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Morning Coffee: “I tried to stop my bank hiring from the upper middle classes.” Misfortune for Barclays MD

middle class bankers

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Investment banks like to hire from the established ‘elites.’ We know this because of figures from Financial News showing that 33% of UK ‘bankers’ were privately educated even though this falls to 7% for the UK population as a whole. We know it too because of a big academic study published in September which found that banks reject students who lack “polish” and wear brown shoes.

In theory, banks want to do something about this. There are special programs to help students from less auspicious backgrounds access the industry and Hirevue interviews are supposed to subtract class prejudice from the hiring process. In reality, however, humans still call the shots. And if you haven’t got the right background, the odds are stacked against you.

A quant at one major U.S. bank tweeted his struggle to bring diversity to the summer intern pool. His Tweets (including typos) are below. Seemingly, he gave up.

I’m a sell side equities quant. We were interviewing intern candidates. Three from prestigious schools, one from an unprestigious school

I had to rate everyone and compare my ratings to what others said. Turns out I was 100% out of consensus

I wanted to give the unpolished kids a chance, and turn away the people that had done “all the right things”. I was strongly overruled.

You cant fight the system and it’s love of credentials, leadership roles, and social polish

Separately, things haven’t been going well for Richard Boath, the former co-head of global finance at Barclays. Boath is one of several former Barclays’ employees being investigated by the British Serious Fraud office over Barclays’ £7.3bn emergency cash call in 2008. Boath was responsible for raising funding in the capital markets for financial institutions at Barclays. Unfortunately, his witness statement to the SFO was given to Barclays, shortly after which Barclays sacked him in February. Boath is now suing the bank for wrongful dismissal after he blew the whistle.

Meanwhile:

Thanks to Donald Trump, Brevan Howard is on track for its first positive year since 2013. (Financial Times) 

“Deutsche has been the only major Wall Street bank to continue to lend to Donald Trump and his entities in the wake of six Trump-business bankruptcies.” (WSJ)

ECM bonuses are going to be truly awful. (Financial News) 

Top hedge fund managers earn 10x more than bad ones. (Financial Times) 

“I looked at every bank website and applied for every single Spring Week.” (DMU) 

“The London School of Economics was founded on certain values, and researching and acting on poverty – now, it is a culture, a brand, an employment agency.’ (London School of Economics)

The chairman of ICBC, China’s largest bank, was paid $81k. (Bloomberg) 

In China, it’s usual to sleep for one to two hours at lunchtime. (BBC)

The larger your signature, the greater your narcissism. (British Psychological Society) 

How to be charismatic when you work in banking. (WiLOW)


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

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