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Morning Coffee: The real reason why investment bankers quit. Hedge fund billionaire rubs staff the wrong way

stressed, stress, stressed out, Citadel

Running on empty

Even though investment banks claim to be making efforts to improve work/life balance, hours remain excessive and this is causing a lot of stress in the sector.

Senior investment bankers are stressed, according to research by MetLife in Financial News. 95% of respondents said they were expected always to be available for work – seven days a week – with 50% saying their weekends had been disturbed by work at least 25 times during the past year.

Sure, bankers are well paid for working under high levels of stress, but people can only take so much before their productivity suffers.

A managing director working at a U.S. bank in London said that the round-the-clock working culture has actually gotten worse.

Half of all executives in MetLife’s study said their job had become more stressful over the past year, with 40% saying it’s extremely stressful. More than two-thirds said they were considering quitting their jobs in the next year if stress levels do not improve.

One former trader at a large U.S. bank said that there was a “sense of right of passage and a badge of honor for staying up longest and working hardest” and a culture of “never saying no, regardless of how much you had on.”

Many financial institutions now offer mindfulness courses and other well-being-focused activities for their staff, but many bankers don’t have the time or their managers don’t want to let their team take the time to participate.

Just 23% of employees said they feel that they can talk about stress issues with their managers.

“Suggesting you can’t cope with the workload is tantamount to weakness,” the former trader said. “Telling friends and family, I guess is different, but telling your superiors you are struggling is very unlikely.”

Separately, Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, is an adept reader of markets, a savvy investor and a master of finance. However, Griffin isn’t known as a people person and is notoriously hard to work for, according to Bloomberg.

Griffin hired Kevin Turner, the former chief operating officer of Microsoft, in July as the first CEO of market-making subsidiary Citadel Securities, but he lasted only seven months at Citadel before unexpectedly leaving last week by “mutual agreement.”

Griffin bet that Turner’s corporate experience building out Microsoft’s cloud-computing business and boosting retail sales at Sam’s Club would translate to financial services, paying him $25m a year.

Now that Turner’s out, Peng Zhao, previously chief scientist and global head of market making, is the new CEO.

“I want tension in my business,” Griffin said last year. “Tension creates change. Change is necessary to evolve and prosper. I am never satisfied.”

Meanwhile:

Evercore’s new CEO John Weinberg wants to hire (Bloomberg)

Deutsche Bank suffered a worse-than-expected net loss in the fourth quarter due to litigation costs and client anxiety. (WSJ)

The German bank apologized profusely for its various misdeeds that tarnished its reputation and cost it billions of euros in fines and settlements and mentioned that top managers’ bonuses would be trimmed. (New York Times)

John Cryan is hoping he can offer staff bigger bonuses for 2017. (City A.M.)

Deutsche Bank added to its key ratio through business sales and slashing assets from its bad bank, but the specter of global capital rule changes looms. (WSJ)

Will Cryan decide to sell stock to shore up the bank’s capital, which has been eroded by misconduct fines? (Bloomberg)

Deutsche’s negative return on equity for 2016 was in contrast to strong showings from rivals such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. (Bloomberg)

Is the investment banking analyst dying? (Financial Times)

Hedge fund Two Sigma uses three factors to identify its rising stars. (Business Insider)

BlackRock’s CEO sent a memo to staff discussing the “uncertain” and “uneasy” times we live in. (Business Insider)

SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci, who sold his Wall Street firm to work for President Trump, may have to settle for an ambassador position. (WSJ)

Hedge fund manager Dan Loeb is betting President Trump will make hedge funds great again. (Reuters)

The White House and Congress are pushing for changes to the visa programs favored by technology and other companies. (WSJ)

Some fear that immigration uncertainty threatens America’s tech dominance. (WSJ)

The president promised to do a “big number” on the Dodd-Frank Act, leading to a rancorous fight between financial startups and banks over one small section of the law. (WSJ)

British MPs backed triggering Article 50 last night but the bill now faces a series of votes on individual aspects of Brexit, such as the status of EU citizens in the UK. (Daily Mail)

“There is no clear indication of whether the UK is prepared to offer the maintenance of EU rules in return for third country access, or whether the existing access measures are considered adequate or in need of radical expansion.” (Financial News)

Ashish Thakkar, Bob Diamond’s poster boy billionaire, is now struggling a bit. (WSJ)

German prosecutors are investigating Deutsche Boerse’s CEO for insider trading. (Reuters)

Bankers and hedge fund managers tend to be art collectors, but young Silicon Valley millionaires? Not so much. (Bloomberg)


Photo credit: PeskyMonkey/GettyImages

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