Not to Kick an Industry While It’s Down…

Why were Wall Street bigwigs kicking their heels up at a conference when the industry is in crisis?

You’d think Wall Street would have a bit more sense, given that legislation regarding its regulation — including that of derivatives, a potentially risky financial instrument which Wikipedia says “can be thought of as bets on the price of something” — is currently, if contentiously, working its way through Congress; but, according to this story in Friday’s New York Times, describing a recent International Swaps and Derivatives Association conference held in San Francisco, not so much:

By Thursday night [conference attendees] needed to put out of their minds the specter of sweeping legislation to regulate the derivatives.

They escaped to Supperclub, a bar and restaurant, where some plopped on the beds that covered the floor while a waiter in denim short shorts, suspenders and a scarf delivered drinks. The truly relaxed turned over on their tummies and received back massages from a dreadlocked member of the Supperclub staff.

By midnight, others ended up in the S & M chamber with a bed-to-ceiling stripper pole and videos of dominatrixes playing in the background.

Oy vey.

Notwithstanding the ongoing controversy within the financial industry and the federal government regarding the practice of derivatives trading, what do meeting planners think about the choice of venue for this conference’s evening event? What guidelines do you use to decide whether or not an off-site event is appropriate? Does it depend on the city — i.e., would what flies in San Francisco seem inappropriate in, say, Kansas City?

Hunter R. Slaton

Contributing Editor Hunter R. Slaton is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn.