purchase of the UFC, it was not long before Mr Bryne was introduced to the sport. Since then, Mr Bryne has actively trained in MMA under the watchful eye of Erik Owings, a professional MMA fighter. Most impressively, Mr Bryne launched his MMA gym, Mushin, as the sole investor.
As sporting activities come to play a bigger role in making meaningful connection instead of engaging in intense competition, the chain-smoking and boozy “Mad Men” lifestyle of the 60’s will be replaced by the #fitspo executive channelling their drive for financial gain to fitness gain. “Sweatworking” will become the next social du jour.