The notorious @GSElevator Twitter account is not written by a Goldman Sachs employee. It is written by John Lefevre, a 34 year-old ex-bond trader currently residing somewhere in Texas. DealBook reveals that Lefevre has never actually worked at Goldman, although he did work at Citi for seven years. In truth, Lefevre did nearly work at GS: he was offered a job as head of Asia syndicate for the firm in 2010 (as reported by the South China Morning Post), but the job fell through. It’s not clear what he’s been doing since.
Nor is it clear what Lefevre’s unmasking will do for his coming book sales. Last month New York Magazine reported that @GSElevator had landed a five figure advance for a tome titled ‘Straight to Hell.’ Billed as ‘tales of deviance and excess,’ the book is due for publication in October. Lefevre’s publisher seems untroubled by his unmasking, telling DealBook, “That you’re writing about him speaks to the interest he’s generated. We always expected his identity to be revealed at some point.”
Goldman Sachs seems to have taken the revelation that @GSElevator is a facetious imposter in its stride. A spokesman told DealBook: “We are pleased to report that the official ban on talking in elevators will be lifted effective immediately.” You can read some of @GSElevator’s most outrageous tweets here.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal has unearthed a seemingly pernicious culture at Pimco, the world-leading bond fund. The Journal reports that Pimco expects its employees to arrive at the office at 4.30am and stay until 5pm or later. Internal competition is encouraged and everyone is compelled to sit in silence – even discussion of investments is banned. Pimco co-founder Bill Gross is portrayed as a volatile tyrant. Gross reportedly, ‘doesn’t like employees speaking with him or making eye contact, especially in the morning,’ he grows ‘tired and wary’ of those closest to him and becomes ‘adversarial short and unpleasant,” with the result that his staff live in a climate of fear and uncertainty. Gross’s managerial style is said to be behind last month’s resignation of Mohammed El-Erian as Pimco’s chief executive.
The upside is, naturally, that Pimco is an extremely generous payer. El-Erian was earning $100m a year. Other Pimco people earn $20m. Even being tyrannized has its price.
HSBC will be paying 1,374 so-called “material risk takers” new quarterly bonuses in cash and shares to avoid the EU cap that will limit bank bonuses to a maximum of 200% of salary. (Telegraph)
HSBC will remove its quarterly allowances in straitened times, but won’t be able to claw them back. Most of the allowances will be paid in cash, but 111 of the highest earners will be paid in shares, mostly deferred for five years. (Financial Times)
Henry Kravis and George Roberts received $161.4 million and $165.5 million respectively in cash dividends and executive pay in 2013, over 17% more than they got in 2012. (Reuters)
Hans-Jörg Rudloff, the 73 year old chairman of Barclays’ investment bank and father of the eurobond market, is retiring after 50 years. (Financial Times)
China cannot have a Lehman moment. Its financial system does not work the way America’s (or Japan’s or Italy’s) does. (South China Morning Post)
Why you shouldn’t join a hedge fund. (Fast Coexist)
Google discovers that top students make bad employees. (Quartz)