Is J.P. Morgan & Co. lightening up? The quintessential white-shoe bank is holding a "Seinfeld"-viewing party Thursday night at its "Trends in Globalization" conference. About 800 heavyweight investors, corporate chief executives, and bankers are expected to attend the event at the Plaza Hotel.
The party should keep attendees from skipping the opening-night reception in droves to tune in to the final "Seinfeld" episode, which is expected to draw 48.6 million viewers.
"We're no dummies," said Chris Molanphy, a Morgan spokesman. "I think this will be the typical 'Seinfeld' audience."
The bank even hired a magician to warm up the crowd before the telecast- evidence, perhaps, that the House of Morgan is determined not to be seen as the "soup Nazi" of banking.
But though Morgan is bowing to the power of the 1990s' most popular sitcom, mutual fund executives at the annual Investment Company Institute conference in Washington will have to sneak off to their hotel rooms to watch the show.
Michelle Gamiao, an institute spokeswoman, said a suggestion to cancel its traditional entertainment, the comedy-music group The Capitol Steps, was vetoed by the higher-ups.
"I'm having it taped," Ms. Gamiao said.