At this yearâ€™s 3.5-mile JP Morgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge, HedgeWorldâ€™s managing editor, Chris Clair, and I braved 45-degree Chicago lakefront temperatures and sacrificed both knee and hamstring (from recurring ailments) to make it to that finish line to beat our 2007 times, which shall remain undisclosed.
Along the way, we managed to remain alert to our fellow racers, combing the course for potential stories. Aside from the alarming number of competitors wearing jeans and leather jackets (some of whom were actually running), there was one notable point of discussion. Despite that there were roughly 1,700 JP Morgan Chase representatives running in the race of more than 23,000, the most ubiquitous corporate logo was that of Newedge Financialâ€”the joint venture of SocGen and Calyon Financial. It felt like we were surrounded by Newedge runners at every turn of the race. The Pulse of Finance (the firmâ€™s tag line) was indeed felt strongly on the collective jugular of Team HedgeWorld last night.
Maybe itâ€™s part of Newedgeâ€™s 2008 global marketing effort, or maybe itâ€™s part of the plan to establish its brand identity. On the firmâ€™s web site, Newedge touts a 3,000-strong staff â€śstrategically located to serve the 24-hour-a-day business needs of their customers.â€ť Could it be that the Corporate Challenge was part of that â€śstrategic placementâ€ť tactic in order to make that pulse felt by all who ran? I donâ€™t think any hedge funds or CTAs were seeking brokerage tips, but sometimes just because it doesnâ€™t seem broke, doesnâ€™t mean it shouldnâ€™t be fixed. . . .
It wasnâ€™t as though we werenâ€™t trying to find other firm representatives. Granted, it was chilly, so many firm logos were masked by layers of clothing. But maybe hiding oneâ€™s company name is not the best idea in these times of economic crisisâ€”Iâ€™ll admit Newedgeâ€™s tactics did lead me to investigate their web site. HedgeWorld may look into having hidden cameras installed at Newedgeâ€™s training sites in anticipation of Corporate Challenge â€™09, to learn more about how this omnipresence was accomplished.
â€śIt could have just been the same two guys the whole time,â€ť mused Chris the following day during HedgeWorldâ€™s weekly conference call. True, as I pointed out to Chris at about Mile 2.75, HedgeWorld seemed to be in a constant battle with a stubborn Trading Technologies competitor. We assume he won out when we took a well-deserved walk break at Mile 3. . . .
But could it be, though we cleverly masked our true identities as HedgeWorld reporters under solemn black and gray tones, that Newedge already anticipated weâ€™d be there? That they plastered our photos on the walls of their conference room like mug shots, to ensure the strategically placed employees could spot us? That they knew we would be there, unable to hide the journalistic instincts to find stories below the surface of our civilian clothing? Maybe it was the clever little piece of Newedge marketing none of us saw coming. All I know is, I might go back to their web site later today.