Morning Coffee: How a 34-year-old ex-Barclays trader discovered a whole new career. Horrors coming in 2016

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Bad things are on the horizon for Barclays next year. Following reports that the UK bank is a) making another 20% of its investment banking staff redundant, b) delaying payment of its bonuses and c) freezing hiring, traders at Barclays could be forgiven for keeping an eye on the alternatives. Helpfully, therefore, one ex-Barclays trader has forged an entirely novel and interesting career path.

Matt Singh used to be an interest rate trader at Barclays Investment Bank. Singh worked on the bank's rates desk between 2005 and 2011, latterly as a Scandi market maker. And then he left. It's not clear whether he did so voluntarily or not, but what Singh did next was arguably more interesting than siting on a rates desk anyway.

Taking his statistical expertise (Singh studied banking and finance at the UK's Loughborough University, followed by an MSc in International Securities, Investment and Banking at the UK's ICMA Centre) and instinct for trading against news events, Singh pivoted and moved into the world of opinion polls. Specifically, he moved into the world of analyzing failings of opinion polls.

"Pollsters had unrepresentative samples” ahead of the UK election, Singh told the Financial Times. “The samples had too many people who were politically engaged." Contrary to the pre-election polling data, Singh called the outcome of the UK election correctly on his blog, 'Number cruncher politics.' Now he's busy analyzing data pertaining to the coming referendum on whether Britain should stay in the EU.

Singh's new career is interesting, but the pay isn't exactly comparable to Barclays' trading desk. Nowadays, some of his income is derived from betting on election results. His winnings before the UK general election were, “more like a post-Lehman bonus than a pre-Lehman bonus”, Singh told the FT. 

Separately, it's not just Barclays that will be cutting staff in early 2016. The Financial Times points out that BNP Paribas is also due a few redundancies. The French bank is due to announce a new cost cutting plan in February. Barclays is due to clarify its cost cutting plan in March. They may not be the only ones. Banking analyst Mike Mayo says US bank staff are also "at risk" as they struggle against, "the worst decade of revenue growth since the great depression.”  Cheery.


400,000 American finance and insurance workers lost their jobs between 2007 and 2012. 80,000 staff were cut by Europe’s top 30 banks between 2008 and 2014. (Financial Times) 

Retired New York hedge fund manager Daniel Szor has moved to the UK's Cotswolds and is trying to crowdfund a whisky and gin making enterprise. (Sunday Times) 

How one M&A banker spent 10 years cultivating a client who delivered a $130bn deal. (New York Times)  

Lloyd Blankfein is preparing to return to his full work schedule in early 2016. (The Australian)  

Ex-Citi trader accused of collusion is suing for wrongful dismissal. (Straits Times) 

Maybe the UK rules about banker accountability won't be softened after all. (Guardian) 

The higher educated the woman, the higher the fertility rate.  (Voxeu) 

Win affection and trust by spilling hot coffee on yourself whilst being a high performer. (NYMag)

Liars are more likely to have animated hand movements, make strong eye contact, nod their heads, and scowl. (QZ)

"I had a mountain of debt, and I was about to take a job as an investment banker. At the last minute, I ended up going to interview with a software company in Texas." (New York Times) 

Photo credit: Barclays by Håkan Dahlström is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


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