I assume the searcher is asking about percentages, in other words are investment bankers more often sociopathic than the norm?
Well, it just so happens that I spent over twenty years working for Wall Street firms. A distant second source of employment were law firms. From my experience I would say that there seems to be a higher percentage of sociopathic bankers than lawyers, which might seem surprising.
I spent at least a year, either as a permanent or freelance, at E.F. Hutton, PaineWebber, Drexel, Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers, Union Bank of Switzerland and UBS (after the merger with the dominant partner Swissbank). I was at Drexel during the go-go years when support (operations) staff were buying cars for cash with their bonuses (I was freelance at the time unfortunately). I was there at then end when support staff were asked to leave a professionals only why-Drexel-is-closing meeting. I was at Salomon Brothers on Black Thursday, and later, from a computer room, heard names being called out on the trading floor — those called had a half hour to gather their stuff and leave the premises.
Of these banks I personally knew or knew of sociopaths at E.F. Hutton, Lehman Brothers, PaineWebber and UBS. I strongly suspected Salomon’s Gutfriend’s wife to be a sociopath but I suppose that doesn’t count. From news stories, I’m sure some of the Drexel senior bankers and executives were sociopathic but I had no personal contact with them and no entry to their offices. But if one accepts that one can often recognize sociopathic arrogance and attitude at a glance, as I do, then all Wall Street companies with trading floors have sociopathic employees.
In my opinion, E.F. Hutton was actually a sociopathic enterprise led by the sociopath Bob Fomon (this became obvious about Bob Fomon over time and for many reasons). Sociopaths of the SAP (socially adept psychopaths) variety, cluster. As permanent children the world is a daunting place for them — or to put it another way, they are all strangers in a strange land. They will gravitate towards those SAPs who are more able to navigate the outside world. Low level, unable to defer gratification, astronomically egotistical sociopaths don’t play well with other sociopaths and “King Sociopaths,” those at the center of sociopathic clusters, seem to often resent interacting with other “King Sociopaths.” Many people believe sociopaths are loners due to these two reasons, I think, but I believe the majority are not.
And of course, a sociopathic enterprise offers the promise of corruption for all.
Bob Fomon had the self control and ability to defer gratification to be a successful sociopath (in the sense of passing for normal and having a successful career) but he was unable to hire other sociopaths of his caliber. The sociopaths underneath him could not keep their hands out of the cookie jar however.
Sociopathic stories from Hutton:
- I recall Bob Fomon having a fondness for teenage female company (of legal age) but he felt he had to claim the relationships were platonic. I don’t believe he found many believers — sociopaths will try the stupidest explanations, any excuse will do. When he showed up with a foot in a cast, the jokes went that he must have fallen off that red velvet swing. And at his age.
- I knew a high vice president who was rumored to be having a long-running affair with a gay manager underneath him. When I mentioned this to a young female co-worker she said “No that’s not true. He merely calls him every morning.” This same young friend had warned me earlier not to believe any rumors that she was having an affair with the same vice president. Slow on the uptake, I said, “What! How do you know that?” Anyway, when the day came that management wanted the gay manager to leave the employment of Hutton but apparently not wanting to fire him directly, the vice president simply took away not only his office but even his desk. The deskless manager was forced to wander like a ghost until he quit on his own. I’m sure it was emotionally devastating for him. Sociopaths seem to enjoy pulling that emotional rug out from under their lovers when they discard them. An element involved, I believe, is their resenting having been cast as a emotional partner when they feel no emotions and they decide to show that in the end.
- The check-kiting scandal that brought down Hutton — just what were they thinking? Of course that was in the day and age that Wall Street banks relied on their reputation and needed their clients to survive as opposed to trading on their own account against their clients.
Sociopathic stories from UBS:
- I considered more than one high level officer of my division to be sociopathic. In addition I have never worked with a higher percentage of children of sociopaths. The children of sociopaths, almost without exception, are deeply, deeply humiliated (without ever recognizing the sociopathicness of the humiliating parent). The constellation of traits is actually easy to recognize, though sometimes they internalize the sociopathic humiliator to such an extent that they may be taken for sociopaths themselves. And, of course, they are very comfortable working with sociopaths (as in, being totally oblivious to it).
- Under the UBS corporate structure, the regional heads had enormous power. Many became combinations of screaming babies and lord high potentates. With outside restrictions removed sociopaths know no restraint. I’m not saying that they all were sociopathic, but more than one were, in my opinion.
- The junior bankers were often terrorized by these regional heads and would beg us in NYC to go along and do what their bosses wanted. I would hear such phrases as “He’ll win anyway don’t fight him“, “He just has to have his own way“. They knew their bosses were screaming babies but they never drew any conclusions.
- Some managing directors seemed to be very mild mannered to outsiders but their staffs were utterly terrified of disappointing them. One sees such manipulation by sociopaths often. Warren Jeffs comes to mind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Jeffs).
- A pathologically lying sociopath (i.e, a pseudologue, the condition is called pseudologia fantastica) found complete safety at UBS for years. When he was hired he claimed to have just gotten over both leukemia (seemingly, a cancer hoax favorite) and a kidney transplant. Five years later he brought in a cake one day, saying it was his fifteenth year of remission from leukemia, apparently having forgotten his earlier story. When confronted he was smooth as silk, an incredible performance. However others, including management, still protected him. He was kind of like a Schmoo, anything you wanted in a friend. But in reality he was the equivalent of a calculating machine always calculating what his object wanted from him — if, a big if, it suited his purposes. Like all sociopaths he was a genius at getting others to take care of him and quite a few co-workers were heavily emotionally invested in believing in his Schmoo friendship.
- I believe this same pseudologue found further safety in the embrace of a male sex-party ring, that included members from all levels of employment, that was rumored to exist (ten years worth of rumors and drunken comments). Also see Not frat boy behavior, sociopathic behavior. I don’t care what people do in private, but in a corporate setting and with members of management involved such activity is not a private matter. I believe this ring helped further this pseudologue’s security (not to mention the possibility of explicit or implicit blackmail) and he branched out into puppetmastery, slander and workplace bullying. The manager whose responsibilities he essentially co-opted was absolutely unaware of it. She was his biggest devotee — his word was golden, and she seemingly couldn’t stand to disappoint him. Uncanny.
- There was something else worth noting about this pseudologue. In a sense he became a King Sociopath, i.e., one that other sociopaths clustered about and followed. As a pseudologue he literally had all the certainty of one who makes up their own facts. (It seems pseudologues know they are lying, but they seem to think everyone is lying and that there is no “real” reality.) This certainty carried weight with more childish sociopaths (some of whom were much higher than him in the corporate hierarchy) looking for help in dealing with the non-sociopath world.
- One time a junior banker (later a managing director) came by, all excited that his young children had included him in a discussion of whether folding toilet paper or bunching it up was a better technique. This was something he could relate to instantly. Sociopaths, as part of their arrested development, are endlessly fascinated by bodily functions. “‘[The Manipulator] loves to walk down the street in pride and certainly, knowing he’s but one moment away from an attack of diarrhea. This makes him unique among the masses. The Toxick Magician always views his adversary with his head in the toilet bowl“, http://www.scribd.com/doc/11554313/The-Psychopaths-Bible.
- I recall a junior banker, with a Harvard degree, who was famous for an occurrence of semi-public sex at one of our corporate holiday parties. He and a very willing, very drunk partner availed themselves of a stairwell with co-workers peaking in amazement around the corner, as I understand it. She left soon after, but he was there for years, no doubt thinking it was totally normal behavior. For more on the sociopath’s lack of need for privacy see Menace to society: Nushawn Williams should be involuntarily committed as a dangerous psychopath.
- The holocaust gold history of both Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank, both historical and modern.
Derivatives are a whole other issue — though perhaps more what the searcher had in mind, rather than the vignettes above. There is no question that derivatives were hatched by a sociopathic mind or a sociopathic modality mind. The notion of derivatives (essentially insurance but with no need that the buyer be a stakeholder, i.e., they’re sidebets, pure gambling) is grotesquely irresponsible, ignorant of reality, ignorant of cause and effect, ignorant of what drives economies. Financing is the tail of the dog, not the dog. The financial service industry has to serve the greater economy. Obviously if there were trillions of dollars bet on sporting outcomes, the debts would be unenforceable and laughed at. However the power players are still demanding that derivative bets be paid off, though the value is greater than the world economy. This is insane, though not to sociopaths. Derivatives are the economic equivalent of perpetual motion machines, another great sociopathic favorite. Being permanent children scientific cause and effect are beyond them.
Derivatives and the sociopathic philosophy behind them and the insane notion of a riskfree capitalism have crashed the world economy. See Welcome to our sociopaths-gone-wild economy and Commonalities between Wall Street speculators and/or Fed bankers and sociopaths.