Morning Coffee: Senior bankers have this strange phone fetish. Goldman Sachs and the quest for ‘meaning’

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We’ve been here before. While you might think the world’s most powerful investment bankers endowed with the world’s most portable handheld devices, you would be wrong. What really and truly distinguishes a top banker with deep client relationships and a weight of internal responsibilities, is the possession of an ancient and uncomplicated Samsung phone dating back to 2002.

Paul Taubman of Blackstone has one. And so, we learn, does Yann Gérardin, head of corporate and institutional banking at BNP Paribas.

We don’t know why Gérardin has the Samsung, which is on display during a long interview with Euromoney, but we suspect it’s for the same reasons as Taubman: the battery life is long, the call quality is good, you can have a truly “intimate” conversation with clients.

Euromoney says Gérardin’s children mock him for his phone, but equipped with his handset of choice he appears to be doing something right. In a world where returns are everything, BNP’s corporate and investment bank has one of the highest pre-tax returns on equity in the sector: 18.6% for 2015.  - It’s not just the Samsung that harks back to a different era.

Separately, not happy with giving its juniors Saturdays off, accelerated promotions, and less tedious workloads, Goldman Sachs is also trying to imbue their lives with a sense of meaning. The New York Times reports that the firm has launched an initiative allowing its analysts to compete for funds to be donated to a charitable cause of their choosing.

The funds in question will be diverted from Goldman Sachs Gives, the bank’s philanthropic arm. Analysts who’ve been with the firm for a year are invited to form teams and pitch their charitable proposals, as they would a deal, to a committee that decides the winners. It’s a worthy notion – although analysts who are already working 70 hour weeks might wonder when they’ll find the time. Maybe on their Saturday afternoons off?


Citigroup is hiring Armando Diaz from hedge fund Millennium Capital Management as global head of equities. (Business Insider)

The father of IPOs said his phone line would still be open for executives to call for advice: “I might be leaving 200 West physically, but I’ll never leave 200 West emotionally.” (NY Times)

Possibly the best email ever sent by a partner at Goldman Sachs. (Business Insider) 

Sign of the times? As debt capital markets revenues flounder, Deutsche Bank just combined its DCM and leveraged finance operations in Asia: “It’s not about efficiency or headcount.” (Bloomberg)

Investment bankers in their mid and late 40s keep leaving Deutsche Bank’s Asian business. (Bloomberg) 

Colm Kelleher at Morgan Stanley: “Were the UK to leave the EU, we are convinced that there would be a significant backlash against London as a global financial centre.” (Financial Times) 

Credit Suisse man warns that 45,000 banking jobs could go if Britain leaves the EU. (Bloomberg)

London is propping up the European IPO market. (WSJ)

Now Visa, Thomson Reuters and BNY Mellon are hiring Blockchain specialists too. (Finextra) 

Donald Trump is causing uncertainty. That could be bad for M&A. (MarketWatch)

Is your M&A banker conflicted? (WSJ)

Isis has some talented FX traders. (Telegraph)

The accountant accused of insider trading alongside an ex-Deutsche Bank managing director started storing food in case of “civil unrest” at the start of the financial crisis and built an “armoury” of spears, sticks and baseball bats with which to defend it. (Bloomberg)

A do-gooder trapped in an investment banker’s body. (WeseGenius) 

It is no longer acceptable to wear red trousers.  (Evening Standard)

Photo credit: Old phone by .craig  is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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