June 2015 was reasonably quiet in the foreign exchange (FX) markets. Global trading volumes were down nearly 7% on the previous year and nearly 4% on May. Yes, the Greek elections were happening, but the yuan had yet to go crazy. If you were a manager on an FX desk at Deutsche Bank, you could be forgiven for taking a little break ahead of the school holiday season. Or could you?
The Financial Times reports that one such FX manager at Deutsche Bank did just that, only to find that all hell was let loose in his absence.
A junior on the sales desk reportedly, ‘paid $6bn to a hedge fund client by mistake,’ after processing a gross instead of a net value. ‘Too many zeroes’ were added to the trade, which involved a hedge fund, said the FT. The hedge fund kindly paid Deutsche the extra money back. The manager will never go on holiday again.
Separately, someone purporting to be an MD-level investment banker has posted some interesting observations about his lifestyle on Wall Street Oasis. “It’s a fallacy among many kids in college or at the analyst level that once you become a SVP or MD or move to the buyside that your job is now 40-50 hours/week and it’s huge paychecks with much less work,” says ‘Senior Neanderthal.’ – “You still basically work all the time.”
And yet, the MD in question goes on to claim that the life of a senior banker is better than that of a junior in many ways. – Because you travel to meet clients, you don’t have to be in the office all the time. You can come in late or go home early (but you’ll probably need to work again in the evening). You get ‘tons of time’ on planes or in hotels, during which you get good food and booze and can read and watch films and absolutely no one can disturb you. You get to, ‘eat at restaurants 2x+/week that most people get to a couple of times in their life.’ And, ‘as long as you’re not an idiot and don’t blow all of the money you make it’s actually possible to quit and retire in your 40’s.’ It’s this choice that counts for most. Neanderthal says he likes his job, “but if I weren’t happy with my life and career, I’d be gone.”
James Gorman on Morgan Stanley’s bad quarter in fixed income: “It was a very unusual macro environment, the volatility in China was almost historic.” (NY Times)
Deutsche needs to highlight just how poor the returns in its fixed income business are. It will then be much easier to cut it. (WSJ)
Morgan Stanley’s compensation expenses were down 18% in Q3. (WSJ)
James Gorman has somehow managed to reduce Morgan Stanley’s earnings power while, it seems, much of the volatility of those earnings remains. (Financial Times)
Goldman Sachs is hiring the most. Bank of America is doing the opposite. (Bloomberg)
Black Monday. It was like this. (NY Times)
Don’t list an objective at the top of your resume. Dude, seriously? This isn’t 1992. (QZ)
A dangerously addictive trading game. (Bloomberg)
“It’s LIBOR time Pookie.” (Bloomberg)
Commitment to work is no longer the consequence of organizational loyalty. It’s become an expression of talent. (HBR)
Why you don’t want to be an insurance underwriter. Or a flight attendant. (Fortune)