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Is Wall Street facing a Greek epidemic?

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Why, despite top-down efforts by banks to recruit more women, does Wall Street continue to be a playground for men, typically of a similar background? Maybe it’s as simple as man’s affinity for stale beer and the Greek alphabet.

Bloomberg published an interesting article this week that looks at the power of networking through one’s fraternity. While commonsense will tell you that a secret handshake can open doors, it appears a Greek connection holds more weight on Wall Street than in other less opaque industries.

According to the article, it’s all-too-common for alumni to fast-track graduating fraternity brothers to the top of resume piles, despite the fact that, often times, their credentials don’t stack up to those of many of their competitors. Several fraternities, including one that lost its official charter after a hazing incident, have sent a graduating member to prominent banks each and every year for at least the last half-decade, many longer. One fraternity has sent nearly 3,000 men to Wall Street, according to Bloomberg.

The employment of a seemingly static personality – a concern that banks are admittedly working hard to remedy – may be to blame for some of the stigmas surrounding Wall Street, whether fair or unfair. Late last year, Deutsche Bank board member Stephan Leithner said that the average citizen doesn’t trust big banks, in part, because of the perception that the industry is being run by young, male, money-obsessed bankers.

On the surface, banks seem to agree that they need to recruit a more diverse candidate base. Many, including Goldman Sachs, have launched recruiting campaigns to hunt down junior bankers who don’t fit the stereotypical mold.

The 21 That are Hiring (eFinancialCareers)

Most firms are in the midst of formulating their hiring plans for 2014, which of course will be subject to change according to the whims of the market. However, some financial services organizations have already boldly stepped into the public arena, declaring “we are hiring.” Here are those firms.

Darn FICC (WSJ)

Total investment banking revenue in 2013 is down 6% year-over-year, although the industry would have fared well if not for sagging fixed income revenue. That revenue pool shrank as much as 21% in 2013.

They’re Watching (Bloomberg)

Brokers be warned. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is considered implementing a trading surveillance system aimed at preventing brokers from excessive trading and overcharging clients. FINRA levied nearly $70 million in fines last year without a holistic real-time monitoring system.

First NY, Then London (eFinancialCareers)

New figures from pay benchmarking company Emolument suggest that its best to spend your formative years in New York before switching to London once you move up the ranks.

Going Public (Bloomberg)

Alicia Glen, Goldman Sachs’ head of urban investment, is the latest Goldmanite to step foot in the public sector. New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has named Glen the new deputy mayor for housing and economic development.

Wet Behind the Ears (Reuters)

With fewer deals to work on in recent years, and with many banks cutting senior staff, M&A units find themselves with very few experienced dealmakers. Likely this is a problem in more than just M&A.

Buzz Around the Office

F-Minus (The Smoking Gun)

A 52-year-old New Jersey man was arrested last week after taking a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Police later found out the man also drove himself to the test while drunk and, obviously, without a license. Needless to say, he didn’t pass.

Quote of the Day: “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” – Phyllis Diller

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