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Morning Coffee: The optimal time to earn big money in investment banking. Bare-chested trading floor fight

Just because you're earning £500k ($620k) as an investment banker, doesn't mean that you're rich. It doesn't even mean that you're particularly comfortable.

At least that's the conclusion of a survey of 320 financial services professionals by Financial News. Around 53% said that they were struggling to make ends meet, even though the majority earned between £100-500k. Except that's not the whole story. In fact, if you're earning a six-figure salary and have five to ten years' experience in investment banking, you're far more likely to be doing OK.

Once you hit 10 years' experience, things start to go downhill. Just 38% of those with 10-20 years of experience said they had plenty of spare money. One 30-year veteran of the City scoffed at the notion: “If you’re earning that money how do you feel stretched? It’s laughable. Cut back on some of your expenses. Don’t sit in first class all the time."

Maybe so, but it's easier said than done. As FN points out, by this point you have children in expensive schools, big mortgages or extravagant weddings to pay for. Where does it end? As we pointed out years ago, even bankers earning seven figures complain about not having enough cash. "When you work in banking, you end up surrounded by people who earn a lot of money,” said Erika Shapiro, a former fixed income saleswoman at Goldman, Citi, Credit Suisse and UBS who became a yoga instructor. “Everyone around you has a big mortgage and is sending their children to private schools.”

There's another factor. "You’ll get these guys who turn up at work with the girlfriends they’ve had since university, and then suddenly – once they start making a lot of money – they’ll ditch the old university educated girlfriend and find a much more glamorous and good looking woman that they’ve found through work,” said Louise Cooper, a former Goldman Sachs salesperson and financial analyst at Cooper City.

With banks promoting juniors more rapidly these days, the optimal time to earn big money and not be weighed down by responsibilities therefore appears to be between 26-31. Enjoy it while you can.

Separately, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is embroiled in a racial discrimination case with trader Maurice Marco, who still works on its Euro Commercial Paper team. He claims that comments from his boss, Anthony Dullaghan (who retired from BAML in January), about his French and Lebanese heritage and an alleged assault on the trading floor have left him experiencing panic attacks. "I often wake bathed in sweat and gripped with fear, I start hyperventilating, my chest feels tight like a vice and I feel extremely claustrophobic," he said.

In a more bizarre response, a lawyer for the bank has said that Marco exaggerated the incident and "took his shirt off" during a heated argument on the trading floor. "You were shouting at Mr. Dullaghan and you were being aggressive. You took your shirt off altogether and stood there bare-chested." The case continues.


7% of the UK population are privately educated. 33% of people in finance went to private school (Financial News)

Brady Dougan is back - and has $3bn of capital to invest (WSJ)

More than 25% of financial services professionals in the UK think they will lose their job because of Brexit (Financial News)

Banker glee at Trump election: “I’m seeing people smile now, clients of mine, where I didn’t even know they had teeth. Everyone I talk to is happy.” (Bloomberg)

J.P. Morgan has made some major changes to its electronic execution team (Financial News)

Your sponsor leaves the firm. What next? (WSJ)

“Clearly, not everybody in the single market believes that London’s place as Europe’s financial centre is inevitable or eternal.” (Financial Times)

Only a few hedge funds know what they’re doing with big data (Bloomberg)

Dublin doesn’t want London’s trading floors (Reuters)

Boutique investment banks generally could benefit from Trump’s domestic focus, but Houlihan Lokey generates 90% of its revenues in the U.S. (Gadfly)

The UK regulator is one of the key reasons why London is still a force in fintech (Bloomberg)

‘Reply all’ gaffs are on their way out (Financial Times)

My spreadsheet of happiness (Quartz)

FT commenter sums up the Brexit Leave/Remain debate (The Poke)



AUTHORPaul Clarke

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