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Morning Coffee: UBS cuts contractor rates just before Christmas. Bankers sleep 3 hours a night

Pre-Christmas cuts at UBS

Pre-Christmas cuts at UBS

It’s that time of year: casting about for ways to cut costs before the end of the fourth quarter, banks stumble upon technology contractors and figure they’re ripe for depredation. It happened just before Christmas 2011, and it’s happening again. In 2011 it was Goldman Sachs, this time it’s UBS which has decided to trim contractors’ rates just as the festivities get underway.

Contractor UK reports that UBS has given its IT contractors a choice: either they accept a 10% rate cut, or they leave their jobs before Christmas. UBS is the third bank to trim contractors’ rates in 2014 – HSBC, Barclays and UBS made similar cuts in the first half. Contractors at the Swiss bank are seemingly accepting of their punishment for fear that they’ll be replaced by rivals. “For every one [contractor who] makes a stand and declines the cut…[UBS] knows there are nine [others] who will grumble and take the cut,” a UBS contractor reportedly said. In fact, UBS’s rate reduction seems to have been well flagged – a reader mentioned it in a comment on an eFinancialCareers article at the end of October. The rate cut takes effect from December 1st, just in time for UBS’s planned 50% increase in systems investments in 2015.

Separately, Financial News reports that young M&A bankers are still insomniacs Share on twitter. A survey of 51 analysts and 44 associates by Ansarada, a maker of an ‘M&A app’, found that M&A analysts are surviving on as little as three hours’ sleep per night and taking less than two weekends off per month. This is despite banks’ attempts to reduce juniors’ working hours. Unsurprisingly, bankers who make it to the top before 40 count the ability to survive on very little sleep as one of their strengths.

Meanwhile:

Changing bankers’ attitudes to wrongdoing is like changing Briton’s attitudes to drink driving in the 1960s. It’s a generational thing. (The Times) 

European banks are gaming the leverage ratio. They are less robust than they seem. (Bloomberg) 

Derivatives killed the Brevan Howard commodities fund. (WSJ)

Fund managers need a rethink. ‘The portfolio that works well with oil priced at $110 oil is not the same portfolio that works at $70.” (Bloomberg) 

RBS staff are being asked to help out with branch repairs in their spare time. (PoliticsHome) 

‘Financial whizz kid’ Alex Hope, 25, masterminded a £5.5m Ponzi fraud to fund his hedonistic lifestyle and love of gambling, the jury was told. (Evening Standard) 

Women who speak in a gruff manly tone are perceived as less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, less attractive and less hirable.(WSJ)

It’s been a very bad year to work for a macro hedge fund. (Bloomberg) 

The best US business schools in 2014. (Poets and Quants)

The hyper-educated poor. (Elle) 

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