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Morning Coffee: How to make banks pay you $110 an hour when you’re 50+. Confessions of a rampant tea drinker


It turns out that longevity in a finance career isn’t just about having clients who love you or always working in a sector of the industry that’s doing well.  Getting paid in finance way beyond the age at which most people have given up is about inventing something only you understand and failing to inform anyone else it works. Just ask the men who developed banks computer systems thirty years ago.

Reuters has been talking to the COBOL programmers who developed banks’ legacy computer systems. Aged anything from 45 to 75, they’re still in demand. Some are even being brought out of retirement as banks try to get to grips with legacy computer systems and develop new unified platforms for the modern age.

“Some of the software I wrote for banks in the 1970s is still being used,” 75 year-old great grandfather Bill Hinshaw tells Reuters. Spotting an opportunity, he’s formed a group of experienced COBOL programmers who know how banks’ legacy systems work. In the absence of operating manuals and instructions, Hinshaw’s programmers can pretty much name their price, although $100+ an hour seems the norm.  “They have a problem only you can fix,” he says. The problem’s so acute that consulting firm Accenture, which helps banks simplify existing platforms, reportedly has a list of programmers who were let go in historic rounds of banking layoffs. Its worst fear? That they’ll pass away before they can share their secrets.

Separately, Virgin boss Richard Branson is trolling bankers with his fancy lifestyle.  In a Virgin blog replete with photos of himself chilling out in his ‘office’ on Necker Island, Branson describes how he gets up at 5am and goes to bed at 11am like any good finance professional. During the intervening hours, he makes calls, writes emails, checks in with the Virgin team and drinks a huge amount of tea. “I’m talking 20 cups a day – don’t tell my doctor!,” confesses Branson, claiming it keeps him “energized.”


Steve Bannon calls Gary Cohn, “Globalist Gary.” Even so, Cohn’s star is rising in the Trump administration and he may soon be made chief of staff.  (Daily Mail) 

The likes of J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Citigroup could be ripped apart by Glass Steagall — a risk that the stock market has barely registered. (Financial Times) 

From March 1, GS will reimburse international data roaming and WiFi only as long as employees itemise their monthly bills – and it won’t cover WiFi while on holiday at all. It will pay $10 for data charges in the US, £10 in the UK, €10 in Germany and HK$100 in Hong Kong. (Euromoney) 

“…we’ve had some very serious pressure from the UK government and the Bank of England about pushing our Libors lower.” (BBC) 

Mizuho just hired a healthcare banker on the West Coast. (Business Insider) 

Citi has hired former Credit Suisse executive Simon Francis to co-head the bank’s leveraged finance business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (Financial Times) 

Spain’s finance regulator says it would consider allowing banks to conduct 100% “back-to-back” trading out of Madrid. This would allow banks to conduct trades out of Madrid whilst processing and risk managing the transactions in London.


Aged 22, the new CIO of Soros’ family office demonstrated her confidence walking around the trading floor barefoot. (NY Times)

Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com


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