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Morning Coffee: BAML’s traders granted extended Christmas breaks. Gary Cohn says he tried

How about a month-long sabbatical for Christmas?

If you’ve ever wanted up and leave your banking job for a month and a half, then you’re hoping that this new pilot program catches on: Bank of America Merrill Lynch will offer paid sabbaticals to some of its staff.

In addition to vacation time, veteran employees of BofA’s global banking and markets division will soon be able to take off four weeks of paid leave on their 10-year anniversary and every five years after that. On their 20th anniversary, they can take off five weeks, and on their 35th anniversary, they’re entitled to a six-week sabbatical.

The idea is to use the time away from the bank for philanthropy, traveling, resting and recharging, as well as spending time with family, according to Charlotte Business Journal.

Now that the new sabbatical program has gone into effect just in time for Christmas, BofA will likely be flooded with requests from traders and investment bankers for additional paid leave. Financial services professionals everywhere will be watching closely and hoping that their employer follows suit and creates a similar program.

Separately, when private equity hedge fund managers talk, Washington politicians (whose campaigns depend on funding from the financial sector) listen.

White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, formerly Lloyd Blankfein’s right-hand man at Goldman Sachs, said the administration failed in its attempt to cut the carried-interest tax loophole for private equity and hedge fund managers even though it was one of President Trump’s key campaign promises.

"We would have cut carried interest," Cohn said what was the one change he would make to the tax reform bill, according to CNBC. "We probably tried 25 times. We hit opposition in that big white building with the dome at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue every time we tried. It is just the reality of the political system."

Carried interest, the money manager's cut of the fund's profit, is taxed at the lower capital gains tax rate, while profit in other professions is taxed at the higher ordinary income rate. Trump promised to eliminate this loophole, saying hedge fund managers were "getting away with murder."

However, Cohn said that the hedge fund and private equity lobby was too strong to overcome.

"The reality of this town is that constituency [hedge funds and private equity] has a very large presence in the House and the Senate. They have really strong relationships on both sides of the aisle. We just didn't have the support on carried interest."

Hedge fund managers and PE professionals are relieved that the Washington, D.C. swamp remains intact.


The F.D.I.C. found that four banks’ living wills have shortcomings: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. (New York Times)

“An analyst has three roles: (1) know the industry you cover and its dynamics, (2) know a company’s business model inside and out, and (3) be a great stock picker.” (Business Insider)

Regulators will grant financial firms a six-month delay in implementing part of the sweeping MiFID II overhaul of rules that are set to take effect on Jan. 3., as both companies and countries struggle to meet the deadline. (Bloomberg)

Theresa May told Parliament that the next phase of Brexit talks will convince the EU that it needs the City of London financial district to remain strong as she committed to fighting to protect its status as a global finance center. (Bloomberg)

Big foreign investment banks face a tougher regulatory regime in the EU under European Commission proposals the to bring them under the direct control of the European Central Bank. (Reuters)

The BOE will give big European investment and commercial banks an easy way to stay in London once Britain quits the EU, offering them the same terms that big U.S. and Swiss banks get. (WSJ)

The U.K.’s plan to leave the EU has thrown up an opportunity to help foster a more competitive financial services industry in Lithuania, which is making special accommodations for fintech firms. (Bloomberg)

“Investment banking and capital markets remains a core part of Credit Suisse and we can see a path to better profitability,” says Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam. (Euromoney)

This banker was tasked with counting 1.2 million coins, and it took him six months to do so. (Fortune)

The global bond market isn’t going quietly into the New Year, and fixed income traders and DCM bankers have taken notice. (Bloomberg)

There are perils to joining a venture-backed software startup. (Bloomberg)

Obscure firms, including juice-makers, gold miners and a designer of sports bras, have announced a corporate reinvention to the cryptocurrency or blockchain business, and such moves have paid huge dividends. (Bloomberg)

Bitcoin’s smaller cousins are outpacing the largest cryptocurrency’s gains since major U.S. exchanges started offering futures. (Bloomberg)

Coinbase Inc., one of the most popular U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, is investigating allegations of insider trading on its platform in the hours before the company announced it would enable purchases of the bitcoin spinoff known as bitcoin cash. (Bloomberg)

Women finally have enough collective power to do something about the issues that matter most to them. (Bloomberg)

Self-respect is uniquely correlated with assertive behavior. (British Psychological Society)

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Photo credit: gmast3r/GettyImages

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor

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