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Morning Coffee: Here’s what happens when a top banker’s wife has twins. It’s bad everywhere, best here

When senior female bankers give birth, they famously email clients from the labour room. When senior males bankers’ wives have twins, they book a month off in Bali and give interviews to the Wall Street Journal about the virtues of paternity leave.

This, at least, is the course of action taken by Sam Kendall, the new head of APAC investment banking at UBS. Following the lead set by Andrea Orcel, the semi-reformed workaholic at the helm of UBS’s investment bank, Kendall says he actually took full advantage of paternity leave at the Swiss bank. However, he did so in a way that’s probably peculiar to (male) investment bankers at the top of their game.

UBS gave Kendall six weeks of paid paternity leave (it offers 16 to men who are primary caregivers). Kendall cunningly split these, and used them to help shift to a bigger job on a different continent.

Immediately after the birth of his children in May, Kendall spent two weeks with his wife and new children in London, where he was UBS’s global head of equity capital markets. After that, he went back to work in his new role as UBS’s head of investment banking for Asia Pacific. Around two months later, he took the other four weeks of his paternity leave at a rented villa in Bali.

This all sounds very fine, but it doesn’t sound much like the realities of maternity leave for most women. It sounds a bit like scheduling a big career move around the birth of your children and using the associated time off to get settled in a new role. Maybe this is just cynicism, however: Kendall’s time in Bali wasn’t entirely bereft of domesticity – he did fly into UBS’s Singapore office for a bake-off.

Separately, new figures from banking intelligence firm Coalition suggest 2016 is turning out to be a bad year for investment banks everywhere. It’s been worst, however, in Asia Pacific, where revenues are down 20% year-on-year. By comparison, it’s been best in the Americas (down 8%) and moderately bad in EMEA (down 16%).


London now accounts for reaching 37.1% of FX trading, down from nearly 41% in 2013. Asia accounts for 21%, up from 15%. (Financial Times) 

Recruitment firm Hays has earned 13% less in fees from banks in London this year than last. (Guardian) 

Hays’ chief executive: “We’ve seen a step down in activity for permanent recruitment. There is a distinctly greater appetite in the UK for employers to pick up temporary or contract staff. The decision-making process is slower and longer. People are replacing leavers but they’re more circumspect about investing in the business.” (Financial Times) 

If you want a CDS trading job, try Citadel. The has traded more than $116 billion of credit-default swaps tied to U.S. benchmark indexes since April. That’s 11.5% of the total. (Bloomberg) 

J.P. Morgan now has permission to operate its own asset management firm in China. (WSJ) 

An advertisement for Canary Wharf in the Financial Times on the day of Big Bang in October 1986 promised it would “feel like Venice and work like New York”. (Financial Times)

British Airways is to halve its business-only flights from London City airport to JFK airport, New York, from October 30. It’s experiencing a ‘weaker than expected trading environment.’ (Financial Times)

An equity derivatives strategist at RBC successfully asked for a promotion to managing director whilst informing her manager that she was pregnant. (Business Insider) 

Wristwatch sensors that measure pulse and perspiration could warn traders to step away from their desks when their emotions run wild. (Bloomberg) 


Photo credit: St Regis beach by Simon_sees is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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