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Morning Coffee: How to make a fortune from the most boring job in banking. Poetry at Goldman Sachs

Banks need someone or something to monitor employees' calls

Compliance jobs in banks are growing fast, but within compliance one particular subset is growing faster than any other: compliance monitoring. The men and women who spend their days replaying conversations between traders and salespeople are reportedly proliferating faster than doubts about the soundness of the European banking system.

According to a new study by PWC, big banks already employ as many as 50 people each just to read staff emails and listen to staff calls, and that number is growing fast. Monitoring the communications in question is something of a Sisyphean task: PWC estimates that there are, 'tens of billions of emails, instant messages and phone calls between the 140,000 people who work in banking in London every year.' It's also pretty boring - unless you happen to find listening to thousands of hours of traders' banter an interesting pastime.

Where there's a labour-intensive menial job, however, there's always the potential to make a fortune from automating it. PWC reports that banks are due to spend £156m on surveillance technology this year alone. The Holy Grail is software that can listen to telephone calls: devising this is reportedly especially challenging because 'even the most advanced voice technology can be circumvented.' Gauntlet, thrown.

Separately, Goldman Sachs is encouraging aestheticism in its staff. The firm has been running 'poetry workshops' and 'poetry sharing' sessions as part of its Talks at GS Program. The sessions were hosted by John F.W. Rogers, a Goldman executive officer described by the New York Times as having an, 'ability to make himself indispensable to powerful people' - for whom literary erudition may well be part of the appeal.


HSBC decides to stay based in London because, it “delivers the best of both worlds to our stakeholders.” (Telegraph)  

Citi thinks it's found a way of circumventing the EU restrictions on bonuses: it will simply stress that it's senior staff in London are responsible for global businesses. (Financial Times) 

RBC Capital Markets just hired Martin Copeland, a former banker at Deutsche Bank and UBS whose last role was as a managing director at Evercore. (Financial News) 

The UK's Warwick University is launching a new graduate programme in central banking, taught by Paul Fisher — the man who, as director for markets at the Bank of England, turned the theory of quantitative easing into a practical asset-buying programme. (Financial Times)  

If all goes well, Brian Moynihan (CEO of Bank of America) just got a 23% pay hike. (WSJ) 

M&A bankers are not as safe as they seem. (Bloomberg) 

Private equity staff arrive late and work late: 'When he arrives at Terra Firma’s London office at 8am, “it’s just me and the secretary”. In contrast, when he leaves at 9pm, “the whole place is buzzing”.' (Sunday Times)

Financial analysts marry middle school teachers. (Bloomberg) 

Plotting every financial crisis since 1980. (Twitter) 

Lesbians earn more than heterosexual women. (Economist)

Today’s 25-year-olds need to save the equivalent of £800 a month over the next 40 years to retire at 65 with an income of £30k a year,  (Financial Times) 

Online dating horror stories: He was terribly rude, condescending, kept talking about his job (he was an investment banker…). (The Awl)

Why negative interest rates are a nightmare. (Marginal Revolution) 

Photo credit: Listening Device by RV1864 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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