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Morning Coffee: Citi belatedly pays allowances to 600 people. Blackstone’s hot trading jobs

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Goodish news for 600 bankers at Citigroup. Nearly 10 months after the implementation of the European Union’s 100% cap on bonuses, the Financial Times reports that the US bank has decided to follow in the footsteps of rivals and introduce ‘fixed monthly payments’ alongside salaries for its bankers in London. 600 bankers who fall under the bonus cap regulations will reportedly receive the new monthly payments, which won’t lead to an overall increase in their pay but are simply be designed to mitigate the effect of lower bonuses as mandated by the new regulations.

So far so good, except that it’s not clear whether Citi’s new allowances will also be backdated to compensate for lower bonuses at the bank this year, or whether they’re simply being introduced at this late stage to help soften the blow. Curiously, the Financial Times adds that Citi is no stranger to paying allowances. – Even though a high proportion of Citi’s bonuses are paid in cash, 300 of the 600 Citi bankers receiving the all new top-up payments were already in receipt of existing allowances to help them cope with having a higher proportion of their bonuses deferred.

Separately, Blackstone has been doing some hiring for its exciting new ‘big bet hedge fund,’ Senfina Advisors. The Wall Street Journal reports that Senfina is close to, ‘to landing its first traders who will scour the world for concentrated investments.’ Eventually, Blackstone plans to have 30 trading teams, each with $100m to invest, who will scrape the globe for high conviction trading ideas to invest in. Interested candidates might want to get in touch with Sasi Digavalli, former head of risk management at Citadel and Brian Siegel, former head of operations at Och Ziff, both of whom were hired in the summer to help oversee the venture.

Meanwhile:

The average bonus per employee in the finance and insurance industry was £13.3k in the year to April 2014. (ONS) 

Bonuses for bankers rose 5.5% in the year to April 2014, but this might have been because previous year’s bonuses were deferred to avoid tax. (Financial Times)

Credit Suisse held merger talks with Julius Baer. (Bloomberg) 

HSBC hired Ian Burns from SocGen to head pan-European sales for UK clients. Burns used to be a prop trader. HSBC seems to be building its equities business. (Financial News) 

Code names for M&A deals gave junior bankers a chance to get creative (‘Project Cleavage’) but are now being chosen by computers. (WSJ) 

Morgan Stanley might be selling its physical oil business but it’s quietly opening a natural gas export facility. (Reuters) 

Bankers were big spenders in Zurich brothels. (Bloomberg)  

Three helpful hiring questions asked at Amazon. (Mashable) 

Should you accept your offer from your internship employer. (Poets and quants) 

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