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Morning Coffee: The 38 year-old bankers with nowhere to go. Third group of priority bonus recipients emerges

ageism banking

If you’re entering banking in your 20s with a view to staying in the industry for at least two decades and working for multiple firms in the process, you might want to recalibrate your expectations. Firstly, your career may well be curtailed well before two decades are out. Secondly, opportunities to swap jobs as you gain experience are fewer than ever before.

Banking has always been ageist, but a new ageism – or ‘experience-ism’ – is gathering steam. Last year, Moelis & Co founder and CEO Ken Moelis said the firm prefers to hire juniors and promote internally rather than recruiting tired experienced bankers who want to work with established clients and who resist “complex situations.”  Now, Deutsche Bank’s new head of global equities, Peter Selman, says the German bank wants to do the same.

“We’re going to focus a lot on graduate recruiting,” Selman told Bloomberg.  I don’t think the path forward is one where we make a lot of very high-priced, expensive lateral hires.”

This doesn’t mean Deutsche will be doing no senior hiring. – Selman says there are “holes” to fill. The German bank already recruited Daniel McNeil, the former U.S. head of equity derivatives at Credit Suisse, in January. London-based equities headhunters say they’ve received indications that Deutsche will be recruiting more once bonuses are paid. However, Selman’s intentions are clear: Deutsche prefers to hire cheap, fresh, 20-somethings and train them up rather than buying in expensive and experienced late 30 year-olds with a history. And it looks like a trend.

If you’re a senior vice president or junior managing director, this has implications for your career. Mostly it means that more senior you get, the more fervently you need to hope that you won’t lose your job as finding a new one won’t be easy. It also means that you’ll need to be flexible within the organization you work for – just because you started out doing one thing, don’t be afraid to swap into another; anything to stay employed.

Deutsche, for its part may yet suffer from its predilection for fresh youth. As headhunter Oliver Rolfe suggests to Bloomberg, the focus on hiring-in young people means the German bank may need to be patient: “Invest in youth, get them involved in the mentality and direction of the firm, and in seven to 10 years time you’ll have a fully-fledged business.” In other words, don’t expect miracles by the second quarter.

Separately, following last week’s report that UBS would be channeling its bonus pool towards millennials and high performers this year, Bloomberg reports that a third category of UBS banker will get lucky too: Asians. The Swiss bank’s Asian bonus pool is reportedly up 6%, “reflecting a rebound in dealmaking and efforts to retain junior staff focusing on China.”


Ardea Partners, a boutique set up by former Goldman bankers, has been hiring in New York. (Financial News) 

UBS hired a former Morgan Stanley banker as it pushes into private banking in Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg) 

Three Goldman employees – Adam Victor, a vice president in equity sales, John Storey, co-head of equity sales, and Michael Daffey, co-chief operating officer of the equities franchise – were on the guest list for the President’s Club event. (Financial News)  

Barclays lost its fourth senior compliance officer in four months. (Financial News) 

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office charged Barclays a second time with regards to its 2008 emergency fund raising. By contesting the charges, Barclays is calculating that no regulator would strip a bank of its licenses as a result of a one-off event in the exceptional circumstances of the financial crisis. (Financial Times) 

The head of BNP Paribas’ corporate and investment bank is feeling optimistic: “We could have a better 2018 than 2017, with a little bit more volatility in the market.” (Financial Times) 

Private banker says he was unfairly dismissed after he was fired for failing to investigate alleged sexual activity between two team members at a London bar. (Daily Mail) 

IBM imposed a year’s non-compete on its former head of diversity who’s moving to Microsoft. (Bloomberg) 

Senior banker’s son accused of cryptocurrency fraud. (Citywire)

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com
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Comments (1)

  1. Globalisation, Digitalization & Brexit have all been the main factors and the fact that all the immigrants to the UK/US want to work for Investment Banks. The banks would be short sighted though if they discount older employees & their valuable skills, experiences & insights for the fresh grads.

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