Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

U.S. Bankers from Mars, Euro Bankers from Venus?

An e-mail altercation suggests American and European financiers aren't always the best of buddies.

The e-mail exchange, which first appeared on the U.S. gossip site, is ostensibly from Daniel Loeb, managing director of Third Point LLC, a New York hedge fund, to Alan Lewis, a potential candidate for a job.

Briefly, Loeb asks Lewis for his best investment ideas, Lewis says he doesn't work that way and looks forward to hearing from Loeb when he's got more time. Loeb replies that Brits are "set in their ways and prefer to knock back a pint at the pub...(rather) than work hard."

Are Europeans really idle types who like a drink? Allyson Stewart Allen, author of the book Working with Americans, says it's just a misunderstanding. "Americans and American companies are extremely time-sensitive and do everything with a sense of urgency," she says. "Anyone who has a glass of wine with lunch is therefore liable to be considered an alcoholic because it will make them less productive in the afternoon."

One American derivatives trader who's worked in London for the last few years says that, if anything, Europeans actually work harder than their U.S. counterparts. "London trading floors work longer hours than New York trading floors because they straddle time zones," she says. "London traders are in for the Asian markets in the morning, and stay late for the U.S. markets at the end of the day."

Although Loeb and Lewis (who is in fact half American and half French) go on to trade insults about everything from the European class system to shareholder value, the trader says Brits are closer to Americans than they are to their fellow Europeans: "French and Germans have a totally different work ethic." What that means exactly, she declines to say.

Who works harder? And were all those insults really necessary? Post your comments below

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • Ne
    20 June 2007

    I completely disagree with N.S.

    Daniel's first email, a request for three ideas, while curt, is the right of any potential buy-side employer. If Alan was pissed because of the directness (perhaps because he had no good ideas, hence the closure of his fund in 2004), then he should have just declined to be interviewed realizing Daniel's style and expectations were too different from his own.

    More importantly, in what world can an prospective employee lecture and chastise a prospective employer??

  • N.
    N. S
    3 May 2007

    It is unfortunate that Daniel, the American, appeared to initially (and arguably for the entirety) not have a polite email exchange on his part (note the first curt reply). I admire Alan's polite accord and expect that of myself, Brits and my co-workers. Yet, frankly, the exchange went on too far when Dan replied to Alan's email. [Alan, the Brit, did not wish to continue pursuing correspondence and thus an employment position.] The rest is just horrendous and should never have occurred.

    I only wish Americans could learn email etiquette -- greeting, content and closing and do not using a BlackBerry if not urgent.

  • Po
    Poor Boy
    2 May 2007

    I read the email exchange, and as a dual EU-US citizen (US & French), it's a classic exchange. The UK side (Lewis) in my opinion took the Loeb response too seriously, and could have easily played along with it. I thought Loeb's question was reasonable and would have answered it. Was Lewis possibly intimidated by the question? He played his Euro-cards too fast. And like the wild west, Loeb, the American, does what all Americans do, when they feel that their ego is threatened, because let's face it - 95% of all Americans do not understand European culture and attitudes, and so Loeb gets mad and shoots back very aggressively, forcefully, proving his stupid macho arrogant behaviour - classic American culture - you hurt my feelings with words, and I'll kick your a**. Who is right or wrong? Nobody. Who wins? People like me that make their living doing business between the 2 cultures who still cannot seem to understand each other. But, if you were American, you would try to declare the winner, since Americans are obsessed with winning ... even the email exchange, Loeb wanted to have his ego feel good that he smacked the Brit hard, and it hurt.

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Sr. Business Analyst - Hedge Fund
Oakridge Staffing
New York, United States
Head of Data Analytics
New York, United States
Selby Jennings
Manager - IT Audit
Selby Jennings
Jersey City, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.