Morning Coffee: Look who's in huge demand by banks now. Nastiness at Citi?

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It's not traders and it's not M&A bankers. It's not even the mythical 35 year-old revenue generator. The people being poached from banks now work in compliance.

Take RBS. The Wall Street Journal reports that the British bank has just lost four of its top legal and compliance professionals. One of them's retired, but two have gone to HSBC and one's gone to Standard Chartered. Carolina Garces-Monterrubio, formerly head of financial crime for Europe, Middle East and Africa at RBS’s corporate and institutional bank, is off to become global head of anti-money-laundering for commercial banking. Mary Squire, RBS's former head of sanctions and anti-money-laundering for the Americas, has started at HSBC in a comparable role. And Nic Fanucci, a former RBS specialist in conduct risk, is joining Standard Chartered as global head of legal and compliance for transactions and products.

What persuaded them to quit? No one knows - but Standard Chartered was fined $300m in the U.S. last year. And HSBC had to pay $1.9bn in money laundering penalties in 2012. When sums like that are involved, compliance professionals who can keep a rein on a bank's activities must be worth a lot of money indeed.

Separately, Citi seemingly singled out a particular member of its EMEA equities team for opprobrium in yesterday's conference call. “We have an issue with our equities franchise in one region,” said Citi CFO John Gerspach in the company's fourth quarter results call yesterday,“And we have certainly begun to take actions there. We’ve made management changes beginning in the late second half of 2014.” Bloomberg subsequently reported that Yonatan Gozdanker, head of cash equities trading for EMEA is leaving the bank. - Just before bonus time.


Gerspach: “Volatile volatility, these extreme moves, tend to drive people to the sidelines because nobody is able to take a view as to how they should be protecting their business.”  (Bloomberg) 

Banks' results are indeterminate things: 'Bank of America lost $578 million this quarter on changes in its expectations of future bond prepayments. And it lost $497 million, not even on changes in its expectations of future derivatives funding costs, but on changing to a future-expectations model of those costs.' (BloombergView)

Morgan Stanley just promoted 144 managing directors, down from 153 last year. Only 22% are women, down from 27% last year. (Reuters) 

Lazy traders will have lost out on the Swiss franc movement. “Selling puts or vol on the franc was deemed to be SNB guaranteed money for old rope. There will be some very red faces around as it begins to transpire who should not have been playing that game." (Bloomberg) 

Banks are hiring graphic designers to prettify their trading platforms. (Financial News) 

Changing careers is hard, unless you have an MBA and are applying to a high prestige firm which gets a lot of applicants and can afford to take a risk. (The Atlantic) 

Here's how to stop high performers burning out. (HBR) 

One of the worst employment patterns of all is a long time at one company followed by several stints of less a year. (Telegraph) 



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