Little-known brokerage firm Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co has long toiled in the shadows of Wall Street, but the boutique suddenly has been thrust into the limelight because of an "ideas dinner" it sponsored last month for a group of about 18 hedge fund traders. Monness Crespi sponsors unscripted dinners from time to time, said people familiar with the get-togethers. They provide a chance for managers to swap trading ideas, network with their peers and meet some of Monness Crespi's largely equity-focused analysts. A Feb. 8 dinner is sparking controversy because one of the nearly two dozen topics discussed during the program was how hedge funds could profit from a decline in the euro, one of the world's most heavily traded currencies. The portion of the program, at a Park Avenue townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, devoted to trading the euro took up no more than five minutes, according to people familiar with the event. But ever since the Wall Street Journal wrote about the dinner and the discussion about the euro in a Feb. 25 article, a shadow has been cast over much of the $1.5trn hedge fund industry.