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Morning Coffee: The real downside to working for RBS. Putative good news for bankers in Europe

It's all good, if you can withstand the guilt

There are advantages and disadvantages to working in the investment bank at the Royal Bank of Scotland. On the plus side, the hours aren't said to be too bad and the salaries are said to be quite reasonable when you're only starting out. Less positively, there's the persistent threat of eye-watering redundancies, the suggestion that director-level investment banking staff are some of the worst paid in the City, and the ignominy of working for the British government.

None of this is the worst thing about working for RBS, however. The worst thing about working for RBS is... the guilt.

If you work for Barclays, or Credit Suisse, or Citigroup, or Morgan Stanley, and you confess your identity as a 'banker,' eyebrows may well be raised, but nothing more. When you work for RBS's investment bank, however, you are expected to do penance for the sins of your forebears, even if you joined after the sins were committed and share none of their culpability.

Such is the situation that RBS CEO Ross McEwan finds himself in. Sky News reports that McEwan is giving away half his £1m allowance to a charitable trust in an attempt to exonerate himself in the eyes of the British public. In light of RBS's eighth annual consecutive loss, McEwan reportedly wants to make it clear that he acknowledges there's "still more work to do."

Not everyone at RBS is financially self-deprecating, however. As we reported earlier this month, the head of macro sales and origination at the bank is in the process of building a "dream property" on his private island in the Thames. 

Separately, bankers in Europe have a possible reason to put their party frocks on. Bloomberg reports that the European Union is "reassessing" its cap on bonuses at 200% of salaries. Full festal dress may be premature though - the European Banking Authority has said the bonus cap "should not be subject to any exemption" and is unlikely to budge.

Meanwhile:

Small brokerage firms in London may not have to adhere to the EU bonus rules after all. (Financial Times) 

Canaccord is making the entirety of its London fixed income team redundant. (Financial News)

Conflicts of interest: Russia is issuing $3 bn of foreign bonds. There are sanctions but if you are the Eastern Europe sovereign-financing banker at a U.S. bank, how can you miss this deal?  (Bloomberg) 

Bank of America is making some communications people redundant. (Charlotte Observer) 

Veteran energy banker is stepping down at Bank of America to "pursue interests outside banking." (Financial News) 

Veteran British banker on Brexit: "‘You have to remember that they will always want to bring Britain down because our economy is stronger and more successful than theirs. Of course we should get out." (Spectator)  

Barclays KYC analyst accused of torturing cat. (Dealbreaker)

DJ Judge Jules studied at the LSE and is now a lawyer. (Financial Times) 

When middle class professions stop being middle class:  He has cut his staff to eight from 25 and cut salaries to everyone left by more than 20%, including himself. “It’s just a blood bath.” (NY Times)

The Carlyle Group's three founders each collected roughly $100 million in dividends and other compensation in 2015. (Financial News)

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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