At this stage of the year, it all boils down to one thing: will the bank you work for choose to protect the bonus pool by making a lot of redundancies before January? Or will it choose to maintain the current level of staff and spread the bonus pool more thinly?
There are cheerleaders for both camps. In the latter is Betsy Grasek, the Morgan Stanley bank analyst who suggested last week that most banks will be doing a Goldman Sachs and maintaining their current level of service until things improve. Instead of cutting staff, banks will go for cutting pay, said Grasek.
The Telegraph has spoken to an unnamed “senior banker’ who says his employer is of a similar mind and is about to embark on a process of reducing overall compensation at his institution. Re-basing pay is possible, he says, because bankers have nowhere else to go – staff turnover rates have fallen from 15% to 8%.
However, another senior banker consulted by the Telegraph disagrees – he says jobs will be trimmed rather than pay, particularly now that higher base salaries have reduced the flexibility of investment banking compensation.
What do you think? Jobs? Or pay?
Separately, Cathy O’Neill, a former quant, who escaped banking, says it’s really not so bad. “I used to work in finance, and now I don’t,” says O’Neill. “I haven’t regretted leaving for a moment, even when I’ve been unemployed and confused about what to do next.”
The culture in financial services is oppressively risk averse at a personal level, says O’Neill: “People in start-ups are optimistic about the future, ready for the big pay-out that may never come, whereas the people in finance are ready for the world to melt down and are trying to collect enough food before it happens. I don’t know which is more accurate but it’s definitely more fun to be around optimists. Young people get old quickly in finance.”
Outside banks, many find themselves eminently employable, she argues: “These men and women are generally very smart and competent. In fact, some of them are downright brilliant.”
London-based shipping consultant, Drewry, has launched a new equity research division called Drewry Maritime Equity Research. (Integrity Research)
Having brought on both VTB and Santander as clients, Andrea Orcel is doing very well at UBS. (Financial News)
The Bishop of Durham, who was previously the Treasurer of Enterprise Oil, is among those conducting a parliamentary enquiry into the existential purpose of the British banking industry. (WSJ)
David Miliband says he’d raise £2bn a year by taxing bankers’ bonuses. (Telegraph)
David Miliband: “There’s two things that can happen. The banks can change direction and say we’re going to implement the spirit and principle of Vickers to the full, which means the hard ringfence between retail and investment banking. Either they do that or I’m giving a very, very clear message which is that the next Labour government will just by law break up retail investment banks. You’d do what they call Glass Steagall.” (Guardian)
Students are less keen on becoming investment bankers. John Studzinski says they want to become entrepreneurs. (FT)
The top 5% of French households could experience a 40-50% increase in their tax bills next year. (ZeroHedge)
Alistair Haynes, the former chief executive of Chi-X, is setting up a new exchange called Aquis. (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs shares could rise 25% in the next year. (Reuters)
What English people say and what English people mean. (Bridgesandtangents)
How to prevent computer screens from destroying your eyes. (The Atlantic)