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Meet the tool that may actually improve the work-life of junior bankers

Sure, they may be posturing a bit for a little PR love, but banks have been making concerted efforts to improve the work-life balance of its junior staffers. The initiatives have been met with minor applause mixed with a heavy dose of cynicism.

One report published earlier this year by Fox Business said that basically nothing has changed, and that the hours are equally as brutal. They are just spread out more across the workweek.

But in recent months, banks have bulked up their hiring plans, allocating more bodies to each project. J.P. Morgan and Bank of America have signaled that they’re hiring more junior bankers this time around, with BofA pledging to increase this year’s class by as much as 40%.

How those hiring initiatives will affect the lives of analysts and associates is yet to be seen. Those plans surely have more to do with need than want. Activity in M&A and equity capital markets is red-hot. And there’s also the fact that cost-conscious banks are letting go more expensive senior bankers for cheaper junior versions.

But there now may be a new hope on the horizon – one that doesn’t rely on lukewarm promises but on efficiency. A bunch of money just got pumped into a startup called Thinknum, a platform designed by two former financial analysts with junior bankers in mind.

With Thinknum, analysts can share and collaborate on cloud-based financial models, rather just sending Excel spreadsheets back and forth, according to Dealbook. It also can pull data from the Web, eliminating much of the mindless time-consuming work that comes with building valuations.

The platform already has 3,000 users, mostly at small hedge funds, but the company just received another $1 million in funding. Likely we are still pretty far away from cloud-based platforms being ubiquitous on Wall Street – and Thinknum clearly won’t turn investment banking into a 9-5 job – but we can dream, can’t we?

Editor’s Note: I’ll be off for the next two weeks (doing that whole marriage/honeymoon thing) but will be leaving Morning Coffee in the capable hands of our contributor, Ed Silverstein. Talk to you again soon – Beecher

Hiring Roundup (eFinancialCareers)

In the latest hiring roundup, Deutsche Bank sets a massive hiring goal, Cantor Fitzgerald looks to grow its investment bank and Evercore needs more grey hairs.

Life After the CFA (eFinancialCareers)

The results of the CFA level I are due to be released today. Pass or fail, what should you do next? Nathalie Columelli, a former Deutsche Bank trader who now trains CFA candidates, has the answers.

Another Probe for JPM (WSJ)

Seemingly never fully out of the doghouse, J.P. Morgan is being questioned whether it steers clients to its own investment products over outside third-party options.

BofA Names ECM Co-Heads (Bloomberg)

Bank of America has named Craig Coben and Mary Ann Deignan as its new co-heads of global equity capital markets. With Deignan leaving her post, J.D. Moriarty will take over as the head of Americas ECM. Coben will continue to head up EMEA. Elsewhere, Barclays just lost two more big-name FICC traders in the U.S.

Every Little Bit Helps (Dealbook)

Lloyd’s Banking Group settled with regulators over claims that its traders rigged interest rate benchmarks. Transcripts of internal e-mails, telephone calls and instant messages tell a story of emboldened and widespread collusion.

Muni Analyst Hiring Slows to Crawl (Bloomberg)

Money managers have stopped all hiring of analysts that cover municipal markets. “The boom time for analyst employment has come to at least a temporary end,” said one U.S. recruiter.

One-Stop Shop (WSJ)

Deutsche Bank created a corporate finance partnership team that helps leverage investment banking deal contacts to help identify friendly customers for its wealth management team. It’s been working really well.

Buzz Around the Office

Trading Superstitions (Business Insider)

Just how superstitious are traders? Here are 12 fairly ridiculous examples, including a story of one trader who never uses a particular bathroom stall because it “has a really good track record for losing money."

Quote of the Day: “I’ll have [bank] there as well … because that’s what you want. You don’t want the market to know what you’re [expletive] doing.” – an anonymous Lloyd’s trader discussing rate agreements with a broker.


Former Goldman Sachs interns reflect upon where it all went wrong

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When the MBA managing you is incompetent

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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