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Morning Coffee: The only difference that matters between Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. A special M&A banker

Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley

There are lists at Morgan Stanley

Goldman Sachs is a world leading bank in equities and IBD. Morgan Stanley is a world leading bank in equities. Goldman Sachs is renowned for its nimble fixed income trading division. Morgan Stanley is becoming renowned for its army of retail brokers. Morgan Stanley is white shoe elite. Goldman Sachs is Brooklyn savvy.

All this is true, but when it comes to the contemporary culture at the two firms there is only one thing you need to know: Morgan Stanley is driven by targets. Goldman Sachs is not.

So says Bloomberg in a long piece on how the two banks are evolving in different directions. At Morgan Stanley, Bloomberg says CEO James Gorman, an ex-McKinsey & Co partner, is obsessed with execution. Gorman loves, ‘stated goals, strategic checklists and marked to market updates.’ He has a list of ’10 priorities’ by his desk in red ink and checks them off as they’re accomplished. He writes the firm’s results by hand every night. And he makes sure the firm’s goals match its mission statement.

At Goldman Sachs, by comparison, life is a lot more lackadaisical. Bloomberg says Lloyd Blankfein eschews firmwide targets. It doesn’t have a return on equity goal. Lloyd Blankfein prizes flexibility and won’t even predict what he might have for lunch. – It’s all about adjusting to events. Which method of working best describes you?

Separately, Jamie Dimon’s eulogy for deceased deaalmker Jimmy Lee underscores what an unusual person Lee really was. Lee helped the families of the bank’s drivers and mailroom attendants, said Dimon. He paid for the college education of those who couldn’t afford it. He set up a J.P. Morgan band and paid the lead guitar. He was kind to everyone – PAs and juniors, irrespective of their position. And when Dimon was diagnosed with cancer, Lee came into his office, hugged him every day, and told him he loved him like a brother. At J.P. Morgan Lee’s former colleagues are said to be understandably bereft.

Meanwhile:

European M&A bankers usurped by inhouse advisors on Altice deal. (WSJ) 

RBS is focused on, ‘becoming a substantially UK and Ireland focused retail and commercial bank with a core wholesale banking offer.’ (RBS)

Swiss asset manager Unigestion wants to hire 20 people in London. It doesn’t care for ‘Brexit’. (Financial News)

Citadel is setting up a new stock picking unit, in San Francisco. (WSJ)

Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin could replace London as Europe’s financial hub if Britain leaves the European Union, according to Standard & Poor’s. (Bloomberg) 

Moelis just hired a New York based Credit Suisse banker for its private client advisory business. (Bloomberg) 

Wife of redundant Greek banker laments inability to buy Prada handbags. (Financial Times) 

“It was like something out of The Wolf of Wall Street, but on the Tube.” (RT News) 


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