Morning Coffee: Jefferies, Barclays give juniors the upper hand. Senior bankers can’t get jobs, promotions

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The empowerment of previously downtrodden junior bankers is continuing apace. At Barclays, junior staff are being given the opportunity to single out seniors who are nasty to them. At Jefferies, senior staff have been commanded to be nice to ‘special’ 20-somethings who were previously considered dispensable.

Financial News reports that Barclays’ initiative is part of its ‘Team Working Practices’ survey (which we assume is designed to facilitate team working practices at the bank). Under this survey, Barclays’ juniors will be given the opportunity to identify senior bankers by name and to either commend or criticize these seniors based upon the way they’ve been treated. Significantly, senior bankers will have their pay adjusted to reflect the juniors’ feedback.

Over at Jefferies, meanwhile, CEO Richard Handler has reportedly sent a memo instructing the bank’s managing directors, senior vice presidents and vice presidents to take a genuine interest in the “special” 20-year olds who’ve just joined. Mentor, these people, Handler commands – but not in an uptight, formal way: ““Make it personal… Learn about their families and friends. …Get to know where they went to school, where they like to have a beer and what they hope to be when they grow up (maybe just like you!).”

Handler also cautions Jefferies’ senior bankers against being insensitive ‘jerks’ in their dealings with the youth: “Waiting until the last minute to hand out work, creating unnecessary projects or deadlines, or just being insensitive makes you a jerk,” he says. “We do not have or want jerks at Jefferies.”

While junior bankers are enjoying special treatment and the opportunity to reduce the pay of their managers, mid-ranking and senior bankers are struggling to gain promotions and to find new jobs. The Financial Times reports that Goldman Sachs is likely to make fewer partners this year as it reinstates the old ‘pyramid’ hierarchical structure. Other banks are also failing to promote: “There are a whole bunch of really talented people that are not being promoted,” one MD tells the FT. “Some of the most competent money-earning people at the firm are at VP level. We have a lot of useless Ds and MDs that are basically clinging on.” Senior bankers are clinging on because no one’s hiring. In the past, the FT points out that there were always expansionary newcomers like Barclays or Nomura. Not any more.

One place senior bankers don’t seem to be suffering is Credit Suisse. The FT reports that the Swiss bank has a ‘grow your own strategy’ for promoting internally and that two thirds of its new managing directors were internal promotions in 2013.


Banks have done ok in the third quarter. Citigroup just said that its FICC revenues are likely to be comparable with the third quarter of 2013. (WSJ) 

Salaries at state-owned banks in China will probably be capped at $100k, even for senior executives. (Bloomberg) 

Ian Hannam, the infamous ex-JPMorgan mining banker, is setting up his own fully fledged boutique, to be called Hannam and Partners.  (Financial Times)

The people who work on trading floors are often the sons of traders who were themselves the sons of traders. (WSJ) 

The EU could always try capping banking compensation as a percentage of revenues. (Breaking Views) 

RBS CDS are widening ahead of the independence vote. (Twitter)

A roundup of what big banks are saying on Scotland. (Reuters) 

Six promotion secrets your boss won’t tell you. (Career Meh) 

How to avoid the collaborative time suck. (Farnam Street) 

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