Morning Coffee: Why six months in an Arctic cabin will benefit your finance career. Goldman Sachs to get clinical

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It's become a thing to intone against the perils and unnecessity of going into a finance job too soon. Lloyd Blankfein had plenty to say on the subject as CEO of Goldman Sachs and recently Dane Holmes, Goldman's head of human capital management has been saying something similar. "Your career often follows an unpredictable path," said Holmes last week. "...loosen up just a bit and enjoy the journey." Basically, chill.

One finance professional who did just that is Yngve Slyngstad. Now aged 55 and earning $800k a year as head of one of the world's largest funds (of which more below), Slyngstad had more than the average gap year. After leaving university and before going into finance, Slyngstad took four years off. The Financial Times says he spent them 'on the road', shifting from Patagonia to New York to Alaska, and from Alexandria to Cape Town. The road trip culminated in six months spent alone in an Arctic cabin, where Slyngstad read German philosophy and presumably grew a small beard.

Three decades later, Slyngstad is chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management, which overseas Norway's $1 trillion, and he's pretty relaxed. He books all his own flights, arranges all his own meetings and isn't overly concerned about the fact that he's earning $800k while other portfolio managers with funds a fraction the size of the one he oversees are on multiples of his pay. - If anything, Slyngstad says he's paid too much because his job - which involves investing for the Norwegian population and operating at the intersection of finance and politics is the, "most interesting."

Having spent most of his career in Norway, Slyngstad presumably hasn't ever applied to work for Goldman Sachs, but his attitude does seem to be what Lloyd Blankfein was referring to when he said, "To succeed, you have to be a complete person. In the early part of your life you should focus a lot on being a complete person.” Four years travelling and six months with philosophy books in an Arctic cabin in your early 20s may not be as remunerative as 80 hour weeks on an analyst programme, but it will at least give you perspective. With even Goldman Sachs urging students to stop seeing life as a race and to explore, cabin-time (or its equivalent) may ultimately benefit the pursuit of a finance career.

Separately, there's been another reference to Goldman Sachs' coming 'front to back review' of its businesses. Stephen Scherr, who started as CFO yesterday, said Goldman plans a thorough review of each business line by next spring. “We’re looking at . . . what is the revenue potential for these businesses and against that looking at what the expense base is . . . and then coming to an assessment very clinically on whether that business is meeting its cost of capital,” said Scherr, ominously.


Goldman Sachs says it's already generated $2.5bn of the extra $5bn of revenues it's targeting, and that it may be able to do even better. (CNBC)

Harvard MBAs on $160k starting pay. (Poets and Quants) 

Why Goldman Sachs is great for young people who want to be entrepreneurs. "Because I was surrounded by people who also had the same vision of working for themselves and doing their own thing, we kind of willed it into existence." (Business Insider) 

John Dugan, 63, a former bank regulator and former lawyer to the Citigroup board who became a Citigroup director, is becoming Citigroup's chairman. (NY Post) 

Citi named 45 year-old Philip Drury head of its EMEA advisory business. (Reuters) 

James Bardrick, the head of Citigroup’s UK arm says the bank (along with others is spending far too long on Brexit):"One of my biggest concerns is about the sheer amount of time and energy and the bandwidth of people involved [in planning for Brexit] at our firms, at the regulators and policymakers....We should be looking forward, and out thinking about how not just technology, but also globalisation and the changing demographics in the world and the rise of mass affluence on Asia, how is that changing the way that we provide and deliver financial services.” (Financial News) 

Barclays began building its 2,500 person technology campus in Glasgow. (ScottishConstruction) 

It's a bad time to work in UK private equity. - Carlyle has pared back investment in the UK following the country's decision to exit the EU because of uncertainty over the terms of Brexit. (Financial Times)

Never eat a slug. (SF Gate) 

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