Morning Coffee: The outrageous Merrill Lynch entrance exam question

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Banks may still be a little institutionally sexist today, but rest assured that any lingering 21st century sexism is nothing compared to what went on in the past. In the early 1970s, Bloomberg reports that women were banned from participating in banks' formal training schemes. Female researchers were paid less than secretaries and lived in cramped apartments. And their only hope of career advancement was to marry their boss.

However, 1970s sexism in banking is best illustrated by an interview question which was then included in Merrill Lynch's broker trainee programme. “When you meet a woman, what interests you most about her?,’’ it asked. The correct answer, for which trainees received the most marks, was 'her beauty.' Trainees who responded with, 'her intelligence,' were penalized and awarded the fewest points of all. One applicant successfully sued Merrill Lynch for sexism on this basis.


No more lavish lunches for Credit Agricole bankers. (Wall Street Journal) 

If your household has gross income in excess of  £78k, you are in the top 20% of British homes. The richest fifth of UK households pay £20k a year in income tax. The average income tax bill in the UK is £7.5k. (ONS) 

Jessica Irschick, former treasurer of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, has gone to work at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. (Financial News)

Jefferies went from zero days to five days of trading losses in the second quarter. (Bloomberg) 

Evercore has hired for a new capital advisory business. (Bloomberg) 

Oxford University finds its humanities graduates are very popular in the City, where they are valued for their succinct communication skills and critical analysis faculties. (Financial Times) 

Work makes you miserable – especially if you work late into the evening. Working early in the morning is better. (Wall Street Journal)

An automated conversation coach will help you improve your interview technique. (New Scientist) 

Greece plans to tax swimming pools and luxury cars. (CNBC) 

(Morning Coffee has replaced Lunchtime links.)