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Morning Coffee: J.P. Morgan’s new way of keeping juniors happy. Bridgewater just got even stranger

J.P. Morgan junior

JPMorgan is encouraging its technologists to doodle collaboratively

Keeping 20-something employees contented is a thing. Goldman Sachs upped the ante late last year with its accelerated promotions for analysts in its investment bank. Now J.P. Morgan has thrown down a whole new gauntlet: it’s allowing another group of its younger employees to….draw on the furniture.

“You can write on almost every surface that you see,” says Gavin Michael, head of digital at JPMorgan Chase, expansively of the bank’s new office for tech staff at 5 Manhattan West, “- It’s about really being to encourage that collaboration.”

Michael’s comments are included in a hitherto little-noticed video made by CNBC. At  5 Manhattan West, it’s clear that JPMorgan Chase has gone all-out with the aesthetics in an attempt to attract the sort of millennial technologist who wants to work in the Googleplex. –  When you’re not drawing on white pod chairs, you can be playing snooker, or playing Fifa, or jamming-out on the ‘nearby acoustic and electric guitars.’ You can wear ‘leather pants’ (in the US sense), sit on green zen benches, or pay a trip to the ‘micro-market’ for Coke on a blue plastic scooter.

Manhattan West is reportedly one of several new ‘millennial-friendly’ offices at JPMorgan Chase, with others at Brooklyn, Columbus, Ohio Delaware and San Francisco. The bank is also in the process of spending £30m (44k) on upgrading its Bournemouth-based operations and technology hub, suggesting similar scenes might be coming to the UK.

“What we’re doing is competing on talent,” says Michael. ” – It really is about how do we win the very best talent to come and help us change an industry.”

Is it working? The technologists in CNBC’s video all look quite contented. The writing on surfaces doesn’t seem to be going to plan though: instead of brainstorming ideas, CNBC (which was seemingly filming at Christmas) captured a rudimentary festive pastiche of Snoopy, a wreath, some bells and a snowman. “It’s all just basically dry-erase,” says one bank executive. “Exactly,” agrees another; “Exactly,” repeats the first.

Separately, hedge fund Bridgewater has long had a reputation for being outré in terms of managerial style. Recently, however, it’s taken things to an entirely new level. The Wall Street Journal reports that Bridgewater has issued employees with iPads equipped with apps that record how they feel at work. These include a “pain button” (for feelings like angry, frustrated and sad) and a “dot collector” (to allow Bridgewater employees to continuously rate one another across 60 metrics, including “willingness to touch a nerve,” “conceptual thinking” and “reliability.) The WSJ reports that 25% of Bridgewater’s new hires leave within 18 months, but those who stay beyond that are more likely to stick around. The “pain button” may yet catch-on.

Meanwhile:

Google’s average UK employee is paid £160k. (Independent) 

Tidjane Thiam asked Credit Suisse’s board to cut his bonus by 25% to 50%. (Financial Times)

Tidjane Thiam said his bonus “has been substantially reduced,” though he didn’t elaborate. He added that, “the board of directors explained to me at the same time that people are happy with my work. (WSJ) 

Tidjane Thiam says he did not intend to give a profit target for Credit Suisse’s investment bank: “I never announced a 2018 goal of a 9-10 billion (Swiss francs) profit.” (Reuters)

Craig Packer, Goldman’s co-head of leveraged finance in the Americas is one of the founders of a new PE fund called Owl Rock Capital, based in New York. (WSJ)

Citi’s chairman of leveraged finance is leaving after 30 years. (Bloomberg) 

Sara Dawes Price, an investment banker focused on private placements, has left Barclays Plc to join former Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman’s PJT Partners. (Reuters) 

Morgan Stanley now hiring in Japan. (Bloomberg) 

Goldman Sachs is indicating that its trading business is about to become more client-focused. (Telegraph) 

How to spot a bad boss before you start a new job: email ex-members of his/her team. (HBR)

More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends. (NCBI) 

People who prioritize time over money are happier. (BPS) 

Photo credit: Doodles by Zara Gonzalez Hoang is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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