ROTH CAPITAL'S $LEAZE TO PLEASE
By RODDY BOYD
Last Updated: 5:00 AM, February 5, 2007
Posted: 5:00 AM, February 5, 2007
At a time when other Wall Street firms are cracking down on lavish client entertainment, Roth Capital Partners, a leading small-cap stock underwriter, has developed quite a reputation for outrageous parties that include topless models and gangsta rappers.
In a few weeks, following a stock conference, Roth is hosting a party featuring rapper Ludacris - who was once dropped as a spokesman by Pepsi because of his racy lyrics.
The following night, the firm is sponsoring a Roman-themed toga Party that will feature a performance by Otis Day and the Knights, the band made famous in the movie "Animal House."
Last year, at a party at the ultra-swank Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel in California, the bank hired controversial rapper Snoop Dogg to perform gangsta drug- and violence-heavy songs for its largely rich, white, middle-aged client base.
Roth, an underwriter specializing in micro- and small-cap stocks, is based in Newport Beach, Calif., and has largely escaped the type of regulatory scrutiny that plagues many small-cap stock dealers.
The edgy post-conference parties are reminiscent of the lavish parties that followed Drexel Burnham Lambert's annual high-yield conferences in the mid-1980s, which were nicknamed "The Predator's Ball" and featured performances by Frank Sinatra and Diana Ross.
To be sure, plenty of investment banks hire big-name entertainment to perform at conferences, and many on Wall Street have memorable war stories of lavish open bars and buffet tables that brighten otherwise dreary conferences.
But in an age where big banks like Merrill Lynch and Citigroup have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in sexual discrimination claims, the bigger firms these days are keen to stay away from controversy.
Roth, on the other hand, is not.
After its one-day New York conference at the end of September, Roth took several hundred of its clients to the mammoth Buddakan in the Meatpacking District for a Cancun-meets-Wall Street-themed lollapalooza.
The primary feature of Roth's event was the presence of "several dozen" topless Asian models, with the ticker symbols of the companies Roth underwrote body-painted on.
A firm spokeswoman confirmed that the women were topless, describing them as "part of a plan to help everyone unwind after a really long, hard day."
She declined to elaborate on whether Roth had had any negative feedback from employees or clients about the entertainment.
Repeated calls to Roth Capital Chief Executive Byron Roth were not returned.
Sentiment: Strong Sell
I find this thread very interesting. I suspect most rookie investors don't pay much attention to who the so-called "investment bankers" are whose sometimes shoddy financings enable small companies to float. Too often only insiders end up making any money unfortunately.
Sentiment: Strong Sell