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Morning Coffee: James Gorman warns MS bankers against becoming boring people. Sad payday at JPMorgan

Mohamed El-Erian was getting up at 4.15am each morning

From 'Special Saturdays' to working alternate weekends, to having one mandatory weekend day off each month, banks are experimenting with various methods of restricting juniors' hours following the death of Bank of America intern Moritz Erhardt last summer. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Bank of America have already introduced limits on hours worked. Deutsche Bank and Citigroup are said to be working on it. But Morgan Stanley has no plans to introduce hard restrictions on working hours, no or in the future.

Speaking at Davos yesterday, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said people (young bankers) need to pursue a career that they're "passionate about" and that the "hours have to be reasonable so they can have a balanced lifestyle." In a reiteration of the "all work and no play" maxim, Gorman said that bankers who work too hard, "become very uninteresting advisers to companies because they bring a very narrow perspective.”

However, while overworked bankers can become boring to clients, Gorman said it doesn't make practical sense to place hard restrictions on working hours for juniors."I’m not sure how you stop work if there’s a deal on,” Gorman said. “It’s more common sense, it’s more upward feedback and evaluation. If we have individuals who are not managing the young folks properly, we need to deal with that.” Maybe senior bankers at Morgan Stanley need to become less boring in order to appreciate the need for extracurricular interests in juniors?

Separately, JPMorgan's generosity is said to have been stymied by the enormity of its legal fines. After $20bn of legal fines in 2013, Reuters reports that per-head compensation at JPMorgan has been held steady this year. The bank did a good job of managing expectations and warned this was coming in November. The good news is that JPMorgan's shares reached a seven year high of $58.07 in November 2013 and are still $57.59, encouraging its staff to cash in on stock awards past.


Long hours contributed to Mohamed El-Erian's resignation. He was getting up at 4.15am each day. Now he's retiring to spend more time with his family and to write a book. (Financial Times) 

"I didn't want Mohamed to go but now that he is going, I am ready" to push the firm toward new growth areas, Mr. Gross said in an interview. (WSJ)

Senior Goldman banker's travel schedule means she spends two to three months away from her children each year. (Bloomberg)

James Gorman says there are a lot of talented people in Chinese princeling's families. (Financial Times) 

Morgan Stanley is thinking of offering its code staff lump sums at the end of each financial year. (Sky)

UBS chairman says UBS wants to keep its investment bank. (Bloomberg) 

Christian Meissner says top bankers are in big demand, again. (Bloomberg) 

Can a disgraced trader get a job in academia? (New Yorker)

Europe's highest court threw out a UK challenge against EU powers to ban short selling. (Financial Times) 

Hedge fund fees are highest in North America. (Twitter)  

Bankers are an offence to capitalism and should go and set up their own hedge funds, says Nassim Taleb. (NYTimes) 

Finance intern declares Wolf of Wall Street to be, 'fascinating.' (Finance Interns) 

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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