Morning Coffee: How to make banks pay you $110 an hour when you're 50+. Confessions of a rampant tea drinker
It turns out that longevity in a finance career isn't just about having clients who love you or always working in a sector of the industry that's doing well. Getting paid in finance way beyond the age at which most people have given up is about inventing something only you understand and failing to inform anyone else it works. Just ask the men who developed banks computer systems thirty years ago.
Reuters has been talking to the COBOL programmers who developed banks' legacy computer systems. Aged anything from 45 to 75, they're still in demand. Some are even being brought out of retirement as banks try to get to grips with legacy computer systems and develop new unified platforms for the modern age.
"Some of the software I wrote for banks in the 1970s is still being used," 75 year-old great grandfather Bill Hinshaw tells Reuters. Spotting an opportunity, he's formed a group of experienced COBOL programmers who know how banks' legacy systems work. In the absence of operating manuals and instructions, Hinshaw's programmers can pretty much name their price, although $100+ an hour seems the norm. "They have a problem only you can fix," he says. The problem's so acute that consulting firm Accenture, which helps banks simplify existing platforms, reportedly has a list of programmers who were let go in historic rounds of banking layoffs. Its worst fear? That they'll pass away before they can share their secrets.
Separately, Virgin boss Richard Branson is trolling bankers with his fancy lifestyle. In a Virgin blog replete with photos of himself chilling out in his 'office' on Necker Island, Branson describes how he gets up at 5am and goes to bed at 11am like any good finance professional. During the intervening hours, he makes calls, writes emails, checks in with the Virgin team and drinks a huge amount of tea. "I’m talking 20 cups a day – don’t tell my doctor!," confesses Branson, claiming it keeps him "energized."
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