If you want to make money in banking, RBS is not often thought of as the place to do it. Beyond associate-level, investment banking employees at RBS are paid towards the bottom of the market according to data from benchmarking company Emolument. And yet, some senior people in RBS's global markets business appear to be living very pleasantly indeed.
44 year-old Toby Cole is a case in point. An RBS managing director and head of macro sales and origination, Cole lives on an island in the Thames. There, the Henley Standard, a local paper for residents of Henley on Thames outside London, reports that Cole is demolishing his existing island residence and building a replacement designed by an architect specializing in "dream" properties.
Cole's modernist new home will have 'seven bedrooms, a playroom, relaxation spaces and a boathouse.' Shaped like a diamond, it will be accessed via a bridge from the mainland and offer 'spectacular views of the river.' It will also raised and flood-proofed to avoid a repeat of past inundations during which Cole says he was forced to wear "chest-waders" in order to access his front door.
If all goes to plan, Cole will be resident in his futuristic new property by Christmas 2016. RBS is expected to eliminate thousands more jobs from its investment bank this year, but Cole is certainly not behaving like a man in the grips of insecure employment. It helps that macro is a business that RBS CEO Ross McEwan seemingly wants to maintain, even as other areas are dispensed with. It probably helps too that Cole has 'only' worked for RBS for five years, having previously spent nine years as European head of FX sales at Credit Suisse and nearly two years as head of strategic FX at Goldman Sachs. - And that Cole's father, George Cole, had a lucrative career as one of the UK's best known actors of the 1980s.
Separately, further information has been divulged regarding HSBC's unexpected decision to hike salaries. HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver told Bloomberg that he stopped HSBC's salary freeze after the bank's juniors complained. By increasing salaries this year and deducting the increase from the 2016 bonus pool, Gulliver said the bank is shifting the pain to more senior HSBC bankers who, "arguably can afford it."
Stuart Gulliver says HSBC is still committed to Asia but that the bank might do a little less hiring in China than previously planned. (Bloomberg)
Stuart Gulliver will probably leave HSBC soon after 2017. (Evening Standard)
Forget HSBC, it's Standard Chartered that needs to leave London. (Bloomberg)
Lessons on contract negotiation from Katherine Garrett Cox: demand one year's salary as a pay-off if you're let go. (Evening Standard)
Roughly 70% of credit traders who lost their jobs at the 12 largest investment banks in 2015 had been in the industry for more than 10 years. (Financial News)
UBS is now giving staff a grade of one to five for their behaviour. That grade will feed into their bonuses. (Reuters)
Scott Francoeur, the former head of emerging markets credit sales at Morgan Stanley, has joined UBS. (Business Insider)
What you studied reflects your personality. (BPS)
Photo credit:79 - 83 Colmore Row - RBS -by Elliott Brown is licensed under CC BY 2.0.