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Morning Coffee: Banks demand Blackberry cold turkey, Google’s ‘toothbrush test’ excludes expensive investment bankers

Real investment bankers don’t take holidays. One long-suffering wife told of her investment banker husband dangling from an apple tree in the British countryside during a family break, so desperate was he to find a reception for his Blackberry to touch base with the office. The hours are awful, and even when you’re out of the office, you need to remain connected.

Not anymore. Banks are following in the footsteps of companies in other industries which have banned employees from staying too connected during their holidays. Barclays staff will be able to read emails, but not receive calls, whilst on vacation. Deutsche Bank employees can monitor emails, but not respond to any that would influence a deal, reports Financial News.

Is this a realistic ambition? The Financial Times has run a separate article highlighting the absence of work-life balance in industries like consulting and banking where employees are at the whims of demanding clients. The Boston Consulting Group has introduced a scheme called PTO (predictable time off), which allowed staff to choose one day or evening from Monday to Thursdays when they could ignore emails or calls and actually make some plans outside of work.

“Even banking” allows employees some time to switch off, believes Don Serratt, a former banker who now runs a company treating behavioural health problems:  “It has to start with the individual. Some people have more stamina and get energy from working more than others. Others continue to work hard in spite of the negative consequences.” In other words, if you’re missing your kids’ childhood and completely ignoring your marriage falling apart, take some time off.

Separately, Google CEO Larry Page will have sent shivers down the spines of investment bankers bringing in millions in advisory fees for everything from M&A to IPO advice. He doesn’t need lots of data and financial modelling to work out whether a company is worth acquiring, he simply uses the “toothbrush test” – is it something people will use once or twice a day, and does it make their life better?

“Larry will look at potential deals at a very early stage,” said Donald Harrison, Google’s vice president of corporate development. “Bankers can be helpful, but they’re not necessarily core to the discussions.”


More exits from SAC Capital’s rebranded hedge fund Point 72 Asset Management. Thomas Conheeny, who was the right hand man of CEO Steve Cohen and responsible for staffing, has left the firm (Dealbook)

Deutsche Bank has named Richard Shannon as Americas chief information officer and Scott Marcar as head of IT infrastructure as it increases its focus on systems and controls to appease regulators (Press Release)

"In the past, buying a company required people with subject-matter expertise to help identify the right M&A target and all the related data and information you needed to make the decision. Today, intelligent matching algorithms and proprietary data sets that span the globe enable buyers to identify the right target within minutes and connect within a matter of hours. The world of investment banking is a-changing." (TechCrunch)

Tom Montag, the former Goldman Sachs trading head and the highest paid man at Bank of America, has is now the sole COO at the bank. David Darnell, who has held the role with Montag since 2011, has taken an alternative title to allow him to move to Florida. (Bloomberg)

15% of headcount, or around 9,000 people, at UBS are likely to have their backgrounds screened for criminal and credit checks. So far, it’s been limited to senior staff. (Reuters)

Swiss, US and Asian banks would all have a problem in the wake of the Brexit. (Financial Times)

US investment banks have requested a record number of H1B visas as they struggle to hire for tech and compliance roles (Financial News)

Paul Robson, a former trader at Rabobank in the US, has switched his stance and pleaded guilty to Libor manipulation. (Financial Times)

Danny Wise, who left Credit Suisse in May as it downsized its FX business, has emerged at Citigroup as head of G10 spot FX trading (Wall Street Journal)

27-year-old Bain Capital manager dies in explained diving accident (Bloomberg)

Cantor Fitzgerald has also hired for FX, poaching two Goldman Sachs employees (Reuters)

Cambridge University is hiring someone to study chocolate (AP)

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AUTHORPaul Clarke

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