Morning Coffee: Inside Google's massive growth plans. Bankers jumping ship at record pace

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Google's expansion

Generating headlines for all the wrong reasons as of late, Google just made a big splash with plans for a massive expansion in New York City. The move could make room for another 12,000 employees, nearly doubling Google’s current footprint in Manhattan.

Google is reportedly nearing a deal to lease or buy a planned 1.3 million square foot building in the West Village, where it already maintains office space, according to the Wall Street Journal. The search engine giant also plans on expanding its existing property at Chelsea Market after buying the building for $2.4 billion back in March. Add in previously announced plans for 250,000 square feet of office space at Pier 57 and you’re looking at the creation of thousands of new jobs, most of which will likely be high-paying.

Google’s decision to double-down in the heart of one of Manhattan’s most expensive areas is part of a gradual workforce shift for New York City, which has seen banks and other large financial firms relocate tens of thousands of jobs to cheaper cities like Nashville, Dallas and Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, tech firms like Google and potentially Amazon are planting their East Coast flag in New York. Long Island City is reportedly on the short-list of areas that Amazon is considering for its second headquarters.

If companies like Google and Amazon didn’t already have a recruiting advantage over investment banks for tech talent in the Northeast, they soon may. The majority of jobs that banks have relocated to less expensive and arguably less desirable locations have been tech and other back-office roles. New York isn’t losing its status as the financial capital of the world anytime soon, but banks will soon have more competition for East Coast recruits.

Elsewhere, Wall Street bankers have spent the better part of the year playing an expensive game of musical chairs. Nearly 300 managing director-level investment bankers in the U.S. have changed firms since January, making 2018 the most active year of MD poaching since the financial crisis, according to Business Insider. What’s more, banks are still hiring despite being in the heart of the offseason. Unlike in previous years, investment banks appear willing to cover the cost of bonuses that would have been paid out by other firms to lock in new MDs before the New Year.

Meanwhile:

Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was the unidentified executive who attended a 2009 meeting with the former prime minister of Malaysia. The sit-down helped lay the groundwork for a working relationship with Malaysia, which eventually chose Goldman to help it raise a $6.5 billion bond fund that was reportedly plundered by a Malaysian businessmen with the help of a former Goldman banker who pled guilty to bribery charges last week. Both the co-conspirators also attended the meeting. There is no indication that Blankfein knew the identities of all those involved in the meeting, and the alleged illegal activity happened well after the fact. (Bloomberg)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai penned a letter to all employees to explain how the company plans to revamp its sexual harassment policies following a global walkout last week. Changes include making arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, overhauling reporting channels, and docking employees who fail to attend mandatory sexual harassment training, among others. (Google)

Elon Musk pulled an…Elon Musk with Goldman Sachs bankers and investors by inking a last-minute deal with Bank of America on a $500 million loan for SpaceX. Goldman was reportedly balking at the company’s desire for wider latitude to raise additional funds in the future, so in stepped Bank of America. The biggest takeaway from the news may be that BofA was willing to take on the additional risk, something it has been reportedly criticized for not doing by its own employees. (LA Times)

In terms of job prospects, it’s a very good time to be a quant. Though that may not hold true if algorithmic-based strategies continue have months like they did in October, which capped off what has been a miserable year for many quant funds. Investors are getting itchy. (Bloomberg)

Morgan Stanley has sued Morgan Stanley. The investment bank is accusing Morgan Stanley Capital of name and trademark infringement. Morgan Stanley the bank has used the word “capital” in several of its subsidiaries, including its private investment platform, Morgan Stanley Capital Expansion. (Bloomberg)

The Financial Conduct Authority has reportedly launched in inquiry concerning the competency of HSBC exec Paul Watson, whose online profile lists him as the head of regulatory compliance for the global banking and markets division of the British lender. The move comes a month after anonymous current and former HSBC bankers sent a scathing memo to the bank's CEO and chairman chastising the division’s leadership. (City AM)

Too much self-control can undermine both your physical and mental well-being, according to new research. Meanwhile, a separate study found that men who are obsessed with exercise are at a significantly higher risk of depression. (The Mirror)

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