This ranks as my favorite commentary this week, via Bloomberg’s Mark Gilbert: If Banks Were Musicians, Citigroup Would Be Ozzy. Since Investment banks have personalities (personnel, styles, how they do their business), we can compare them to similar the character traits "Bands express their through the music they make and the company they keep."
So what happens when you match banks with musicians?
1) Goldman Sachs = The Rolling Stones
but Goldman could almost be U2
2) Citigroup = Ozzy Osbourne
Both Citigroup and Ozzy are growing old disgracefully; Citigroup’s many and varied brushes with the authorities around the world make the bank worthy of an alliance with the former Black Sabbath singer.
3) Deutsche Bank = Fleetwood Mac
Immensely profitable? Check. Years of infighting and not communicating with one another? Check. Badly in need of a style makeover? Check. It’s Fleetwood Mac.
4) JPMorgan = Radiohead
Too clever by half, and needing another big hit to remain relevant? It could almost be REM.
5) Barclays Capital = Oasis
The capital-markets division of Barclays Plc could be the Red Hot Chili Peppers; chaotic in the 1990s, gained some focus in the early years of this decade, now looking a bit bloated and self-indulgent.
6) Morgan Stanley = Coldplay
Deadly earnest. Blue-blooded. Well-heeled. Regularly at the top of the charts, though even fans have the nagging sense they might just be going through the motions. Morgan Stanley and Coldplay are made for each other.
7) Merrill Lynch = Madonna
Both Merrill Lynch & Co. and Madonna peaked in the 1980s and have been irrelevant since the 1990s, notwithstanding umpteen attempts at reinvention.
8) HSBC = any boyband
9) UBS = Phil Collins
The bank and the former Genesis drummer/singer are both rich, both based in Switzerland, and no one with any sense gives a hoot about either.
10) Commerzbank = David Hasselhoff
Both Commerzbank AG and David Hasselhoff are huge in Germany. Scientists have failed to explain why.
Very astute, and very funny . . .
If Banks Were Musicians, Citigroup Would Be Ozzy
Bloomberg, May 12 2006