Morning Coffee: Man illustrates key quality for getting ahead in investment banking

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Possibly the most competitive man alive

Possibly the most competitive man alive

What does it take to make it in banking? Not necessarily intelligence, as our intern diarist remarked this week. Instead, try stamina and an all-consuming urge to win.

Skip McGee, the 54 year old head of Barclays' US business, has the competitive instinct in excess. "He's such a hard driving guy," a fellow banker and long term friend of McGee's told Bloomberg yesterday. "The only thing we didn’t compete for: I didn’t compete for his wife, and he didn’t compete for my wife.”

McGee also has that other prerequisite for success in investment banking: a keen sense that pay is important. “Skip will walk the extra mile, working with senior management, to make sure they’re [his U.S. bankers] paid competitively,” another ex-colleague told Bloomberg. McGee himself reportedly once earned $15m in one year.

McGee's propensity for hard driving pay negotiations is likely to reassure Barclays bankers in the U.S., who have reportedly  been feeling unsettled by the unseating of Bob Diamond and the arrival of the far blander Antony Jenkins as CEO. While Jenkins is a retail banker with a strong grasp of political correctness, McGee is a former investment banker whom investment bankers admire. He has worked on deals with at least $160bn, says Bloomberg.

Unfortunately, and despite all his competitiveness, McGee is destined to continue playing second fiddle to Jenkins. In the new world, having a go-getting American investment banker at the top of a large UK retail bank is simply not going to happen.


Equities revenues rose 53% in the second quarter at Bank of America. Fixed income revenues fell 13%. (Financial News) 

Bank of America said its poor performance in FICC came from efforts to reduce its structured credit trading portfolio and trouble in the municipal bond markets and mortgage markets. (WSJ)

Goldman Sachs is rehiring its old partners. Yesterday, it said it was rehiring Marcus Schenck, who left in 2006, as head of investment banking services in EMEA. (Financial News) 

The former head of European rates at RBC Capital Markets, who left the bank in December last year, has re-emerged at Barclays. (Financial News)

Four former Deutsche Bank Libor traders are sueing the bank for unfair dismissal. (Financial Times)

Entire predictably, 80% of European banks plan to increase base salaries before the bonus cap. (Financial Times) 

Barclays is hiring 8 people in Japanese equities. 5 are in equity research. (Bloomberg) 

In a strong second quarter, Greenhill increased spending on compensation by 65%. (Greenhill) 

Yawning may cool your brain. (Wall Street Journal)  

New genre of client entertaining: taking the client for a workout. (Bloomberg) 

If you want to be a high-earning woman, have a low-earning spouse. (Quartz) 

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