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Morning Coffee: The reality for hot 20-somethings on the trading floor? How older Wall Street pros fight juniorisation

Illustration of the crisis concept with a businessman in panic

When investment banks sell entry level roles to eager 21-year-olds, it’s easy to believe they’re joining a country club. They’re told it’s all based on teamwork, the environment is “collegial” and mentors abound chomping at the bit to help them in their career.

Lloyd Blankfein says that young people need to “chill” and loosen up and only yesterday Jamie Dimon told a room full of MBAs that they should “cultivate your strengths, including your EQ, which will encourage people to trust you”. Maybe you’re being sold a pup.

In his highly-acclaimed book Spider Network about Tom Hayes, the former UBS trader at the center of the Libor-rigging scandal, WSJ journalist David Enrich paints a picture of how Hayes – who has Asperger’s syndrome and drunk hot chocolate on nights out with colleagues – rose to the top on the trading floor. Hayes claims he was entirely honest about his positions and never received any indications to change anything from his senior managers. Even after he was let go by Citigroup – having been lured across with $4.2m bonus – after ten months as regulators began to ask more questions, he was still courted by Deutsche Bank and Bank of America.

Hayes was, says Enrich, the victim of a system turned a blind eye as long as the money came in, and then dropped him as soon as it all turned sour. As the FT points out, Alexis Stenfors, a former Merrill Lynch trader turned university lecturer, might have pegged life on the trading floor better by telling his students to put down their textbooks and read Hunger Games to get a better sense of what’s in store. Does this put off the eager 20-somethings? Not really: “What can I do to become a trader?” said one student at the front.

Separately, we’ve pointed out previously that older male hedge fund traders feel the pressure to maintain a hyper-masculine “warrior” physique to keep up with their younger peers, but rich old men on Wall Street have a new secret weapon – human growth hormone (HGH), according to the New York Post. In the new world of juniorisation, older (and wealthier) consultants, traders and tech executives are injecting HGH with the main aim of regaining lost energy to compete with younger workers. The fact that it one consultant’s “hair got thicker, and my skin got smoother and shiny” is a happy by-product.

Meanwhile: 

Jamie Dimon says that Brexit “does not entail moving many people in the next two years” (Telegraph)

But: “There will be constant pressure by the EU not to “outsource” services to the United Kingdom but to continue to move people and capabilities into EU subsidiaries.” (J.P. Morgan)

The EU will demand that Euro trading moves to the Continent (Bloomberg)

Banks and asset managers are already gearing up to open in Dublin, says IDA Ireland’s head of financial services (Financial News)

Things are getting better for investment banks and worse for asset managers (Financial News)

Investors have poured $700m into Alan Howard’s personally managed fund (The Times)

Not a single financial services organisation has 50% of senior roles filled by women (Financial Times)

Bob Diamond will hire senior bankers at Panmure Gordon, but he’s still in the minor leagues (Bloomberg)

Trump is turning the screws on H1-B visas, and big tech firms will suffer (Bloomberg)

Foreigner going on a business trip to the U.S.? Prepare to have your phone contacts searched (WSJ)

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Photo: Getty Images

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