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Morning Coffee: When Silicon Valley technologists charm Wall Street bankers. The overlooked investment bank with big growth plans

If you're working in technology and trying to make yourself heard to bankers, you may want to double down on your geekiness: it has a certain charm.

Take the case of Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin.

After graduating with a biology degree from Yale, Anne Wojcicki worked as a Wall Street biotech analyst for a decade, including stints at Investor AB, Ardsley Partners, Andor Capital Management and Passport Capital. She saw so much “Wolf of Wall Street” behavior and had so many “We’ll talk about it after the lap dance” conversations when she that she thought she might never want to get married, the New York Times reported. It turns out her type was Silicon Valley Brainiac, not Wall Street bro.

Wojcicki still speaks fondly of her oddball courtship with Google co-founder Sergey Brin. He would leave her voicemail messages in Morse code or notes about where to meet him in Braille.

“And I’d be like, ‘Ugh, can’t you just tell me where to go?’” she told the Times. “But it was fun. I feel like you need to balance each other in relationships. Somebody can be totally insane, and then somebody has to buy food and pay rent.”

Bankers who want to communicate with quants and technologists could try adopting a similar technique if they want to bond.

Separately, senior Standard Chartered executives have hatched a plan to help the bank to start punching above its weight.

The head of StanChart’s investment bank is aiming to boost revenue growth by a compound annual rate of 5% to 7% in the medium term, while trying to keep risk down and avoid past mistakes.

The Asia, Africa and Middle East-focused bank will boost income after two years of restructuring by cross-selling to more clients in those markets and taking advantage of intra-regional trade initiatives.

That’s a change of tack after a two-year restructuring under chief executive and former J.P. Morgan banker Bill Winters, who has cut more than 15,000 jobs and axed business lines such as Asian equities, according to Reuters.

After coming through the financial crisis relatively unscathed, StanChart ran into trouble when global commodity prices crashed and bad debts started to rise on its books. In response, the bank cut $1.6bn worth of annual revenue by removing sub-scale and unprofitable businesses, but the focus is now on restoring growth.

However, the bank will likely continue to steer clear of equities, a business line it mostly closed in 2015.


Global banks will implement their relocation plans early next year to guarantee they’re able to have new offices inside the European Union running by the time the U.K. exits. (Bloomberg)

Would modifying MiFID II keep the City of London competitive after Brexit? (The Banker)

Alex Pabon, one of four traders convicted of manipulating Libor in July 2016, is making progress in his battle for acquittal. (Quartz)

Citigroup has been shuffling its top investment banking brass, including a significant number of promotions. (Financial News)

Citigroup and BNP Paribas both dropped down a notch in the latest list of the world’s most systematically important banks, meaning they will have to hold less capital to compensate for their size and complexity. (FT)

As coders and conspiracy theorists are making millions trading digital currencies, the cryptocurrency boom has almost entirely eluded Wall Street, but J.P. Morgan’s former ECM boss wants to change that. (Financial Review)

J.P. Morgan may start helping clients to trade bitcoin futures, despite CEO Jamie Dimon’s criticism of the cryptocurrency. (WSJ)

Republican lawmakers who sped a tax bill through the U.S. House last week handed out plenty of goodies to Wall Street’s wealthiest. (Bloomberg)

Deep learning – a subset of machine learning – has many potential applications for Wall Street. (Winton)

Dan Loeb, the hedge fund manager and an advocate for charter schools, lectured New York City Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, one of the city’s highest-ranking black officials, for being “smug and satisfied” and failing to help “poor black kids.” (Bloomberg)

New York City is establishing guidelines to bring some legitimacy to coding schools after the industry was shaken by several unexpected closures and students were left jobless and in debt. (Bloomberg)

Asians tend to be notably absent at the highest levels of corporate America. (Bloomberg)

Photo credit: Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) via Flikr creative commons

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor

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