Morning Coffee: For $100m a year, financier woke up at 2.45am daily. RBS vs. JPMorgan

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How much money would you require to give up the best hours of sleep? For Mohamed El-Erian $100m seems to have been sufficient.

Last week we reported that 55 year old El-Erian had been getting out of bed at 4.15am in order to work at Pimco. That was wrong. The Financial Times now reports that El-Erian actually been rousing himself at 2.45am on a daily basis and arriving in the office at 4.15am.  He’d then work until around 6pm, return home by around 7pm, eat dinner with his family and go to bed at 8.45pm in order to get up absurdly early the next day.

El-Erian has now retired, ostensibly to write a book and spend more time with his family. The Financial Times says he’s undeserving of sympathy for his years of getting up in the middle of the night: El-Erian helped create Pimco’s gruelling culture. So much for working more sedately on the buyside.

Separately, the new and enormous £7bn-£8bn loss expected at Royal Bank of Scotland seems to have been partly inspired by events at JPMorgan. RBS has accrued an additional £3bn to cover the costs of misselling payment protection insurance and interest rate swap products. Nathan Bostock, finance director at RBS reportedly said that JPMorgan’s recent regulatory settlements totaling $20bn had given RBS a better idea how much it would need to pay in fines, thereby inspiring the new accrual.

JPMorgan and RBS may both be paying big fines for past misdemeanours, but there the similarity ends. Despite the fines, JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon is being paid 70% more for 2013 than 2012 and most JPM staff are being paid flat. However, at government-owned RBS the fines have accentuated calls for bankers to have their bonuses reduced dramatically and for the government to refuse to allow performance pay that’s more than double salary. As we’ve noted, pay per head in RBS’s investment bank is already on track to fall 30% year-on-year, so this does not augur well.


Citigroup said it had not expected any further charges for either PPI or interest rate swaps at RBS. (Financial Times) 

Trader fired from Bank of America claims that losses were dumped upon her when a huge position was transferred onto her book two years before she left. (Bloomberg) 

Citi’s big cash bonuses are against EU rules, says MEP. (Arlene McCarthy) 

The Big Four accountancy firms are hiring a lot more graduates. (Evening Standard) 

Trader who was shot in the leg at an Essex station has £14.7k in debts and had been renting out his £2.2m home to save money. (Evening Standard) 

Man leaves banking, becomes horse trader, wears hoody, works from parks on an iPhone. (Bloomberg)

The more overtime men work the healthier their wives become. (Telegraph)  


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