Table of ContentsBy the Numbers
Current Level Bonus: $371.30
HQ: Mystery, TL
Industries: Brokerage; Wealth Management; Investments; Consumer Banking
Contractor Benefit: Contractors earn a 10% bonus dividend with SWIG opt-in.
Mystery Alliance By The Numbers
|Contractors In The Rain:||474|
|Operations In The Rain:||2,501|
|Total Rain Pay:||$65,221,226.00|
|Average Career Pay/contractor:||$137,597.52|
Mystery Alliance is a financial services holding corporation. The company offers personal and business banking, consumer lending, asset management, and brokerage services. The Brokerage segment handles stock trading (on the ARTHA, Ummanu, Delanus Market, Freehold, and all other major exchanges) in both executionary and discretionary capacities, as well as providing financial advising; both over-the-counter and open exchange options trading (the Munizari is the largest options trading house on Ptah); and commodities brokerage on a labyrinthine array of agricultural, industrial, technological, and financial derivatives, primarily through the Mercantile Finance Group (MFG). The Wealth Management segment offers portfolio management and financial planning services to corporate clients, governmental financial agencies, and private individuals (primarily through the labels Tertigio Resources, Quaestuary Abetment Securities, and Orjan & Paramonos Investments, respectively). The Investments segment focuses almost exclusively on lending, offering marketing packages for corporate funding and government asset backing. The Consumer Banking segment has been the most robust in recent years, as the consumer lending, credit, and retail asset management sectors have received heavy investment by the company. The number of outlets for these services is too long to list here, but major labels include Chamberlain, Ais Banking, Landon Bank & Trust, Mystery Alliance Trust Company, Kesef Credit Trust, and Steele Citizen Credit.
Parsu Carnake is, perhaps not unpredictably, the most cautious and careful of the current crop of major corporate PCKs. Known for a brilliant mathematical mind, Carnake runs banking by the tried and true rules: borrow at 1/2, lend at 2, go home at 3. Other observers, however, think that the stolid, precise image Carnake presents the world is just what the world wants to see in a banker; underneath, he's rumored to be a calculating mind and, possibly, one with avaricious habits that would put a sybarite to shame. Certainly under his watch Mystery Alliance has expanded its profit base exponentially: where once it was a solid and reputable firm, now it dominates the financial sphere in everything from investment banking to personal credit to mortgages and other loans.
Carnake is in his late fifties, with touches of gray hair at his temples. He is always business-like and careful about his image, though he has been known to let a temper come through if pushed to it or surprised. He is exactly what the board was looking for when they needed a new head for MA after the disgrace and firing of Augustin Rice, the previous office holder. Rice was indicted by the high court of Tkele for a dozen counts of securities fraud. Rice has and continues to protest his innocence, but after being arrested and publicly dragged out of company headquarters, the board requested that he step down. Without other options, he did so (mainly to preserve a sizable bonus).
With the ensuing black mark and public distrust, the board needed someone of sterling reputation and sober policy to replace their flamboyant former PCK, and they needed someone who was not in an officer position who could be tied to Rice. Carnake was an operations head in Falhaven at the time, and being plucked from there to the top seat was quite a promotion. But he had a reputation for his careful approach and business acumen, and so he got the position.
The board has been most pleased with their choice. Not only did Carnake provide the dependable image they needed, but he turned out to be a financial wizard the likes of which has rarely been seen in upper management. Under his watch Mystery Alliance has expanded its client base in astonishing ways, and the Consumer Banking segment has more than doubled in size. Where the company was the first among giants, it now towers over the rest of the industry. They had always had the premier position as the lender to the other big companies, but it was Carnake who pushed the company to reach out to the "average man." Personal lending being seen as somewhat beneath such an august institution in the past, Carnake's move was looked at askance, but the resulting landslide of credit and soaring of profits quickly changed opinions.
Mystery is a city that seems to be trying not to draw attention to itself. Tkele is known for its rolling plains, but the northern part of the country is dominated by the towering Achala Mountains, among them the highest peaks on the planet. The ground is rocky and difficult, and though Tkele's fields are renowned for their fecundity, few but scattered hill tribes have ever settled in the north.
The exception is Mystery. Far below the peaks, among the foothills, lies a massive crater gouged out of the earth by some prehistoric cataclysm. (Most evidence points toward the impact of a small comet.) Drawn by the mystical isolation of this spot, the place became a center for those spirituality and privacy-and, early on, the heads of Mystery Alliance thought it the ideal spot from which to conduct their business. The name of the place reflects both its prime characteristic (it's been whispered for centuries that Mystery is the center of strange phenomenon, both meteorological and supernatural), and the attitude of its founders. The city that grew up around them has always been low and practical, reflecting a utilitarian ethos and the lack of building material other than stone that went into its establishment.
Mystery Alliance's Conservatory is a classical piece of financial architecture towering over the beetling city below. At its roots are the foundations and cellars of the temple where the industry began: the treasuries that made up the initial capital for the Alliance's lending. From these sectarian roots the new skyscraper rises, a glory of polished marble and steel. The style of the building still incorporates many of the early elements: the statuary which keeps its solemn vigil over the streets below, the columns and pilasters, the sacred obelisks. Inside, the Conservatory is a maze of hushed, carpeted rooms and classical stonework-the meeting rooms are rumored to be some of the most luxurious to be had, though the design has been faulted for a lack of technological innovation.
Mystery Alliance is all about providing capital for investments. It had its start in the moneylenders who inhabited the temples, offering coin to those who needed a gift for the priests (usually in return for claims on property or crops and livestock). As the nations of Ptah grew stronger, a consortium of these financiers agreed to lend their ruler a sum in return for favors at his court and repayment by a certain date, with extra remuneration for use of the funds at the time repayment was due. Fearful that the monarch would not live up to the terms or that their freedom would be taken away if he decided to rescind, these lenders formed their alliance, and not all their names were revealed-part of the compact was that several of the backers would remain anonymous, such that no reprisals could be taken against them, yet they would be able to defend their named fellows (in those days, this constituted a threat to raise an army of mercenaries to fight the crown). This strategy proved so successful that the group soon applied it to other borrowers, growing immensely rich in the process. Thus the modern idea of "banking" was born along with the "Mystery Alliance." (Though temples and royal sinecures had kept money in the past, this was the first instance of sizable loans charging interest.)
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Since its founding, MA has continued to amass wealth through shrewd lending and investment. The vaults and strongrooms built for the treasuries of its founders were ideal repositories for anyone looking for security in a dangerous world, and its reputation for reliability and care with its customer's funds won it many major investors through the years. As more financial tools (such as consumer credit) became available, the company was beset by smaller rivals, but like sharks circling an aged whale, they could do little more than take bites out of the hide of Mystery Alliance-too many huge clients and corporations had their wealth firmly ensconced in the Alliance depositories to let it flounder.
Still, those sharks grew more aggressive until some major clients were openly questioning Mystery Alliance's relevance. Then-CET of IDX, Andre Espinoza, in a famous open letter in the West Canyon Intelligencer, declaimed that Mystery Alliance was, "a dusty remnant of old-world thinking, like an eccentric uncle squirreling away his riks in old coffee tins in the attic, whom everyone appears to be beholden to simply because he's always been there." (The resultant exchange of insults soured the relationship between the two entities for several years.) The denunciation was a wake-up call to the complacent company, however, and it marked the beginning of reforms that would bring MA back up to the top tier in their industry. The Rice scandal threatened to drag the corporation back into the doldrums, but Carnake's aggressive reforms have been the saving of the company.
Mystery Alliance is investigating the Rain for-what else?-the profit. Never one to leave a revenue stream untapped, Carnake does not want MA to be the only major player without a stake in the exploration. Meanwhile, the commodities markets on Ptah are exploding with trading on potential assets from the Rain, and MA is backing the vast majority of such exchanges. As well, unexploited mineral wealth-a source of pure profit in the open claim-space of the phenomenon-is vanishingly rare on Ptah itself. "A chance to increase Mystery Alliance's precious metal reserves at the cost of employing a handful of exploratory craft and personnel is not to be ignored," runs the wording of Carnake's (as always) carefully worded stockholder update.
Mystery Alliance has a rocky relationship with DDH Matsya. Some suggest it's a personal issue between Carnake and DDH's PCK, Echo Tellurian, but most think it's due to Tellurian's famed unreliability and the large sums DDH has lost in recent years. When the Kingu Gravity Lift failed so spectacularly, Mystery Alliance lost a great deal of capital. Increasingly, though, MA needs DDH Matsya's assistance to field a fleet of spacecraft for its exploration efforts, putting Carnake in the unenviable position of going to Tellurian with his hat in his hand. (It is rumored, though, that MA may be resorting to less legal means to gather needed data.)
The time Carnake spends with Alinas' PCK, Anne Selket, is a mystery to most observers. Their temperaments are not that different-both are serious, business-minded, and practical-but Selket's glamor and sheik are the polar opposite of Carnake's dour, stolid style. His connection with the celebrity head of Alinas and her temple only fuel the persistent rumors that Carnake leads a double life: on the surface, they say, he is a solemn man of finance, but beneath that beats the wild heart of a debauched hedonist.
Purus' construction business is one of the most capital-intensive in the world; huge amounts of financing are needed to fund their massive projects. No one is certain what Purus PCK, Cyrus Mak, has done to earn Carnake's unshakeable trust, but the company secures loans at Mystery Alliance's lowest rates, even for their riskier ventures (such as Aeliana Tower in East Canyon, which collapsed halfway through construction).
New World Incorporated and Mystery Alliance work hand in glove on many matters, with MA relying on NWI's analysis and advice when it comes to investing, In fact, many in the industry have expressed concern that the two corporations share so much information, and that NWI's executives have posted record investment profits in recent years. The board of New World has always out-performed the average investor, but after the Rice scandal, NWI's investments and their connection to Mystery Alliance has come under more intense scrutiny. This has pleased NWI's PCK, Edward Chandler III, not at all, and there has been some public distancing between the two companies in recent days.
Mystery Alliance is one of the oldest continuously running organizations in the history of Ptah. Starting back in the treasuries of the Esagila monasteries along the ancient pilgrim's route, we virtually invented the sectors of banking and international finance. That niche always has been, and always will be, our core enterprise.
Needless to say, it is a position that garners significant power and influence. Mystery Alliance has always felt that what is best for the world collectively is what is best for our clients individually. To that end Mystery Alliance has tirelessly worked to bring greater and greater freedom and anonymity to our clients around the world.
Prosperity Through Security.
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