How can you make a fluffy, hippie concept appealing to alpha males in the financial sector? Simply imply that they are following in the footsteps of ancient warriors. Mindfulness has taken off in a big way in investment banking and fund management, but hedge fund (and Goldman Sachs) employees are now embracing transcendental meditation to help them remain an oasis of calm amid volatile markets.
Bloomberg has spoken to David Ford, a hedge fund manager whose firm climbed 24% last year, about the benefits of meditation on his investment performance. Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio and Paul Tudor Jones have long been fans of meditation, of course, but experts are keen to point out that this is in no way a hippie, wimpy or girly pursuit.
“Meditation used to have this reputation as a hippie thing for people who speak in a particularly soft tone of voice,” said Jay Michaelson, author of “Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment. “Samurai practiced meditation to become more effective killers.” So did kamikaze pilots, he points out.
Goldman Sachs employees are feeling the pressure to get in on the act. Classes at the firm have waiting lists several hundreds of people long, a bank spokesperson (amazingly) said.
Separately, Citi CFO John Gerspach has warned that the bank's trading revenue is set to slide by 25% year-on-year in the second quarter (echoing comments from JPMorgan). Citi has already cut another 200-300 jobs in its sales and trading business, but working in advisory appears a decidedly safer place currently. Investment banking revenues would be "somewhat higher" than last year, he said.
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