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Morning Coffee: The toughest place to be a hot young thing in finance. Marty Chavez tackles banker bashing

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Every year, Forbes produces its 30 under 30 list for the financial sector, and has high-achieving, competitive 20-somethings across Wall Street and the City grinding their teeth with envy. 2015 was the year fintech broke, so the 2016 ranking was dominated by people who had unleashed a hot new start-up backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital backing.

There’s a fair share of those in the 2018 list that’s just been unveiled, like 29-year-old Ryan Williams, founder of Jack Ma-backed real estate fintech firm Cadre, or college drop out Quinten Farmer, 27, co founder of budget-balancing app, Even, which has received funding by Peter Thiel. But it’s more balanced. Now, if you’re an analyst or portfolio manager at a top hedge fund before hitting 30, or are running a trading desk at a large investment bank, then Forbes has probably found you. Take 29-year-old Maria Egee, who is building a credit default swaps desk at Bank of America Merrill Lynch or Anne Victoir Auriault, also 29, a VP senior trader on Goldman’s index arbitrage strategies or Jonathan Fife, who runs a mortgage bond portfolio at hedge fund Blue Mountain Capital Management.

The thing is, though, that trading is a young person’s game. Some think that 30 is the time when most people burn out on the trading floor and looking for something else, while banks’ tendency to ‘juniorise’ their trading desks – replacing expensive senior employees with cheaper juniors – means that 20-somethings should be dominating the trading floor.

It’s much harder to impress in M&A, largely because those working on the big deals are usually older, senior bankers. There’s a distinct dearth of investment bankers on Forbes’ list, therefore. Lalit Gurnani is one, but at 28 he’s still an associate working at Goldman Sachs in San Francisco. He was, however, on a lead role in some of the hottest tech IPOs including the flotation of cloud communication firm Twilio and real estate app Redfin, which IPOed earlier this year.

Then there’s 26-year-old Tom Dadon, head of mergers and acquisitions at Kraft Heinz. A mere pup in investment banking terms, Dadon had barely two years of industry experience – first at boutique Centerview Partners and then PE firm 3G Capital in New York – before moving to Kraft Heinz as head of North America budget and business planning. He was promoted to his current role in 2016 (three years into his career) and oversaw the firm’s unsuccessful $143bn bid for Unilever this year.

Separately, remember banker bashing? God, it was just so noughties, right? Marty Chavez, the former chief information officer turned chief financial officer at Goldman Sachs, told the New York Times that in 2010 there was a very simple equation in people’s minds: “Technology in San Francisco, good. Finance in New York, evil.”

Seven years’ ago during a Thanksgiving dinner, a guest asked Chavez “Marty, how can you work for that company? How do you look at yourself in the mirror?” Chavez decided to confront what he saw as an ill-informed stereotype head on. “What exactly do you mean?” he asked. “Well, Lehman,” referring its 2008 bankruptcy. “Yes, what about Lehman?” Chavez replied. “I don’t work at Lehman.”

“I took away from that, ‘Oh, it was just in the zeitgeist at the time,’” Chavez said. Now, in good news for bankers everywhere, Chavez says people have bigger fish to fry. “Nobody’s too interested in Goldman Sachs,” he said. “They’re much more interested in the Russian hacking of the election and all their other mishegas. So times change.”

Meanwhile: 

Citigroup has just invested $20m in fintech start-up Behavox, which uses AI to monitor staff (Financial Times)

Odey: The “fault lines of the next financial crisis are clearly visible to those who care to look” (Financial News)

Bankers can move across Europe freely after Brexit, says Brexit secretary David Davis (Financial Times)

Banks are suddenly more optimistic about Brexit (Bloomberg)

“It is the name of the game if we front-run orders. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose. It’s up to us to define the front run rules.” (Dealbreaker)

Evercore has hired Paul Aaron, a former Goldman Sachs partner, as a senior managing director in its advisory practice (Financial News)

Jefferies has been making some big hires (Financial News)

The race for the first game-changing quantum computer (New York Times)

Millennials: “Not what one would call a lucky generation” (Bloomberg)

They should give up sandwiches, holidays and nights out if they want to afford a house (Evening Standard)

Have a tip, story or comment? Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Photo: Getty Images

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