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Morning Coffee: The ex-hippy who started an investment bank during a crisis. London’s banking advantage

With Brexit bleakness taking hold, now’s the time to look for some inspiring stories of success in terrible conditions and Ken Moelis – the previously bandana-sporting investment banker who launched his own firm in the midst of a financial crisis - is here to help.

Moelis & Co, the boutique investment bank which started life in 2007, hired 200 staff in two years – right throughout the global financial crisis – and now has more than double that. “Do you know how many people told me we were going to go bankrupt? Eve­­ry­­one,” he told the Financial Times. “When I was expanding in the crisis the whole street thought I was crazy.”

Moelis considers himself something of a maverick, anyway. With his long hair pinned back by “Jimmy Hendrix-style bandanas”, Moelis struggled to find a banking job in the early 80s despite a degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He eventually ended up in Drexel Burnham Lambert – a small investment bank that ushered in a new era of mega-deals and became one of the most-sought after banks to work at.

Moelis’ career advice (at least reading between the lines) is to stay loyal to clients. The only time he ‘fumes’ during the interview is when his commitment to his client’s best interest is questioned, and becoming close friends with those he advised during his time at Drexel allowed him to land his first deal when he left.

He also advises avoiding the bureaucracy of a large firm – something that spurred him to leave UBS in 2007. “It’s built on incredibly successful people rising versus the bureaucracy holding people down. That’s what’s exciting about a really creative firm, the sense of dynamism on the way up.”

Separately, banking headhunters say there’s a hiring freeze in London after Brexit, but no real indications (yet) that a prolonged cuts could occur, according to the Wall Street Journal. Unicredit analyst Vasileios Gkionakis, says that banks shouldn’t rush any decisions to move staff.

“Moving staff may eventually take place and this will affect the job market, but it can’t be a fast decision. Apart from its location, London has a substantial advantage in terms of infrastructure for banking services.”


Flexible labour laws mean Netherlands and Ireland are forerunners for moving banking jobs out of London (Financial News)

Brevan Howard made money from Brexit on Friday (Bloomberg)

BAML’s not overly-reassuring message to its European staff (Motley Fool)

A merged LSE and Deutsche Borse cannot have its HQ in the UK, says BaFin (Financial News)

George Soros shorted Deutsche Bank on the Brexit vote (Financial Times)

But robot hedge funds won most of all (Bloomberg)

UK-based private equity professionals paid in dollars are taking home more (Financial News)

“There’s a bloody great vacuum. This is what is scaring me. Boris has gone to ground. I don’t think I am alone in thinking that. I do have some sympathy. He certainly took the weekend off. He now needs to step-up.” Edmund Truell, private equity investor and Brexit supporter. (WSJ)

British banks are expected to be hit hardest by Brexit, but have tried to reassure staff (Financial Times)

Brexit is a local, not global, systemic event (Financial Times)

Tank tops, shorts or flip flops: what not to where in the office during summer (Business Insider)

Photo: Getty Images

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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