A financial meme account run by an anonymous former Wall Street banker has become essential viewing for hundreds of thousands of people in the industry.
The viral posts of the “finmeme-lord” known as Litquidity are “comedic cocaine to banking executives and trading floor interns”, said the Financial Times (FT). Litquidity has amassed more than 790,000 followers on Instagram and more than 330,000 on Twitter with content that takes aim at “everything from monetary policy to bad loafers” in the “eminently lampoonable industry”, the paper added.
But while these posts are “hoovered up by those who love Wall Street and those who love to hate it”, little is known about the figure behind the account.
Who is Litquidity?
The popularity of Litquidity in part “fuelled by the mystery of his identity”, said the FT. “Litquidity could be, and he was, the analyst toiling in the next cubicle, or the associate doling out tedious work about to blow up your Friday-night plans.”
In a 2021 interview with New York Magazine via Zoom “with the video turned off”, the anonymous creator said that he had grown up in Florida, attended an Ivy League school and “went on to work at a couple of big banks and a private-equity firm”.
He started his now-viral Instagram account in 2017, when he was in his 20s and working in private equity, and was reportedly “inspired by a Greek-life parody blog he’d followed as a frat guy in college”.
“It was just going to be a funny thing,” he said, a satire of the “partyish lifestyle” of finance bros. “So, you know, lit is a word for that.”
From satire to ‘Wall Street advocacy’
Given his “niche content”, Litquidity initially expected his account to stay “small”, according to the financial news website Benzinga. In an interview with the site last year, he recalled: “I thought, ‘how many people would actually be interested in following investment banking humour and anything Wall Street-related?’”
His early posts focused on “the late nights, Sisyphean workloads and megalomaniacal managers that he and his peers faced”, said Fast Company. But when the Covid-19 pandemic struck “amid one of the biggest bull markets in history”, Litquidity’s posts about financial trends and so-called “meme stocks” proved to be “especially potent”.
As well as capturing the financial market zeitgeist, the magazine added, the meme account also began to turn into “something of an advocacy tool for Wall Street analysts”, tracking salary increases, bonus announcements and even the punishing working conditions endured by some Goldman Sachs analysts.
Now in his 30s, Litquidity has gained an online status as an “astute commentator”, said the FT.
But finance has needed “little help satirising itself” in recent years, the paper continued. The industry has been turned upside down by “meme stocks, cryptocurrency, Goldman Sachs chief David Solomon moonlighting as a DJ, the Miami boom, Sam Bankman-Fried and the collapse of FTX, Dogecoin (an actual joke currency), Elon Musk and Twitter, a Twitter-fuelled bank run, as well as Jeff Bezos’s bizarre turn as a cowboy-boot-wearing bodybuilder”.
Litquidity told the FT that “the market going to shit made everything much easier for me”.
What next for Litquidity?
The meme-maker’s ambitions “go well beyond skewering Goldman Sachs interns for emptying their bank accounts on Hamptons summer rentals”, or mocking “crypto bros for going all in on not-so-stablecoins”, said Fast Company.
Litquidity told the magazine that he planned to build a finance-focused version of Barstool Sports, a media brand valued at more than $400 million that creates pop culture and sports content.
He also writes a popular daily Wall Street newsletter, “Exec Sum”, and has hosted a weekly podcast, “Big Swinging Decks”, about rumours and trends in the financial industry.
Litquidity sells merchandise too, satirising disgraced and defunct financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
His other ventures include a deal signed in January with headhunting firm Whitney Partners. And according to the FT, Litquidity is “an angel investor and works as a venture capital scout for Bain Capital Ventures”.
The former banker told the paper that having diversified, he was no longer so anxious about whether his memes get laughs. “Now I’ve derisked, so I don’t have to give a shit if the meme is not funny,” he said.