A light is being shone into the dark places occupied by senior women in banking. Blythe Masters, JPMorgan’s most high profile female trader and most recently the head of its commodities business, is quitting. And Ruth Porat, chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley, has revealed that her career was nearly stifled by men before it even began.
Masters is quitting JPMorgan after the bank sold its commodities trading business to Mercuria. Having worked for JPM for 27 years after joining straight out of university, Masters’s trajectory offers a few insights for women (and men) who might follow her. Firstly, you might want to go to a top university – Masters studied economics at Cambridge. Secondly, you might want to marry someone in the industry, or have a househusband – Masters’ first husband, Danny Masters, was an oil trader who became JPMorgan’s head of oil trading and now runs a commodity hedge fund; her second and current husband, Gareth Evans, is a self-employed investor who it seems helps with their two daughters. Thirdly, don’t even think of having long maternity leave – Masters famously brought a wireless device to hospital with her when she checked in to have her daughter. And lastly, don’t be too nice – Masters has a reputation for being a bit abrasive; it hasn’t done her that much harm. DealBook suggests she is leaving the industry after 27 years to spend time with horses. Of course, she may just go and join another bank or commodities fund.
Ruth Porat is not quitting Morgan Stanley. However, she has delivered a frank talk about what it’s like to be a woman in banking. Porat, now Morgan Stanley’s CFO, says she’s seen documents revealing that the Morgan Stanley men who hired her as an analyst had questioned her stamina and ability to progress beyond associate level in the bank. “They were clearly overruled because I was hired and I clearly proved them wrong,” she said. “But what really struck me then and I think of often is that even with strong credentials and what some have called a pretty absurd drive, I didn’t represent the image of what they thought of someone who would make it beyond the associate level.”
Porat says she got ahead with the help of senior sponsors. Investment banker Robert Greenhill, former CEO John Mack and Vikram Pandit, who was a senior figure at Morgan Stanley until 2005 were all her fans.
Notably, both Porat and Masters have spent their entire careers with one firm. Men do this too, but women seem particularly prone to sticking with what they know.
Separately, hedge funds are hiring in London. Emerging markets hedge fund Finisterre Capital has hired Bartosz Pawlowski from BNP Paribas and might be expected to hire again after recruiting a head of business development from Bluebay a few months ago. And a former Goldman Sachs MD, a former UBS fixed income trader and the former global head of equity finance at JPMorgan are setting up a hedge fund together. – It’s called Amagis Capital and may yet need more staff.
Blythe Masters was an 18 year old intern when she joined JPM. (Financial Times)
Analysis by the Office for National Statistics shows that the “finance and business services” sector has been largely protected from the collapse in real incomes since 2008, even though its productivity has crashed more quickly than that of almost every other industry. (The Times)
Man accused of stealing from high frequency trader tries to make ends meet by writing code while raising chickens and bees and tending an orchard:”Personally I am bankrupt.” (Wall Street Journal)
Ex-Goldman coder Sergey Aleynikov also took his time in prison in stride. “He would say: People in jail have the best stories,” said Masha Leder, who visited him there. “He could have considered himself a tragedy. And he didn’t.” (Marketwatch)
After blowing the whistle on FX rigging, UBS may get off scot free. (Bloomberg)
Cultivate a ‘contagious laugh’ if you want to be charismatic. (Inc)
‘Compassionate love’ is an important thing in a business where people work long hours. (Wharton)
The horror of London house prices. (Twitter)