Morning Coffee: Goldman partner's guide to turning yourself into a technologist. The slippery slope from a sports injury

eFC logo

For years, Goldman Sachs recruited top coders to help its traders execute strategies with software, a role that’s becoming ever more important, but the technology gurus seen as the future kept quitting while traditional traders stayed. To solve the problem, the bank began registering coders as full traders and handing them control of their desks, shaping who will run the trading division for decades to come.

Few if any jobs in finance will be untouched as firms build computer systems capable of handling everything from routine tasks to trading and investing, according to Bloomberg.

Adam Korn, a managing director and the global co-head of the equities franchise trading and securities services strats groups at Goldman, shows how to survive. Korn wasn't always a technologist. He started his career in IBD: Korn left college and became an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston. He quit that after two and a half years to co-found a web software startup during the first tech boom. That went bust after the dot-com bubble burst in 2001.

However, it was this foray into tech start-ups that seemingly gave Korn the opportunity to pivot his banking career away from M&A and into banking technology. When his start-up failed, Korn re-joined banking in 2002, arriving as an associate in the equity derivatives research group, focusing on market microstructure research at Goldman. From there, he rose to partner. Now Korn leads a group overseeing digital strategy for the bank’s securities division. If you want to escape traditional banking and reinvent yourself as a tech guru, Korn's example looks like a good place to start.

In his new rule, Korn has pioneered a program that offers trading certifications to Goldman's strats, increasing their potential to earn more money or advance. Some within the bank dub the new breed “traders who code” or “coders who trade.” Either way, fewer strats are quitting, and more are scoring promotions, leading to higher retention.

Separately, the opioid epidemic that has plagued poor and working-class communities across the country is hitting Wall Street’s rich and powerful, who often get hooked on prescription pills after injuries.

Former Lazard Capital Markets and Jaffray Cos. trader Trey Laird’s own addiction to OxyContin was an inspiration for a business opportunity. He has been clean for six years and last year opened a luxury sober-living home in a mansion in Darien, Connecticut, one of the richest towns in the U.S., according to Bloomberg.

Laird’s company, the Lighthouse, opened a second branch this year in nearby New Canaan. Its brochures, featuring seaside vistas, advertise chef-prepared meals, trainers, professional housekeeping and “all the comforts of home” for male professionals. A bedroom there costs $12,500 a month with a roommate or $15,500 without one.

Drug overdoses killed 1,374 people in New York City last year, or 20 in 100,000 residents, a rate that climbed for a sixth straight year and has more than doubled since 2010. About 80% of those deaths involved an opioid.

While opioid overdoses increased 16% nationally from 2014 to 2015, they jumped about 25% in New York and about 31% in Connecticut, both among the wealthier states.


Brett Redfearn, J.P. Morgan's global head of market structure for its investment bank, is set to become the new director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets. (MarketWatch)

Lloyd Blankfein trolled the U.K. on Twitter. (Bloomberg)

Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I'll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit

— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) October 19, 2017

David Rosenberg had the worst Wall Street new-hire onboarding you could ask for when he started out as a junior economist at the Bank of Nova Scotia on Black Monday, October 19, 1987, when the Dow plunged by a record 22%. (Business Insider)

The crash 30 years ago was so severe that it resulted in a spike in hospital admissions. (Quartz)

There’s been a lot less trading in recent months as ultralow volatility, a lack of market-moving news and the rising popularity of passive investment funds. (WSJ)

Blackstone’s AUM hit a new record. (FT)

State Street’s active equities CIO says that in the asset management industry there’s “less need for those benchmark-hugging skill sets, but then more so on the high active and, quite frankly, on the quant investing and smart beta investing sides.” (Business Insider)

Holy fee compression, Batman! Lee Ainslie’s $10bn hedge fund Maverick Capital is offering 0% performance fees to some investors. (WSJ)

Being manipulative and mean isn’t the secret to success, as psychopathic hedge fund managers actually make less money than their saner, nicer peers. (Bloomberg)

Tezos, the startup which raised $232m via an initial coin offering (ICO) in July, is already imploding. (Bloomberg)

Jamie Dimon bashed Bitcoin, and now cryptocurrency mavens are bashing him. (Business Insider)

Chinese fintech is red-hot. (Business Insider)

Related articles

Popular job sectors


Search jobs

Search articles