Morning Coffee: Impoverished ex-trader forced to rely on wife’s modest income. Two exciting finance start-ups now hiring

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How long does it take before you run out of money when you leave a highly paid trading job? Stylianos Contogoulas, a former US dollar fixed income derivative swaps trader at Barclays suggests it’s around two and a half years.  The Financial Times reports that Contogoulas, who has been charged with conspiracy to defraud by the British Serious Fraud Office, has no money left with which to pay his legal fees. He left Barclays in 2006 but went on to work at BAML until September 2011.

Unfortunately, Contogoulas’ claim has been denied state legal aid on the grounds that his wife earns just above the maximum threshold for state assistance. The threshold is currently set at £22k after family living costs and 'circumstances' have been taken into consideration. The impoverished Contogoulas must now rely on spousal contributions to pay his defence costs. In this sense he is fortunate than ex-UBS trader Tom Hayes, who earned millions and successfully put in a claim for legal aid in October last year. 

Separately, when ex-Barclays CEO Bob Diamond spoke to Bloomberg earlier this week, he said this is an exciting time for the financial services industry because it’s in the grips of a wave of entrepreneurialism. People like Diamond (who’s set up Atlas Mara, an investment firm to acquire stakes in African banks) are leaving large firms and setting up whole new ventures of their own. These are increasingly the places to be.

Two of these financial services disrupters deserve special attention. One is Algomi, an information provider set up by ex-UBS bankers. The other is Tikehau Group, a debt-focused investment fund founded by former Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs bankers. Euromoney reports that Algomi has just taken on Hugh Willis, founder of BlueBay Asset Management. Algomi sells data-capture systems that help banks match off-setting customer orders in the illiquid bond markets. The company is reportedly in expansion mode and Willis will help ‘scale the business.’ Tikehau Group is also having an expansionary moment. Financial News reports that the debt-focused investor is expanding its London and has just hired Debra Anderson from Blackrock to help develop its credit business across Europe.


ICAP has cut six brokers who manually handle certain interest-rate trades as it pushes more transactions toward electronic platforms. (Financial News)

The Federal Reserve might make US banks pay some of their bonuses in the form of bonds. (Bloomberg)

Compensation and benefits rose by 27% at private equity fund Carlyle in the past quarter. Revenues only grew 5%. (Financial Times) 

Fixed income revenues declined 22% year-on-year at BNP Paribas in the last quarter. (Financial Times) 

Eric Bommensanth, the Barclays’ fixed income banker now in charge of the bad bank is an introverted Frenchman better suited to a geeky bomb disposal job than to a prominent business leadership role. (Financial Times)      

Crispin Odey likes Barclays’ bad bank: “The best way of handling this rates business is through run off.” (Financial News)

Credit Suisse is the latest bank to launch an ‘returnship programme’ to encourage mothers back into work. (Evening Standard) 

The UK's opposition to the EU financial transaction tax has failed. (Financial Times)

Bill Gross’s latest: “ A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good.” (Pimco)  

Related articles:

Nice person seeking 16 equity specialists for thematic fun. Why you want to work for Barclays bad bank

Where to find 100k new banking jobs in the UK. Bob Diamond speaks on Barclays’ future

Why we shouldn’t care about the 100% RBS bonus cap. Top banker weeps at work


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