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Esoteric tests unearth Wall Street’s most intelligent

Could you solve the puzzle?

Where will you find Wall Street’s most intelligent? Not at Goldman Sachs. Not at Citigroup. Not at Credit Suisse. Not even at cultish hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. No, you will find them at Pine River Capital Management, a self-described, ‘global alternative asset management firm founded on the values of intellectual honesty.’

Bloomberg reports that the team from Pine River won Saturday night’s ‘Midnight Madness’ event. Popularized in 2013 by a group of Goldman Sachs employees and their friends, Midnight Madness 2015 was billed as, ‘the most exhausting, uplifting, deflating, enlightening, fun, and multi-dimensionally challenging competition you’ve ever participated in.’ More prosaically, it was a charity scavenger hunt, which required teams – mostly from financial services firms – to solve some very esoteric questions to get to the finish line.

Among other things, the 21 participating teams of 10 people were asked to read sheet music comprised of grapes and sausages, to reverse engineer a Scrabble board, and to put parking signs into binary code.

They also had to work out the identity of a mystery woman and come up with a means of helping her. Pine River’s intellectually honest, hard-working and ‘curious’ staff came in first place. The journalists at Bloomberg News came in second. The hedge funders of Cantab Capital came in third.

It’s not clear where the teams from Goldman, Citi and CS ranked, and we may never know – Pine River’s staff had agreed never to talk about the event again if they lost. The event wasn’t just about teamwork and intelligence, it also raised $3.1m for a charity with links to one of the Goldman partners who helped to organize it.

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Painted Lady Advantage (The Atlantic)

Separately, if you want to get ahead in finance and you are a woman, try wearing make-up. A new study highlights that women who wear make up earn more and are treated better.

Rates Traders Looked After (Financial Times

Banks want to lock in their rates traders with higher pay. Even so, pay will only raise by 10% this year.

Deutsche Farewell (Bloomberg)

Deutsche Bank’s general counsel is leaving after all those fines.

Spin Doctor Departs (PR Week)

Deutsche Bank’s US head of communications is leaving after 12 years.

Credit Suisse Returns (Financial News) 

Credit Suisse retreated from the fund of hedge funds business in 2012, but it just hired two people for a new fund.

Middle Class Hackers (Business Insider)

Meet the 31 year-old frat brothers linked to the J.P. Morgan hack.

Coding Combination (Poets and Quants)

Should you attend a coding camp as well as studying an MBA?

It’s Nippy Out (WSJ)  

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Boozing Bankers (Financial Times)

Does the City of London have a drinking culture?

Quote of the Day:

“This is a brutal punishment on a relatively lowly trader in obscure financial derivatives pegged to Japanese yen Libor, when the real architects of financial manipulation and skulduggery in Wall Street and the City remain untouched,” Tom Hayes’ father hits out.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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