Where should you work in investment banking if you’re a social creature who likes to meet friends after slaving away at spreadsheets? Try BNP Paribas. If you work for the French bank’s investment banking division (IBD), you’ll get to go on holiday on weekends. You may even find yourself at parties after work.
The claims, which have just been brought to our attention, are made in a video BNP uploaded to YouTube. In it, Adrian Frost, a then and current BNP managing director in client coverage, says the French bank is the place for people who are, “ambitious”, “driven”, and who “want to work for one of he world’s leading institutions but have a bit more of a work-life balance.”
“You join BNP Paribas if you want to be part of one of the world’s leading financial institutions but you want a little bit more balance in your life,” Frost reiterates. “You know that you’re not going to be signing up at the age of whatever it is – 22, 23 and at 28 you’ve earned some good money, you’ve learnt a lot, but actually you’ve had to decline weekends away with friends, parties in the evening etc. etc.”
BNP’s video was made four years ago. But the French bank says it stands by Frost’s comments. “We always aim to provide our staff with a supportive working environment,” says a spokesman, conceding that, “There will always be periods of heavier workloads, such as if a team is working to close a deal, and there we do expect the full commitment of our colleagues.”
BNP’s lifestyle pitch to students looks prescient in light of other banks’ attempts to reduce junior bankers’ working hours. As we reported recently, Barclays is making concerted attempts at reducing the workload of its junior bankers and is policing the implementation of new ‘easing policies’ by its senior staff.
However, in another sense, BNP’s suggestion that junior bankers can party after work looks passé. Barclays has reportedly banned its traders from going out with notoriously hard-partying brokers in the evenings. And at least one other bank is said to have imposed a 10pm curfew on client entertainment involving its junior staff.