Morning Coffee: How a 49 year-old trader humiliated his 23 year-old desk assistant. Move to Dublin

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It's not easy being a junior on a trading desk. There are food-eating competitions. There are the 'pranks.' And there are the jerks.

Despite Barclays' notorious "no jerks policy", former Barclays trader Peter Johnson appears to have been one of the latter. Johnson is currently on trial in London for manipulating the Libor rate. A former Barclays colleague, Jonathan Mathew, is also on trial. In court yesterday, Mathew detailed Johnson's tyrannical and humiliating method of training him.

The abuse took place 12 years ago, when Matthew was 23 and Johnson was 49. Mathew had already worked at Barclays for four years. He joined the bank aged 19 thanks to parental contacts (a story in itself), with three A level qualifications at grades EED. Mathew was deaf and dyslexic and reportedly had to take the regulatory examinations that were then mandatory four times before he passed. Nonetheless, in 2004 he was transferred to the money markets desk to work as an admin assistant. There, he encountered Johnson who'd already worked for Barclays for over 10 years and was - in Mathew's words - "very detail oriented...and quite verbally aggressive."

Things seemingly came to a head when Mathew was on a call with Citi and it became apparent that he didn't know that Manila was the capital of the Philippines. "I had to stand on my chair and do a "capital cities of the world" test," said Mathew, adding that Johnson, "had a 12-inch bat on his desk and he whacked me on the back of the head and the knuckles...It wasn’t particularly hard, it was done to humiliate me." Nice.

Nonetheless, Mathew seems to have respect for his 'mentor.' Thanks to Johnson, Mathew became a trader. Mathew said his former boss was a "good teacher," who'd taught by explaining things as Mathew copied him and took notes.

Separately, you should move to Dublin. Credit Suisse's London-based securities lending and prime broking staff are off to the Irish capital. And now Citadel's opening an office there too. Citadel chose Dublin for its top-ranked universities, world-class infrastructure and an experienced talent base, an insider told Financial News.


ING's being sued by a London trader who says the bank was racist and dismissed him for whistleblowng (both of which can lead to unlimited compensation.) (Bloomberg)

Citi's head of EMEA corporate bond syndicate has left.(Reuters) 

Philippe Benaroya and Chris Wrenn, head of Blackrock's European debt platform have left. (Financial News)

Goldman Sachs banker joins Russian grocery chain. (Intellinews)

If you want to do an MBA at Harvard, you must first write this essay. (Poets and quants) 

I passed CFA Level I with two weeks of studying. (300 Hours)

Message from private equity billionaire: "“Don’t be embarrassed about making money.” (Bloomberg) 

There’s a glass ceiling for Asians at Goldman Sachs and women are mostly ‘others’. (Business Insider)  

Maybe you’re just…lucky? (NY Mag)


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