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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs’ accelerated analyst promotions are just copying UBS and Citi. The wrath of J.P. Morgan II

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs was the first bank to introduce the concept of ‘protected weekends‘ for junior staff. Now it seems like the firm’s been a first mover again in introducing accelerated promotions for its analyst class,

As of now, it seems that Goldman will be promoting every single one of its analysts to associates after two years, instead of three. The most talented analysts will reportedly then be able to become vice presidents (VPs) after just three and half years with the firm – instead of four and a half years at present. David Solomon, co-head of the firm’s investment bank,  said the move is intended to, ‘get people on the track of being an associate,’ early. It will also mean that they can pull in an associate and VP salaries (of around £90k and £150k in London) ahead of time.

Big kudos to Goldman for being the first mover, again. – Except…Citi introduced something similar in December 2014 and UBS has been running an accelerated analyst program for a while. Moreover, recruiters have cautioned junior bankers against participating in the truncated programs, which they say leave trainees with inadequate modelling experience compared to those who’ve been through the full 36 month initiation.

To its credit, Goldman seems aware of the dangers. “We’re really trying to develop people for a longer period of time than two years because, candidly, it takes more than two years to figure out” whether banking is the right career, Solomon told Bloomberg.  The third year of what would have been the analyst program and will now be part of the associate program will therefore be spent in a period of career exploration in which the newly promoted associates get to rotate between roles.

At the same time, Goldman has attempted to head off complaints that some of the brightest minds of a generation are spending their time ‘copying and pasting’  by automating as much of the analyst’s role as possible. A new program has reduced the amount of time it takes to amass information for IPOs from 12 hours to one and pitchbooks are now more ‘focused’ and less time consuming. “We’re trying to evolve from a culture where more information that’s generic is better, to less information that actually is value-added and relevant,” Solomon said. That’s a good thing. – Back in 2014, Gregg Lemkau, co-head of M&A at Goldman suggested most clients don’t actually read pitchbooks anyway.

Separately, we’ve already noted the inadvisability of invoking the wrath of J.P. Morgan, but it’s worth reiterating. Last month, J.P. Morgan sacked some of its trainee analysts for cheating during its training program in New York City and compelled them to fly back to London out of their own pockets. This month, it transpires that J.P. Morgan has ‘reassigned’ its chief security officer Jim Cummings after last year’s massive data breach. Cummings, who previously commanded a team of 1,000 people, will henceforth be based in Texas, working on ‘military and veterans housing initiatives for the bank.’ Siberia comes to mind.

Meanwhile:

A new knowledge management function is being developed at Goldman Sachs to make it easier for bankers to find the information they need, while a new group of between 10 and 50 dedicated team managers will be installed across the bank to make sure processes are efficient. (Financial Times) 

Goldman leaders will now begin speaking with first-year analysts about their prospects for promotion after about six months on the job, around the time that private-equity firms and technology companies typically start making overtures to their talent. (WSJ) 

Jes Staley was compelled to buy 2.8m shares in Barclays at 233p each. Barclays has a policy that directors should own shares worth four times their salaries, which Staley has now achieved, as his salary is £1.2m. (Guardian)

Deutsche Bank just lost the co-heads of its US healthcare group to J.P. Morgan. (Reuters) 

You don’t have to be a quant building algorithms for banks in the City, you could always be a quant building algorithms for a bookmaker in Leeds. (Financial Times) 

Inside the retirement home for former executives at Deutsche Bank. (Zeit) 

Is Bank of America’s share price languishing because its executives never get to meet each other face to face? (WSJ) 

Actually, young people have no interest in working in finance whatsoever. (The Tally) 

Just because you work for AIG now, don’t assume you’ll work there forever and ever. (Bloomberg)  

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