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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs and the employee who crashed his hoverboard. Bank CEO admits to long lie-in

We've written about working in technology for Goldman Sachs' Marcus division here before, along with the gripes about the late nights that went into getting 'Project Cookie' (the Apple Card) off the ground, but it seems we may have missed a few things, like the time a Marcus employee was on a hoverboard and crashed it in the NY office...

The Wall Street Journal has done its own digging into Marcus. It says that the birth of Goldman's consumer bank hasn't gone entirely smoothly, but notes too that the new bank has achieved an impressive $50bn in deposits, has helped lure technology talent to the firm, and - in the words of Omer Ismail, the head of Marcus' U.S. business - has allowed Goldman to 'develop muscles' it didn't know it had. 

Those new muscles and new technology employees associated with them have left an imprint on the firm. It's a long way from WeWork, but the WSJ notes that Harit Talwar, the man running Marcus, wears Allbirds sneakers rather than the Salvatore Ferragamo loafers worn by Goldman bankers in the past. There are different tastes: the coders hired by Marcus from Silicon Valley seem to have expected MacBooks to work on, and were upset when their requests for Apple laptops were rejected. And then there was the hoverboard incident....

It's not entirely clear what happened here, but the WSJ reports that the hoverboard came to Goldman with Adam Dell from Clarity Money (a brand Marcus acquired and assimilated) and that Dell (the venture capitalist brother of Michael) used to 'zip around' Goldman's New York headquarters on it. Goldman appears to have been fine with this, until someone less competent borrowed Dell's hoverboard and crashed it in the office - at which point legal stepped in and 'confiscated' the new method of transport. There will be no hoverboarding in Goldman again.

As a metaphor for the tension between the old and new ways of doing things (and technologists and bankers), the hoverboard incident seems pretty hard to beat. It's not even clear whether you could use a hoverboard in a pair of Ferragamo loafers, although now that most Goldman bankers are dress-down this might not be an issue anyhow. 

Goldman's established employees might be expected to welcome the Silicon Valey upstarts in their midst. Undoubtedly many have, but the WSJ also reports complaints after issues of bathroom overcrowding on the 26th floor in New York when traders were 'edged into a corner' (in the office, not the bathroom) by the new Marcus hires. Talwar for his part seems to have gently ribbed the trading business with a comment to the effect of, "Thanks for making all the money we’re spending,” when he arrived.

However, while some of Goldman's traders might feel miffed at the lack of an immediate toilet stall or reduced space in the office, the reality is that they need Marcus just as much as Marcus needs them. The WSJ notes that low costs retail deposits are in vogue as a form of bank funding and that Goldman's stock still trades below that of rival banks whose deposits are deeper and more established. The wild new technologists are there to stay, even if the hoverboard is absolutely prohibited.

Separately, if you slept until 11am at the weekend, you were not alone. Ana Botín, chairman of Banco Santander (and nemesis of Andrea Orcel) has been talking to Bloomberg about her sleeping routine. Botín says she only sleeps between five and six hours each night on a weekday, but that when weekends and holidays are factored-in she averages seven hours and forty five minutes in bed. Botín is Spanish, so presumably has long holidays, but if she's only sleeping 5.5 hours on a week night, the implication is that she's in bed for around 12 hours at least on each night at the weekend...


Jo Hannaford, head of technology for Goldman Sachs in EMEA said Goldman brought Marcus to the UK using Amazon's AWS cloud product. [Some Goldman insiders are disputing this; Hannaford was apparently misquoted.] (ComputerWorld)

PwC UK says its thinking of letting an external body review its auditors' pay. Not everyone is convinced: : “PwC have commissioned this report to show that it is self-regulating. The history of British audit regulation is littered with self-regulation and this needs to change radically.” (Financial Times) 

Adam Neumann employed 20 friends and family members at WeWork. He's said to have had a 'small spa and ice bath' attached to his office and to have had a driver for his $100k Mercedes Maybach. (WSJ) 

A Goldman equities Partner, Arun Dhar, has left - despite only being made partner in 2018. (Business Insider) 

Goldman Sachs hired Mahir Zaimoglu, former head of M&A for EMEA at JPMorgan as an MD in its financial sponsors group. (Financial News) 

SocGen put Hussein Dbouk, its head of bond trading, at risk of redundancy. (Financial News) 

Goldman's head of social media has been explaining how they're trying to counter established perceptions of bankers as 'fat cats.' (PR Daily)

A former advisor to Tidjane Thiam at Credit Suisse says (of Thiam): “He’s immensely talented. He’s a real charmer, but he is a bit of a plotter and schemer.” (The Times)  

Shareholders don't want Thiam to go over the fight-at-the-party/spying affair. (Bloomberg) 

Thiam's close confidant - Credit Suisse COO Pierre-Olivier Bouee (with whom he worked at Prudential and McKinsey) seems most likely to be blamed. (Bloomberg) 

Iqbal Khan is supposed to be joining UBS this week. “I fully expect him to be at his desk on Tuesday morning.” (Financial Times) 

Before Khan moved next door to Thiam he occuped, 'aterraced house in the low-tax but also low-key canton of Schwyz.' (Financial Times) 

Jefferies laid off 15 people in its energy investment banking business. (Reuters) 

Deutsche Bank says European banks have become better at managing costs than U.S. peers which have been 'spoiled by success.' (DB Research)

 KPMG is making European staff below the rank of senior manager hand in their free company phones as it cuts costs. (Financial Times) 

Photo by naomi tamar on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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