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Proposed BNP settlement may harm former and current bankers

BNP Paribas is reportedly close to inking a $9 billion settlement with regulators over its alleged dealings with sanctioned countries. For employees of the French bank, the ten-figure settlement isn’t nearly as important as the fine print.

As part of the arranged deal, which has still yet to be consummated, BNP will let go as many as 30 employees that were thought to be culpable for the bank’s behind-the-scenes dealings with the Iranians and Sudanese, as well as those who helped shade the transactions from U.S. authorities.

But, as the Wall Street Journal reported, most of those 30 employees, including Chief Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel, are already on their way out. The real sub-header of the proposed agreement is BNP’s temporary ban on trading in U.S. dollars. While the full impact of that stipulation is still unclear, it’s likely to have a negative effect on client relationships and hundreds of employees.

Being unable to make U.S. dollar transactions won’t deprive BNP of a significant form of revenue, but it will prohibit the bank from offering a relatively routine and critical service to clients. Some may have to migrate to rival banks during the temporary ban, which will likely last several months, according to the Journal.

“When your client has to go to a rival bank to get the most basic banking service, even for a few months, you’ll lose them,” Fred Cannon, New York-based head of research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc, told Bloomberg. “Not all, but some will take their business completely to that rival and not come back.”

Detractors have consistently complained that fines imposed by U.S. authorities don’t hurt banks or bankers – just shareholders. This action has a bit more teeth.

Hiring Roundup (eFinancialCareers)

In the latest hiring roundup, a Chinese bank sets its focus on London, Moelis plans a new business unit and two firms are desperate for U.S. wealth managers.

Winning as a Narcissist (eFinancialCareers)

New research suggests that a particular combination of narcissistic traits win over interviewers. If you’re a narcissist in an interview, here’s how you get people on your side.

No More Turnover (WSJ)

If you want the job as Harvard’s new money manager, you’ll need two soft skills in particular: loyalty and the desire to stay the long haul. Harvard is tired of refilling the seat and is eyeing a lifer to replace Jane Mendillo.

New York’s Most Powerful (Crain’s)

Crain’s just came out with its first annual “Most Connected New Yorkers” list. Former AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg leads the list, which is based on the number and strength of personal and professional connections. Jamie Dimon is fourth. Lloyd Blankfein is 22nd. The list is admittedly “old, white and male.”

More Machines Replacing People (Financial Times)

Banks are accelerating plans to further automate foreign exchange trading. That means more cuts at banks like Barclays and UBS, and sooner.

What Bonus Caps? (The Sunday Times)

The U.K. government is prepared to green-light RBS’s plans to pay executives monthly “allowances” as part of their overall compensation. The ploy is seen as a way to sidestep bonus caps.

Asset Management Recruiting Heating Up (Financial News)

More than 80% of asset managers plan to hire people in sales and marketing over the next year. Another 76% want to hire fund managers and 72% are recruiting analysts.

Buzz Around the Office

The Street’s Finest Athletes (Bloomberg)

Barclays’ Mark Rubin won Wall Street’s annual decathlon for the third year running. He finished one second ahead of Jay Li of Trafelet Brokaw & Co. to take the crown. A group from J.P. Morgan won the group competition, while Goldman Sachs’ Andrew Hogue won the 40-and-over test.

Quote of the Day: “People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.” – Bill Watterson

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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