Guest Contributor: Dan Simon, Managing Director, US Operations, Cognito
‘Tis, once again, the season to be jolly. For the past couple of years it has been very popular to scale back parties or cancel them altogether. This year they are back with a vengeance. This week alone, Cognito is hosting three holiday parties in different locations worldwide and attending three additional parties in New York. Next week looks set to be an equally large serving of themed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres.
Much of this has to do with a return to, an albeit tentative, bullishness in the market. Still more of it represents straightforward boredom with the Spartan lifestyle. People can only remain abstemious for so long and, for most, two years is pushing it.
During a year in which the largest ever piece of financial regulation became law it is ironic to note that the largest driver of renewed levity may, in fact, be an easing of government scrutiny. Yesterday the administration announced its sale of the remaining stake in Citigroup (at a $10.5-bn profit for the taxpayer) meaning that it will no longer have a say in how the banks spends its money. As government oversight eases so will banks grip on T&E budgets, and as the banks go so will the rest of the financial industry.
These moves are very healthy for the industry. Corporate parties represent more than just boondoggles for blowing off the year’s steam. At the best events, contacts are exchanged, ideas are discussed and deals are done. The recent race to see who could cut the most and the deepest has had a negative impact on individual firms’ morale and a general dampening effect on the wider market.
More normal behaviour represents both an indicator and a driver of a more buoyant environment this year and in to next. Here’s to more holiday cheer!!