On Wall Street, real friends, not “investment banking friends,” are hard to come by. Which is why when my real friend Tom Lister recently announced his retirement from Permira, following a long and highly successful career, I was more than happy to throw on a suit and tie, for the first time this summer, to celebrate his career at the Rainbow Room, atop 30 Rockefeller Center. The occasion has also given me the opportunity to reflect on some of my favorite moments from our time on Wall Street together. I hope you enjoy.
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Last Thursday night, in Manhattan, I did something I have not done in my 35 years of affiliation with Wall Street: I went to a retirement party for someone I have long considered a real friend.
You have to understand, there is a difference on Wall Street between an “investment-banking friend” and a real friend. An “investment-banking friend” is, at best, more like an acquaintance you are forced to see nearly every day and who probably wants to rip your throat out, or elbow you off the corporate ladder as quickly as possible (all without any fingerprints, of course). And then, soon enough, one or the other of you is gone, to another desk, another office, another firm or another career...