Apparently Jamie Dimon really meant it when he walked back his initial condemnation of Bitcoin. J.P. Morgan has just elevated a 29-year-old to develop cryptocurrency initiatives for the bank.
Former fintech head Oliver Harris will lead J.P. Morgan’s crypto-asset strategy within the firm’s commercial and investment bank. He won’t be trading any Bitcoin, we’re told, but will instead develop products and the underlying technology to enable customers to have access to crypto markets. The move comes less than a year after Dimon called Bitcoin “a fraud” and said he’d fire any employee who trades it, though he later clarified that he is “open-minded” to cryptocurrencies if they are properly regulated.
At just 29, Harris now has a resume that would make most any tech wizard jealous. The crypto czar formerly ran J.P. Morgan’s in-residence program, which is essentially an incubator for fintech startups – typically launched by former employees – of which the bank owns a piece. He also previously worked for former UK prime minister Tony Blair as an advisor to the president's office of Myanmar and was a project manager at the World Economic Forum. Now, the Cambridge grad will head up the crypto strategy for the largest U.S. bank. And he doesn’t even need to leave London.
Elsewhere, Deutsche Bank is reportedly making changes to its gardening leave policy in the midst of mass layoffs. The German lender is shortening the period that bars former bankers from joining other firms from 90 days down to 60 or even 30 days, according to the New York Post. While this means that bankers who get fired or quit can start new jobs sooner, it also cuts paid leave by as much as two-thirds, likely angering those who do and don’t have new positions lined up.
The unorthodox move shows just how far Deutsche Bank is willing to go to cut costs. Executives at the firm reportedly received an in-person scolding in late March by regulators who had grown weary of the bank’s failure to fix certain lapses, likely encouraging Deutsche Bank’s new strategy.
A former vice president at Barclays who is on trial for allegedly rigging interest rates tried to downplay his seniority in court. “VP means junior, like the guy who serves you at McDonald’s.” (Reuters)
UBS is planning to grow its M&A and IPO businesses over the next three to four years, though expenses across the investment bank as a whole are expected to remain static. The Swiss bank is targeting M&A bankers in the U.S. in particular. (Bloomberg)
An activist investor with a 5% stake in Barclays is pushing the British bank to cut the majority of its trading businesses. (Reuters)
Jefferies' decision to hire former Citi junk bond trader Faraz Naseer to lead the bank’s high-yield debt trading group has reported created a schism within the firm. Jefferies demoted a current employee to open up the role. (NY Post)
Wells Fargo may soon find itself in the crosshairs of regulators yet again. Some employees at the bank reportedly altered the information on documents pertaining to corporate customers. (WSJ)
Barclays is bolstering its research department by poaching talent from an unusual source: BuzzFeed. Adam Kelleher will lead a new global team of data scientists. (Business Insider)
The most common hedge fund names are inspired by nautical terms, alcoholic drinks and cities in New England. (Bloomberg)
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