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Morning Coffee: Senior bankers disclose secret sadness. Two industries that pay more than finance

Sad bankers

Study finds bankers are strangely empty

Money makes you happy. – Right? Yes, according to a recent report from the UK Office of National Statistics, which found that greater wealth was generally equated with greater well being. And yet senior bankers, many of whom are on incomes in excess of £300k and surely have a mountain of assets more enormous than the average, are strangely hollow and unfulfilled.

So says a new study published in the Journal of Organizational Studies and reported upon by Quartz. Academics at Queen Mary University of London and Lund University in Sweden followed six senior banking professionals over a two year period and came to the conclusion that a successful finance career requires a total and potentially irreversible suppression of the self. ““They [bankers] literally don’t have a self—it is bypassed, put to one side,” said Maxine Robertson of Queen Mary University of London. “Despite extensive and repeated interviews with each, there was an absence of a clear or rich story of identity,” the academics said. ““Meaningfulness, emotions, and personal investment in work values were not salient in their career histories.”

The academics referred to this self-suppression as ‘Teflonic identity manufacturing’ – or the avoidance of any sort of identity associated with work. Curiously, however, they found that even outside work, the bankers they interviewed maintained a similar sort of evasiveness. – Few had unusual or interesting hobbies: money was spent in ways that would ensure they fitted in with colleagues rather than differentiated a self. However, the representative bankers suggested that they were postponing  their identities rather than negating them. ‘They spoke of vague, general plans for an “expansive and independent life” in the future, after they left banking,’ says Quartz. Some talked about being able to provide for their families when they didn’t even have a partner. Ultimately, it all sounds a bit sad.

Separately, you don’t have to focus on finance if you want to earn money. The new College Salary Report from Payscale suggests that the highest paid students at mid-career are those who studied strategy or petroleum engineering. Similarly, the highest paid MBAs have focused on strategy or strategy and management. MBAs who’ve majored in corporate finance or finance rank only ninth and 11th in terms of mid-career compensation.

Meanwhile:

Deutsche Bank just hired an ex-Citi banker as new head of fixed income sales for the Americas. (Bloomberg) 

UBS is working on a new ‘utility settlement coin’ which it hopes will become a basis for settling banking transactions. (WSJ) 

Barclays has hired Troels Oerting, a former head of Europol’s European Crime Center, to set up a ‘red team’ which hacks its own system in search of holes. (Independent) 

Jefferies just hired a new head of European equities trading from UBS. (Business Insider) 

SocGen’s co-head of US DCM just left the bank. (Bloomberg) 

It’s a bad time to be working for an emerging markets hedge fund. (Financial Times) 

If you study at a weak university, you’re more likely to get a 1st class degree. (Sunday Times) 

Having banned flipflops at Barclays, John McFarlane has been seen hanging out in jeans and an open necked shirt. (Sunday Times) 

Ian Hannam has a 54 acre garden. (Financial Times) 

)Photo credit: Sarah Ross) 

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