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Morning Coffee: Jes Staley’s latest novel method of cutting costs at Barclays. Where to achieve rapid promotion at GS

Barclays heat sensor

Barclays’ CEO Jes Staley is the master when it comes to cost cutting. This is the man who managed to trim headcount at Barclays’ investment bank by 6,000 people in the space of four months simply by refusing to hire anyone new. This too is the man who is saving £35m ($45m) a year by subletting 540,000 square feet at Barclays’ Canary Wharf office to the British civil service. And now, this is the man who is installing heat and motion detecting sensors below bankers’ desks to determine whether they’re at their work stations or not.

Staley’s latest innovation has unnerved some at Barclays who are balking at having the temperature and movement of their upper thigh monitored. The understandable fear is that Staley is up to something akin to the activities of Matthew Westerman at HSBC, who caused upset after introducing a system to track exactly what his bankers do each day. Is Staley checking who’s sitting at the desk? – How long they go for lunch? How many toilet breaks they take?

Fortunately it’s nothing so Orwellian. The below-desk monitors are simply part of Staley’s plan to cut the cost of premises and are there to establish how much space Barclays really needs. If the monitors reveal that only 75% of Barclays’ desks are used regularly, Staley will be able to sublet the other 25% to more civil servants. There will be no attempt to keep track of individuals. There will no attempt to link desk-time with productivity.

So says Barclays. But Staley’s staff may remain skeptical. When the Telegraph tried introducing similar devices to monitor the desk use of its journalists they were removed the same day following staff complaints about “Big Brother-style surveillance.”

Separately, if you want to get ahead at Goldman you should get yourself to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is considered the place to be by the likes of Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Citi, all of whom have been beefing up there. – Goldman gained a licence to trade equities in the kingdom two days ago.  Now, Goldman is strengthening its investment banking presence in Saudi too. It’s just hired Eyas AlDossari as the new head of its Saudi investment banking business from HSBC. 

What’s remarkable isn’t that Goldman hired AlDossari, whose credentials were burnished by working on the c$2 trillion IPO of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. – It’s that AlDossari, who will now be running Goldman’s Saudi investment banking business, was pretty junior at HSBC. Bloomberg says he was an associate director at the British bank – just one step up from associate. It’s therefore like Goldman’s Saudi IBD business is being run by a VP. – Hard to imagine that kind of advancement in London or New York.

Meanwhile:

Goldman Sachs thinks it cut its FICC business too aggressively. It’s going to hire in some experienced commodities traders and salespeople. (Bloomberg) 

Deutsche Bank wants to hire 20 private bankers in London. (CityAm) 

After moving to Switzerland for “personal reasons”, hedge fund manager Alan Howard is moving back to London again. (Bloomberg) 

Citi hired a Goldman banker specializing in takeovers by activist shareholders. (Reuters) 

Stop trying to find your ideal job all at once: you need to move step by step. (Medium) 

Blankfein keeps trolling Trump. (Business Insider) 


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

Photo credit: Barclays by  Gideon Benari is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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