The Schwarzman In The Room

PE pros don’t like to name names while speaking at industry conferences, which leads to lots of comments like “We had this portfolio company…” or “There was this one guy…”

Fine, you don’t want to disclose confidential information or betray friendships. Undersood. But the protocol is just silly when it comes to blaming the ostentatious lifestyle of “a big-name buyout investor” for recent Congressional attempts to increase the tax rates on carried interest. EVERYONE knows which master of the universe you’re talking about.

This inanity occured a couple of times at Buyouts West last week. I even interjected once to request clarification, but the speaker (oh wow, there I go too — it was Kelvin Davis of TPG) just smiled. The room laughed.

It’s like the man is officially Voldemort (or, for a real-life example, Pinochet). So here’s some shock therapy: Stephen Schwarzman, Stephen Schwarzman! Stephen Schwarzman! Stephen Schwarzman! Stephen Schwarzman!

Feel better? Less scared? Good, me too.