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Morning Coffee: Ex-banking VP discovers true horror of salaries outside finance. Crazy ol' life of Tidjane Thiam

The, 'I was there when Lehman Brothers went down,' stories are coming in thick and fast. The Financial Times has them, Bloomberg has them, even AOL. One of the best though is buried within the FT's repository. It is a tale of toilets (washrooms) that went uncleaned, of staff buying up all the sweets from the vending machines, and of the realization that many other jobs pay nothing even vaguely close to banking compensation packages.

Kaori Shigiya was a vice president (VP) at Lehman Brothers. This was 10 years ago, but as a reminder, second year VPs are now earning close to £300k ($392k) and five years ago they were earning close to £260k ($340k), so £225k was a probable sort of pay figure for Shigiya in 2008. When her boss imparted the "worst news", Shigiya says she and her colleagues went to the pub and drank vodka and tonics. For the next month they went into work anyway as they'd been told they might get paid if they did, but they sat there updating their CVs and using dirty toilets because the cleaners had realized they weren't getting paid and were no longer attending to the filth. In the stress, Shigiya started grinding her teeth.

Eventually, she moved to Nomura. But it wasn't the same. After (another) six years in the industry, Shigiya appended herself to her passion for sustainability and took at job as a financial sector policy advisor at Oxfam. She also took the mother of all pay cuts.

"My salary was lower than my secretary's salary had been in the City," says Shigiya. "It was lower than my own salary had been in 17 years."

The average salary in the U.K. is around £28k. In the U.S. it's around $45k. Both are far below the amount you will earn as a first year graduate trainee (analyst) in a front office banking job. If you leave banking mid-career, there's therefore a fair chance you could find yourself earning less than you did aged 22, when you'd just left university.

Of course, it may still be worthwhile getting out. "When you work in the City, you get used to the money," says  Shigiya. "And if you don't have a strong reason to change, it's tempting to stay because you get paid so well. Without the external shock of the crisis, I could easily have stayed there longer, getting increasingly disillusioned and unhappy."

Separately, Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse, has been reflecting on his wild past. “In my first year at Credit Suisse I did take 250 flights -- that was a crazy time,” said Thiam in a weekend interview with Swiss newspaper Sonntag, which has been widely reported elsewhere. Thiam also declared that he's renounced the UK and moved to Zurich: "Switzerland is now my home, it’s a great country, and I feel good here. I have given up my home in London.” He'll be hoping CS bankers are equally ready to move to Luxembourg, Paris or Frankfurt when the time comes.


Having Lehman on your CV can be a bonus. "“I thought it would be a bad thing....[but]..It is witnessing history . . . In interviews people always want to find out about it.”  (Financial Times) 

HSBC bankers have written a letter complaining bitterly about the incompetence of their boss, Robin Phillips, whom they want to be fired. “We are entirely fed up and demoralised, and have no confidence at all in the existing leadership...Robin Phillips and the existing management team should be immediately shown the door and their bonuses should be clawed back because they have been paid under totally false pretences..."  (Financial News)

Deutsche Bank is looking at moving 75% its estimated €600bn capital back home to Germany over a three to five year period. After radically shrinking and ring-fencing the UK business , it could be left with fewer assets than Deutsche's U.S. holding company. ECB supervisors have told Deutsche’s top executives that a UK branch should be limited to serving corporates and retail customers in the host country, rather than exporting investment banking services across the globe. (Financial Times) 

Deutsche Bank's supervisory board unanimously agreed to extend Garth Ritchie's contract for five years. (Handelsblatt) 

Deutsche Bank is still letting go of senior people. - Greg Bunn, a co-head of the prime finance business, is leaving. Peter Selman, head of equities says he's trying to build a super efficient business with a tightly constrained budget.  (Bloomberg) 

The longer Jamie Dimon hangs around, the greater the chances that Marianne Lake will become CEO of J.P. Morgan (mostly because she is younger than the other contenders). (Financial Times) 

CDOs and subprime auto lease asset backed securities are making a comeback. (Bloomberg) 

Take the test: How much do you know about quantum computing? (BCG) 

AQR Capital Management has appointed a head of machine learning for the first time in its two-decade history. It's hired Marcos Lopez de Prado, among other things author of the textbook, "Advances in Financial Machine Learning.” (Bloomberg) 

The hideous life of Mark Wahlberg: '2.30am: wake up. 2.45am: prayer time. 3.15am: breakfast. 3.40-5.15am: workout. 5.30am: post-workout meal. 6am: shower. 7.30am: golf. 8am: snack. 9.30am: cryo chamber recovery. 10.30am: snack. 11am: family time/meetings/ work calls. 1pm: lunch. 2pm: meetings/work calls. 3pm: pick up kids. 3.30pm: snack. 4pm: workout #2. 5pm: shower. 5.30pm: dinner/family. 7.30pm: bed.” (The Times) 

The idea look for a female news reader: “Stereotypically heteronormative, not overly sexy, and predictable.” (Instyle) 

I’m a natural-born leader,” a date once proclaimed, before reminding me for the third time that he worked at Goldman Sachs. (Quartz) 

Nightmare of being a mother at Facebook: ‘When I told Facebook that I wanted to work from home part-time, the human resources department was firm: you can’t work from home, you can’t work part-time and you can’t take extra unpaid leave.” (The Times) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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