Maybe Goldman Sachs bankers should be used to it. Although CEO Lloyd Blankfein rails against President Trump on Twitter, some former staff are less averse to the lure of contemporary right wing politics. – The Trump administration is famously littered with ex-Goldmanites, and Steve Bannon, ex-Goldman M&A VP and lead anti-globalization agitator was until recently Trump’s chief strategist. Now, an ex-Goldman economist has stolen Bannon’s mantle: for the moment, Alice Weidel is the most famous, most right-wing, ex-Goldman Sachs employee on the planet.
Weidel and her political colleague, Alexander Gauland, just won a 13% share of the vote for anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany’s election. – Not enough to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel, but enough to force Merkel into a new and potentially unstable coalition, enough to cause disquiet at the return of right wing politics to the German mainstream, and enough to raise eyebrows at Weidel’s former employer.
As the Financial Times points out, this is the first time that Germany has had a mainstream right-wing political party since the Nazis. Weidel’s message to the German electorate was that they needed to vote for her to “get their country back,” that they should put Germany first so they could still call it their home, and that the culture of Germany had changed since Angela Merkel’s admission of 900,000 migrants and refugees from mostly Muslim countries, so that as a lesbian woman she felt less comfortable showing affection in public.
While Goldman’s famously open-minded staff would undoubtedly approve of Weidel’s call for tolerance of homosexuality, they’d likely be less approving of the other elements of Weidel’s message. – All the more so because of their potential to inflame ugly sentiments from the past. At an AfD rally attended by the New York Times, for example, there were complaints that Germans now have the “mentality of a totally vanquished people” and questions over the need for a Holocaust memorial.
In fact, Weidel’s tenure at Goldman seems to have been brief. In an article earlier this year, Spiegel said she only worked for the firm for two years after leaving university. Even so, she seems to have created sufficient of an impression for former colleagues to talk about her in shocked tones. Four months ago, Spiegel says ex-Goldman colleagues were sharing videos of Weidel’s public appearances accompanied by stunned comments like, “Here is Alice. What happened to her?,” and, “Who is the real Alice?”
As of yesterday, Weidel’s former friends at Goldman will have even more to talk about. – All the more so because her success injects an element of uncertainty into German politics which might make the firm think twice before shifting thousands of jobs from London to Frankfurt at the earliest possible opportunity.
Separately, leveraged finance jobs are back and they’re bigger than ever. The Wall Street Journal notes that the volume of U.S. leveraged loans is up 53% this year, putting the U.S. market on track to surpass its record of 2007. It also notes that this previous record was one of the main signs of the impending crash and that investors in leveraged loans in 2007 suffered losses of 30%.
Weidel lived abroad in China for six years as a banker and speaks Chinese. (Haaretz)
J.P. Morgan’s creating 2,500 new back and middle office jobs in Poland. (Financial Times)
Top technology workers would rather work in Canada than Trump’s America. (Vanity Fair)
Dataminr’s opening a Dublin office. (Irish Times)
Men in Silicon Valley are starting a radical subculture calling for total male separatism. (NY Times)
Self-made trader who claimed to be very, very, rich actually isn’t. (Daily Mail)
You’ll feel better if your job title is ‘chief fabricator of fairy dust.” (BBC)
Everyone’s only pretending to understand Blockchain. (Finextra)
Flying makes you stupid. (BBC)
If you say things like “I think”, or “my view is”, combined with causal words such as “because”, “so”, “nevertheless” in a job interview, you’re more likely to get hired. (Financial Times)
Goldman bankers keep quitting for Sotheby’s. (Bloomberg)