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Morning Coffee: A 22 year-old who will make you feel substantially inadequate. Deep thoughts on rejection from Wall Street CEO

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It used to be that all the exceptional students queuing up to join banks’ spring weeks and summer internships made worn-in 40-something bankers feel a bit under-qualified.”I’d never be able to get a job here now,” was the old refrain. Nowadays, even 26-year-old associates are likely to feel a bit unnerved by the high achieving youth. All the more so because the exemplars of the new generation don’t seem to be choosing careers in banks.

Take Austin Russell, now aged 22. In 6th grade (ie. aged around 11), he turned his Nintendo DS into a mobile phone when his parents wouldn’t buy him one. Four years later, he built a holographic keyboard. Two years later, he filed his first patent and five years further on he’s raised $150m to develop an incredibly accurate laser-sensing technology used by self-driving cars.

Needless to say, Russell has never been anywhere near an investment bank. He hasn’t even graduated from the top schools so beloved of bankers. He dropped out of Stanford when he received a $100k scholarship from Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist and entrepreneur who backed Facebook. There are no GPA scores or college degrees to testify to his brilliance – just a physics teacher 50 miles south of Los Angeles who tells Bloomberg Russell has a mind, “so broad that he literally always had 50 ideas going at one time.” Aged 17, Russell was quoted as saying. “You should push yourself to the limit at least, ultimately. That’s what you have to do if you want to make an impact on the world.”

Analysts and associates in investment banks can only watch and weep.

Separately, Jefferies’ CEO Richard Handler has some big thoughts about what it’s like to feel rejected. Handler’s written a whole letter to clients about the sensation of being unloved and why that’s actually no bad thing as long as someone somewhere (probably at home) still loves you when you stink at work. Handler is writing from the heart: he’s been in that fetid place. Jefferies’ parent company Leucadia (of which Chander is also CEO) was declared “no longer loveable” by the Wall Street Journal in March 2016 and it clearly made a big impression. Leucadia is loved again now though: its stock is up 60% since then.

Meanwhile:

The new co-heads of Deutsche Bank’s investment bank will inhabit newly constructed adjacent offices on the fourth floor of the London office, where the now shrivelled equities business used to be. (WSJ)

Deutsche equities people are joining Credit Suisse in Asia. (Bloomberg) 

Kevin Burke, a very senior Deutsche banker in APAC left last week. “Staff turnover is within the normal framework,” declares Deutsche. (Financial Times) 

M&A bankers are still sort of excited about Trump. J.P. Morgan’s global head of M&A thinks an all-cash $100bn takeover is a real possibility. (NY Times)

Man Group leased an office in the City of London in 2010 and it’s only just moving into it. (Financial News) 

Asset managers are hiring people – just not portfolio managers. (Bloomberg) 

Christian Meissner cut BAML’s banking clients from 12,000 to 5,000. (Euromoney) 

Never feel tempted to divulge work secrets to people you meet Salsa dancing. (Reuters) 


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com


 

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