Late Lunchtime Links: Mind games that will make senior investment bankers want to hire you

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Mind games

The perfect candidate

If you read one very long and impeccably researched article about the psychology of successful and wealthy people this month, we suggest you make it: The Money Empathy Gap in New York Magazine.

Not only is it very interesting on the psychological distinctions between persons with money and persons without, it also offers some valuable insights into the sorts of people senior investment bankers might want to hire. Most notably, it cites experiments showing that:

"Lower-class people want to be the same as their peers, whereas ­better-off subjects show, “a preference for uniqueness and individuation.”

The experiment in question involved pens: candidates from different socio-economic backgrounds were asked to select one of five pens. Three of the pens were green, two weren't. Lower class people consistently picked the green pens to be the same as their peers. Better off people consistently picked the unusual colours.

The implication therefore appears to be that if you want a highly paid, high status banker to warm to you in an interview situation, it will help if you are able to draw his/her attention to something idiosyncratic (but not weird) about you. Be warned, however: this must be distinct from the marker of uniqueness selected by your interviewer or you'll spoil their own individuation and turn them off you. You should probably not wear Ferragamo loafers to a Goldman Sachs interview for this reason.


'All very successful people share certain fundamental character traits. They have above-average intelligence, street smarts, and a high tolerance for anxiety. “They are sexual and aggressive,” he says. “They are also competitive with anyone and have no fear of confrontations; in fact, they thrive on them. And in contrast to their image, they are not extroverted. They become charmingly engaging when needed, but in their private world, they are private people.” They are, in the parlance, all business.' (The Reformed Broker)

And meanwhile:

Bob Diamond, "clawed his way up from the back office at Morgan Stanley." (New York Magazine) 

Directors at Barclays are to consider splitting the bank in two after taking a public battering from the interest rate rigging scandal. (Sunday Times) 

It is believed Mervyn King raised the issue of whether Mr Diamond would pass a “fit and proper” test to be a chief executive in financial services. (Telegraph)

The brief for Mr Diamond’s successor as Barclays' chief executive will entail identifying a candidate who has a strong relationship with both US and UK financial regulators. (Sky)

When you strip own credit or DVA out of the group’s numbers (that it, the profit or loss booked on the value of the bank’s own debt), Barclays Capital was responsible for three quarters of the group’s pretax profits between 2009 and 2011. (William Wright) 

Sir Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary, was the mystery Whitehall figure who discussed Libor with Mr Tucker before his conversation with Bob Diamond, former Barclays chief executive. (Financial Times)

Bob's emails to Paul Tucker. Paul Tucker's emails to Bob. (John Mann )

Deutsche has suspended two Libor traders now. (Reuters) 

RBS is battling a court ruling to hand over confidential internal documents which could contain evidence that its traders were also actively involved in the manipulation of the inter bank rate. (Telegraph) 

Ed Balls wants the big five banks - Barclays, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and RBS/NatWest - to become seven. (Telegraph)

Bankers are cutting their housing budgets and moving out of Westminster and into Fulham or Bayswater. Rich international students are moving in instead. (NY Times)

Three reasons why rich kids hate their parents. (The Reformed Broker) 

You should be spending at least 1,000 hours a year--that's about six hours a week; about an hour a day —preparing for a new career. (Harvard Business Review)