Lunchtime Links: Disaster as a popular trainer of junior traders cuts headcount by 85%; Goldman Sachs has hired 10 young apprentices

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This is not a good year to be a university student with aspirations to work in investment banking - especially if you have the misfortune to graduate in 2013. As we observed a few weeks ago, some banks don't seem to be looking for any extra graduates to supplement the hires they've already for 2013 made from their summer intern classes. And banks that are still advertising front office graduate roles for next year may be bluffing. "It's incredibly tough this year," one graduate recruiter tells us: "Banks aren't really hiring for front office positions. They're just pretending that they are."

In other words, it would be hard to conceive of a worse situation for one of the back-stops of student trading careers to stop hiring. Unfortunately, this is the reality. Financial News has looked at the most recent annual report for Schneider Trading Associates and found that in the twelve months to March 31st, it reduced headcount by 85% to, 'circa 15 people.'

A so-called 'prop trading arcade' Schneider has long been known for taking on university leavers as trainee traders and allowing the most successful to stay and trade with their own money. When we spoke to Schneider in June last year, it said it was hiring 36 trainee traders every month, of whom 12 typically made it through to the end of the training programme. Every month, 500 people applied. Not any more: the page that formerly hosted details of Schneider's graduate training scheme has been pulled. 

In a piece of better news, the Evening Standard announced today that it has persuaded Goldman Sachs to take on 10 'jobless youngsters' as apprentices, some of whom don't even have A levels. 'The apprentices will be placed in different parts of the bank, including IT, human resources, corporate services, catering and hospitality,' says the Standard.

The 10 new apprentices have been treated to a session with Michael Sherwood, Goldman lifer and co-chief executive of Goldman Sachs International. Sherwood was interrogated about the secret of his success. "I never had a game plan," he confessed, "but it was exciting and we worked crazy hours and if you work hard here, you can do well.”

Sherwood revealed that his early jobs included a Saturday shift at Sainsbury’s and being a paper boy. He also did an unpaid photocopying internship with SG Warburg.


Women mostly leave investment banks when they hit the middle ranks. (WSJ) 

Kweku Adoboli was a “very, very good ” trader who was “braver” in his risk appetite and “was a nice guy,” says former colleague. (FT) 

Kweku's colleague says he didn’t want to ‘grass Kweku up.’ (BBC) 

Adoboli was under a lot of pressure because he’d just split up with his girlfriend. (The Times) 

RBS traders boasted about their Libor-fixing prowess. (Bloomberg)

The British Bankers Association says it won't be making a fuss if it's obliged to relinquish its Libor-setting role. (Telegraph)

Stephen Hester says rescuing RBS has been, ‘possibly the largest corporate turnaround in history.’ (Telegraph) 

Sergei Aleynikov wants Goldman Sachs to pay his $2.4m legal costs. (Dealbook) 

It helps to be tall if you want to get ahead in China. (FT) 

Castration adds years to men’s lives. (The Atlantic) 

How to build a black hole laser. (Technology Review)