Morning Coffee: The interns are coming, and they’re getting special treatment. Revisiting Morgan Stanley’s cuts

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It’s that time again. In the U.S. at least, this year’s summer interns have already arrived at investment banks. In Asia they’re turning up this week; in Europe, they’re turning up next. As banks pivot to low-cost staff who know how to code, hiring juniors is all the rage. This year’s intern classes are therefore likely to be big. They’re also being treated a bit differently to their predecessors.

Bank of America is bringing in 1,500 interns this year and in the U.S. they’ll be at their desks from today. As ever, BofA’s internship began with ‘orientation sessions’ but this year’s orientation has an extra element – ‘wellness’ and what it requires when you’re a 20 year-old only just embarking on a demanding career.

BofA doesn’t elaborate on what its wellness message entails, but given that it’s being imparted in conjunction with Thrive Global, the organization founded by Arianna Huffington, it’s possible to guess.  – Thrive is all about avoiding burnout and maintaining mental and physical health. In her book, ‘Thrive,’ Huffington says that pursuing money and power alone is akin to sitting on a two-legged stool: a third leg is necessary for stability and it needs to be more meaningful and focused on health and balance.

BofA isn’t alone in taking a closer interest in the physical and mental wellbeing of its summer interns. The head of HR at another bank told us recently that mental health training for graduates is becoming a big deal as banks seek to avoid the mistakes of the past, when analysts and interns routinely overworked – often voluntarily – to the point of exhaustion.  

Maybe this is the start of a new era? Goldman Sachs already slightly restricted interns’ working hours in 2015 when it commanded all its summer staff to leave the office by midnight. This year’s interns may, in any case, have different ideas of what’s required to those who came before them. -Thanks to video interviews that help eliminate human bias, BofA’s 2019 interns are more diverse than ever – nearly half are women and over half (57%) of the U.S. intern group are non-Caucasian.

Separately, there’s a chill in London following the revelation that last month’s equities redundancies at Morgan Stanley were even deeper than first supposed. Business Insider says it’s not just high-touch sales traders who were let go, but also an equities algo trader and a longstanding equity researcher, plus other equity research staff. The cuts are fueling fears that MiFID II is having a delayed effect and that falling equities trading revenues raise the risk of further deep cuts to come at other banks.


Some of JPMorgan’s interns may be stressed from the start. – The bank is said to be shifting some of the credit risk interns who thought they were joining in New York City to Plano Texas instead. (Dealbreaker)

Summer interns and new analysts should take up running. “For a junior out of college looking for a job, it’s another way for them to connect,” says Ricardo Mora, a partner at Goldman Sachs (who organizes an intern running event). “One day they’re sitting at a desk working with them, the next day at 5.30am they’re running the Brooklyn Bridge with a managing director, a partner, someone from the firm, running alongside them.” (Financial Times)

David Solomon says Goldman Sachs’ efforts with Marcus are under-appreciated. “If we were out in Silicon Valley and made 20% of the progress that we’ve made, we would get a lot of credit and people would be throwing money at us to own a piece of this business. But nestled inside little old Goldman Sachs, we’re just going to have to prove it over time.” (CNBC)

Sergio Ermotti says UBS’s investment bankers are doing a “fantastic job” and keeping up with rivals (after months of underperformance). (FiNews)  

Now Fitch downgraded Deutsche Bank. (Yahoo)

Ex-CEO Anshu Jain is also among the DB staff being investigated for a scheme to avoid paying tax on dividends. (Reuters) 

Michael Bloomberg is donating $500m to close all coal-fired power stations by 2030. (NYPost)

How a financial advisor to 23 year-old basketball players teaches them to avoid instant gratification and invest up to 80% of their earnings. (New York Times)

LinkedIn and Facebook are enabling companies to only show job adverts to employees of certain ages and experience levels. (New York Times) 

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