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Morning Coffee: Will you need to know coding for future banking jobs? It's complicated. Goldman Sachs' parochial star trader

Do you need to know how to code if you want to work in banking? It's the new perennial question that we've addressed here and here, but J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley have provided a more comprehensive answer: sort of.

You're clearly going to need to know how to code a bit. J.P. Morgan has begun teaching its junior asset managers and some of its junior bankers how to write code as part of their basic training - this year, 300 of the bank's asset management analysts and a third of its corporate and investment bank (CIB) trainees are receiving instruction in the coding way. “Coding is not for just tech people, it is for anyone who wants to run a competitive company in the 21st century,” says Mary Callahan Erdoes, head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Right then.

Except that, if you want a job as a trader or a portfolio manager you're not going to need to be the sort of highly accomplished coders' coder who might get a job in the JPM technology division. In her next breath, Erdoes explains that junior finance types don't need to know how to code so that they can actually write code for the bank's systems. They simply need to know how to code so that they can talk to the people who do. "By better understanding coding, our business teams can speak the same language as our technology teams, which ultimately drives better tools and solutions for our clients,” Erdoes says.

Knowing how to code if you're a finance professional is therefore like knowing a few phrases of French before you visit France - you're not aiming to be as proficient as native speakers, but you do want to make yourself understood when you're ordering a beer in a bar (or a tweak to a pricing tool).

A similar sentiment is being expressed at Morgan Stanley, where the bank is busy redesigning its offices with the sorts of brown leather sofas, stone floors, pouffes and semi-industrial aesthetic it thinks will appeal to "the next generation of the best and brightest." 9,000 "seats" have been upscaled so far (in New York, Houston, Frankfurt, Chicago, Glasgow, Budapest, London, Mumbai and Bangalore) and more are coming soon. Like J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley just wants its technology people and its traders to talk:  "Our traders need to be with our techies,” says the bank's head of technology. “You’ll see a very different trading floor in five years time than you see today.” If you work in trading, you need to learn the language now.

Separately, the most feted trader of the year at Goldman Sachs is not in London, talking to coders. Nor is he in New York. He's out in Calgary in the further reaches of Canada. Business Insider says Shane Lee, who runs Goldman's Calgary-based natural gas trading desk has managed a team which made $100m for the bank in the first half of the year. Lee, then, seems to have been an important contributor to Goldman's first half fixed income trading renaissance - although the bank's revenues were up $900m in total, so there were clearly some other contributors too.


Banks in London will have until 2022 to move trading jobs to Europe. - The European Central bank is giving them until this date to curtail their use of “back-to-back” trading models that would allow them to manage risk (and locate traders) in London and to simply process trades in the EU. (Financial Times) 

Credit Suisse hired Ben Lawrence from Deutsche Bank for its corporate broking team. Financial News) 

Average pay per partner at BDO, the UK's sixth largest accountancy firm, was £531k ($695k) for last year. This was more than the £519k KPMG paid its partners. (Financial Times) 

Why the Big Four firms might be made to spin out their consultancy arms in the UK: In 2017, the big four earned a total of £2.1bn from auditing but another £8.4bn from non-audit consultancy. Just over £1bn of that income came from firms they also audited. (Guardian) 

Goldman Sachs has cut its loan origination target for Marcus after new market data raised concerns about the stage in the credit cycle. (Business Insider) 

Goldman Sachs already has from six to 15 bankers in its new offices in Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas and Toronto as it seeks to win clients by going local. (CNBC) 

You probably don't want to be a trader for Louis Dreyfus right now. (Bloomberg) 

A senior Commerzbank compliance officer won a court case arguing that she was marginalized after returning from maternity leave. (PeopleManagement) 

Never let anyone know that you're exceptionally good at Excel.“People say, ’Oh, this is just a really quick thing. Then I look at it, and it’s not a quick thing.” (WSJ) 

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Photo: Getty

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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