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Morning Coffee: Middle-aged private equity executive bemoans exhausting existence. UBS bankers’ wishes fulfilled early

Guy hands tired

Working in private equity is like having a multi-course dinner party

Aged 58, Guy Hands, founder of private equity firm, Terra Firma is tired. No longer in the first flush of post-punk youth, his cherubic blond hair has turned white and life as a Guernsey-based tax exile may be losing its lustre. At a conference for students aspiring to work in private equity this week. Hands reportedly blew fetid on his choice of career. If he had his time again, he might’ve done things differently.

Hands likes food (in 2016 he talked the FT through his preferred eateries around the world), and he chose a food metaphor to describe his disillusionment with his oeuvre. “Doing a fund has some great benefits but it also has some disadvantages,” Hands is said to have informed the assembled acolytes. “It’s like having a multi-course dinner party in lots of different cities. It gets quite tiring. From the point of view of health, happiness, a balanced life, I probably wouldn’t do a fund. I’d focus on finding one business which I really felt passionate about and moving forward with that business. But I wouldn’t have said that maybe 20 years ago.”

Reading between the lines, it sounds a bit like Hands wishes he’d been an entrepreneur instead. Post EMI, post Four Seasons, post the exit of various members of Terra Firma’s investment team, he can be forgiven for thinking this might’ve been an easier option. However, anyone thinking of following Hands’ advice would probably do well to remember what he said at precisely the same conference two years earlier. – In 2016, Hands told students that becoming an entrepreneur was the toughest thing of all. Then, he compared the process of running a company to completing a long distance marathon with bleeding feet. Given that he now seems to consider private equity even worse, you might want to think twice about whether to work in it.

Separately, UBS has gone out of its way to keep staff happy after Brexit. In September, it reportedly asked London staff where they want to live after Britain leaves the EU. No one knows exactly what UBS’s bankers said, but their wishes could be fulfilled sooner than expected: UBS says it will start moving staff out of London because of Brexit in “early 2018.” Paris and Amsterdam, here they come.


Private equity funds are lining up a new generation of senior staff. (PIOnline)

Blase Brian Moynihan at Bank of America. (Bloomberg) 

Something’s going on with Steve Cohen and Point72: he just doubled his London floorspace and got some coloured cushions. (Financial News) 

Hedge fund Tiger Global has acquired a 2.5% stake in Barclays and is optimistic about its stock. (Financial Times) 

Someone placed a $400m FX trade on a mobile phone. (Bloomberg) 

Counting the ways a no-deal Brexit could cause chaos. (Bloomberg) 

Don’t even think about trading Bitcoin at Nordea. (Bloomberg) 

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