Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs finds way of getting tech staff to work nights for free. France plays dirty on banks and Brexit

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Goldman Sachs tech challenge

It's usually analysts and associates in investment banks who work through the night, making last minute changes to pitchbooks or pulling together material for live deals. Despite complaints about the resulting long hours, analysts and associates aren't badly paid for their efforts: first year compensation in London is £72k ($97k), rising to £113k ($151k) by year three. Thousands of people in their 20s are prepared to give up sleep for that.

Technology staff are a different matter. Firstly they're paid a lot less (although Goldman increased starting salaries for U.S. engineers to $100k in 2017). Secondly, they're less likely to put in extra hours simply because internal clients want them to. They may, however, put in extra hours because they're really excited about a particular project.

It's this enthusiasm that Goldman Sachs should be able to tap into through some new "cyber-security war games," being unleashed upon its tech staff. The Financial Times says the firm's 8,000 technologists are being given access to a platform run by Immersive Labs, a UK-based company that runs, 'continuously-evolving learning tests and war games on cyber threats.' For example, Goldman's technologists might get to break into a fictitious bank to steal credit card numbers. In the process, they'll be able to test their skills against colleagues and compete on a company-wide league table.

Goldman's engineers won't be paid extra for the war-gaming. However, the nature of the platform and of highly competitive top technologists using it, is that it's highly addictive. - James Hadley, chief executive of Immersive Labs, told that FT that some of the heaviest gamers play on Friday and Saturday nights so that they can be top of the leader board on Monday morning.

Separately, France seems to be try to shoot the City of London in the foot post-Brexit. Bloomberg reports that France isn't happy with the current "equivalence" rules which say that banks based outside the EU can compete within the EU, as  long as their regulatory regime is deemed the same as the EU's.

Absent the desired "mutual recognition" agreement, whereby the UK and the EU would adhere to jointly agreed regulations, equivalence is still the City of London's best bet after Brexit. Now, however, France wants to pull the plug on the arrangement: French officials have begun arguing that banks outside the EU will need to serve EU clients from inside the bloc to prevent firms in non-EU countries from being treated more favourably. That's bad news for the City of London.

Meanwhile:

Deutsche Bank's CFO says the bank is stuck in a “vicious circle” of declining revenue, “sticky” expenses, a lowered credit rating and rising funding costs. (Bloomberg) 

UBS cut 100 asset management jobs. (Reuters) 

Susquehanna plans to trade cryptocurrencies that are labeled by regulators as securities. (NY Times)

Asa Attwell is joining Nomura from BNP Paribas as its head of Emea foreign exchange and emerging markets. (Financial News) 

Commerzbank analysts say Germany has an 18% chance of winning the world cup. (RT News) 

Inside Google employees' battle against working on a Pentagon project: 'Every day, this group used Memegen to make memes about Project Maven and shared them widely. They were funny, dark, and often called out leadership directly. ' (JacobinMag) 

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