The sorry Sundays of investment bankers

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What's your Sunday routine? Do you lie in bed until 10am before cooking a carb-light, protein-heavy breakfast and then walking in the park before going out for a lunch?  Lucky you. That's not how it is for the sad denizens of the financial services sector.

In investment banking, as in fund management, Sunday is a day of work. More than that, it is often the day when all the important work that couldn't get done during the week is completed.

"I'm trying to think back to the last time I had a Sunday off," one fund professional tells us. "I think it was around November. We've been very busy launching new products and I've been in the office every weekend, including over Christmas."

"Sundays are the time for writing up your research," says an ex-managing director in fixed income at one European bank. "When I was a publishing research analyst I had so little time during working days that I ended up finalizing the drafts I'd written in evenings and at weekends," he adds. "Weekends were the perfect quiet times for actually focusing on what needed to happen."

In theory, traders have a less intense time than people in the investment banking divisions (IBD). Theoretically, IBD work is deal-oriented and can require bankers to work for as long as is necessary to get a deal done, whereas traders are only engaged for as long as markets are open. In reality, however, traders say they work Sundays too. "As a trader you're not in the office, but you're still working," says one fixed income trader. "Sundays are the time for getting through your pile of publications - all the research documents you didn't get to read during the week. On a trading desk you're always busy and getting interrupted all the time, so there's never a chance to read."

Even Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, says he spends weekends lying on the couch and reading through research.

And when you're not working? Then it's all about catching up on sleep, paying bills and sorting socks. "It's pretty mundane really," says the fund professional. "You're working so hard during the week that you don't have time to do all the administrative mundane things that need to be done. Unfortunately there's only so much of that stuff you can outsource," he adds.


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