In the middle of a pandemic, when lots of banks are asking deep and meaningful questions about the future of the office building itself, Goldman Sachs has just signed a 12 year lease on a brand new one, in the middle of Paris. What is going on?
The unexpected office is unlikely to have much effect on Goldman's short term return to work plans (just 20% of staff returned to the current Paris office in late May), as the development project isn’t going to be completed until the third quarter of next year, but even so this looks like a commitment to getting people together in one place instead of a distributed model where people sit at home. After all, central Paris office space isn’t cheap. - Even if Goldman got a good deal as an anchor tenant during a global downturn, they’re unlikely to have paid for the space if they’re not planning to use it.
This COVID-boost might be one reason why both UBS and BofA have made recent research hires. Bank of America hired Thomas Thornton from Jefferies to be its New York-based head of global research product marketing, starting in May. UBS hired Kate Somerville from RBC to be a London-based director in equity research, starting this June.
Zaki Ahmed, director of Financial Search Limited, a boutique that focuses on placing researchers in London, says equity researchers are unquestionably back in fashion. "There is record research engagement and output," says Ahmed. "Sell-side researchers are finally getting respect from the buy-side, which tends to happen during a crisis."
It helps, too that researchers have thrived while working from home. Roadshows that used to involve weeks of arduous travelling have now gone online and researchers in home offices are better able to focus on written output. Anecdotally, call times with clients have increased - along with...
If you thought technology jobs were immune to the 'COVID crisis', you might want to think again. Various big tech firms from Uber to Lyft and Airbnb have been trimming staff. IBM has been quietly at it too (cutting 42 out of 119 jobs at its Sterling Forest data center near New York according to a recent filing with the state's WARN service). Banks that were previously expanding technology budgets are beginning to make noises about cutting them back again.
However, while some technology jobs are suffering by virtue of the virus, others are expect to thrive. In a new report from its technology research team, based on conversations with chief information officers (CIOs) around the world, Deutsche Bank pinpoints the jobs that belong in each category.
President Trump’s decision to begin stripping Hong Kong of its special trading status could make American banks less attractive employers in the territory over the long term.
The President said on Friday that he would remove policy agreements with Hong Kong – including an extradition treaty, commercial relations and export controls – in response to the national security law that China plans to impose on Hong Kong, which critics say undermines the territory’s autonomy. But while he said the move would cover “the full range of agreements” that the US has with Hong Kong “with few exceptions”, the speed and full scope of the administration’s actions remain unclear.
Before anyone gets too excited, however, it's worth noting that €600 may be the upper range for the 'Deutsche Bank Limited Edition Adidas Advantage Trainer.' The only listing currently live (in a European size 42, U.S. size 9) is being sold from Germany in an impeccable box (imprinted with the message, 'It's now time to take a step forward in your new footwear as we explore the future of Deutsche Bank together') and has a guide price of just €439.
In fact, the trainers aren't the only item of Deutsche Bank paraphernalia listed on eBay. There's also a 'rare' Deutsche Bank sweatshirt (small, unisex), a 'vintage keyring', and a branded hand mirror. None will make their sellers rich: the sweatshirt is going for €5.85, the vintage keyring for €2.24, and the hand mirror for an incongruous €30. None have any bids. The market for unwanted DB merchandise may be sadly illiquid.
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Banks in Singapore are stepping up the mental health and wellbeing services they provide to staff in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic – but this support is mostly outsourced to third-party specialists. Nomura’s employee assistance programme partner, Optum, has launched a Covid-19 resource portal, containing wellbeing guides and online webinars to help staff cope with stress. Societe Generale runs a 24/7 crisis hotline that lets staff in Asia “access consultations delivered anonymously and confidentially by trained coaches”.
What was supposed to be a regular NY business trip for Pinto - albeit one with working days that ended at 2am - suddenly became a fully-fledged nightmare.
Pinto, an Argentinian who has long been mooted as Jamie Dimon's number two, found himself managing JPMorgan through the crisis alongside Gordon Smith, the head of JPMorgan's consumer business. Markets were mad, staff needed to be moved home, clients were drawing hard on credit lines. Pinto was alone in his hotel, alone in the office and alone in the gym. “It was tough," he admits: his wife and children were still there, on Zoom, as were his colleagues, but Pinto was physically isolated and co-running JPM miles away from home.
This seemingly went on for a month - or at least that was the amount of time Pinto was stuck in New York. Dimon was discharged from hospital on March 12th and checked-in regularly as soon as he was able, but he didn't get back to work until April 2. Pinto and...
If you're a trader in an investment bank and you're thinking of moving out of the city and into the countryside after the lockdown, Rich Jefferson, Deutsche's ex-head of global commodities trading, could be your role model. Jefferson's been living in the English countryside for five years already, and he has the sort of technology-focused post-finance portfolio career most ex-traders would probably aspire to.
Jefferson spent 18 years at Deutsche Bank in London after leaving the University of Cambridge in 1994. Before he left in 2015, he was running commodities trading operations for the bank globally, with all the stress and travel that entails. Today, Jefferson lives in a village near Malmesbury, an historic Cotswolds market town two hours from London. He works four days a week and spends the other days with his family.
If you haven't seen it already, you may yet come across it. - And when/if you do, you will likely be horrified that such a thing could happen during a seemingly innocuous Zoom meeting between a group of at-home finance professionals discussing consumer spending during the lockdown...
In case you watch the video and question who exactly "Daniel" is, however, you need to know this: it's a fake. The viral video, tweeted last week and subsequently picked up by various finance accounts, is actually an advertisement for a well known 'men's website.' Those are not real bankers. It did not happen. Daniel is not a banker but an actor and so are his 'colleagues.' The whole thing is a clever ruse.
Ardea Partners, an investment banking boutique founded four years ago by former bankers from Goldman Sachs, has been doing some significant recruitment during the lockdown.
Ardea's most recent hire is Thomas Rézette, who joined in June as an executive director based in London. Rézette previously spent six years as financial institutions group (FIG) banker at JPMorgan. He's likely to have been recruited during the lockdown itself.
HSBC, for example, has quietly hired Chris Skinner, a former head of UK asset management operations at Deutsche Bank. Skinner joined in late May as a senior programme manager in the chief data office within the investment bank.
Barclays has hired both Usman Hamid as a director of strategy and architecture in its core engineering team and Chris Woodward as a managing director in technology for risk finance and treasury functions. Hamid joins from the BBC, where he was head of product for infrastructure and enterprise networks. Woodward joins from Morgan Stanley where he led an agile transformation programme across the firm and was formerly head of architecture and data governance for operations technology.
[A message from eFinancialCareers: We have a range of global technology job vacancies you can apply for here]
The appointments come as banks are expected to push ahead with investments in both automation (which...
CIMB Singapore has hired Tsiang Wei Foo from DBS as its head of investment banking. Foo was previously an executive director in the institutional banking group at Singapore’s biggest bank.
Covid-19 is increasing the demand for cyber security professionals in Hong Kong and Singapore, but travel restrictions triggered by the virus are reducing an already tight talent pool, say recruiters. As a result, candidates can still command decent pay hikes if they move banks.
Deutsche Bank is supposed to be cutting around 9,000 jobs in Germany in the next few years. Employees at its Frankfurt headquarters may find this hard to deal with due to a virus-induced lack of caffeine.
Bloomberg reports that Deutsche has reinstalled people in its Frankfurt office, with precautions to stop the disease spreading.
Rather like the U.K. government's approach to lockdown, the outlook for financial services jobs is a bit all over the place. On one hand, bank CEOs have been talking-up revenues, which should feed through to hiring. On the other, we're coming off the sort of peak in financial services jobs that would normally presage a terrible trough - even without a once in a century pandemic added to the mix.
New York City could be particularly vulnerable. The chart below, which JPMorgan banking analyst Kian Abouhossein included in a recent research note, illustrates the issue. - Broadly defined, employment in financial activities in NYC was on a rising trend from July 2013 through to the end of last year, a period over which 40,000 jobs were added. When New Jersey is added in and the entire New York Metro area is taken into account, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says finance employment went from 740,000 in 2013 to nearly...
As most people reading this will have recently discovered, working from home has its upsides but also comes with serious disadvantages. Time is saved commuting, but that time is spent compensating for physical absence with additional time in front of a screen. And it's taking a toll.
According to our most recent survey, 42% of you are burning out as a result of homeworking during the pandemic. - 11% of you seriously. It's not just junior investment bankers at PJT Partners who are expected to put in the hours: people at most firms say they're working longer, and technologists as well as M&A bankers say they're closest to burning out completely.
Bank CEOs who are looking around for new ways to cut costs as a result of COVID-19 might want to consult Thomas Gottstein, the new head of Credit Suisse. While Christian Sewing at Deutsche Bank seems to have irritated his most senior bankers by suggesting that they voluntarily sacrifice a month's salary, Gottstein has gone for a gentler and likely more successful approach.
Bloomberg reports that Gottstein is 'recommending' that Credit Suisse's most senior bankers in Switzerland buy themselves an extra two weeks' holiday this year. As at Deutsche, the suggestion is one posited as beneficial to the bank as a whole: "Credit Suisse encourages senior management in its Swiss business to buy two additional weeks of vacation this year, allowing them to make a personal contribution to a responsible approach to costs," said a spokesman. The policy is aimed at Swiss MDs, but a similar option is open to CS bankers...
But you probably won’t be back in the office. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) says employees who have been working from home so far must continue to do so, and go to the office only if there is no alternative.
But will you be back on-site at the start of phase two? For most finance professionals, the answer is likely to be no. In an update on its website today, MOM says working from home (WFH) must also be the “default mode of working” even under phase two. This second stage could potentially begin by the end of June, but government officials will meet in mid-June to determine the exact date.
Today’s MOM announcement supports Citi’s decision yesterday to continue its current remote-working strategy, which involves 88% of Singapore staff WFH, until July. Even during that month, the bank says it will take a “slow and measured” approach to returning to work.
During the circuit breaker, which started on 7 April, banks limited their...
So, Noel Quinn has decided that the strategic plan he announced in February is inadequate in the face of the virus? - And he's putting together a new strategic plan that will emerge in a few months after a new review? It's time that HSBC's new CEO looked at how U.S. banks do things.
When an American investment bank needs to cut costs, it does so quickly. American banks are ruthless: they make savage cuts and move on; if an area they've cut begins booming again later they will hire new people. Those people will often be upgrades on the people they let go.
Finance students and fresh graduates in Hong Kong fear their career prospects will be damaged by the “double whammy” impact of the national security law and Covid-19. Aspiring bankers we spoke with in the city consider themselves particularly unfortunate to be graduating at a time of crisis, and some are considering extending their studies or moving overseas.
If you've spent the past two months as a banker or trader mostly sitting in front of screens in a darkened room, emerging only to make coffee and attend to bodily functions, you're not alone. Others have been doing it too. Some are recruiters.
Although some finance recruiters joined the bread making brigade as hiring dwindled to almost nothing at the height of the lockdown, others seem to have used the semi-incarceration to redouble their efforts at making money. Take Jeanne Branthover, the managing partner and global head of the financial-services practice at DHR International in New York. Branthover has spent the pandemic often working from 7am to 1am, she tells Bloomberg. That doesn't leave much time for a sourdough starter.
Stackoverflow's survey of 8,006 developers in the U.S. (undertaken in February 2020) produces the median salaries in the chart above for different tech roles. The highest paid role is, unsurprisingly, that of the nebulous 'engineering manager.' The lowest paid is the lowly 'data or business analyst.' But, hey, everyone's on six figures plus.
How do Stackoverflow's figures compare to salaries for technologists in investment banks? Based on publicly available salary data for JPMorgan technologists on H1B visas renewed this year, it looks like banks often (but not always) pay more.
Salary data-points for H1B visa holders at JPMorgan suggest that data science pay between the industries is similar, with machine learning engineers at associate level at JPMorgan (typically three years in), often receiving the industry standard of $125k. Site reliability engineers are both on $140k. But vice president (VP) level software engineers in banks can often...
It's not just Goldman. Jamie Dimon appeared at Deutsche Bank's Global Financial Services Conference on Tuesday and said that JPMorgan's strong first quarter in sales and trading persisted into April and May. JPM's trading results in Q2 are just as strong as in Q1, said Dimon. This too sounds promising given that trading revenues at JPMorgan were up 32% year-on-year in the first quarter.
Deutsche Bank has also been spreading the good news. CEO Christian Sewing said the bank continued to see positive momentum in fixed income sales and trading revenues in April and May. This too came after trading revenues at Deutsche rose by 13% year on year in the first quarter.
Waldron was even bullish about M&A revenues after a slower start to the year for dealmaking. "Strategic activity" is likely as we exit the crisis, said Waldron yesterday, adding that companies are likely to "play more offense" after raising additional...
In a sign that most Singapore banking professionals will not be returning to the office on Monday when the circuit breaker ends, Citi has just announced that a majority of its staff will continue working from home until July.
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