Morning Coffee: Male Wall Streeters' guilty habit is growing. Bankers fear Corbyn ‘Armageddon’

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Banker strip clubs

While Wall Street is no longer known as the old boys’ club that it once was, some bankers are apparently having issue changing at least one habit commonly associated with male-dominated banking world of yesteryear. A new version of the gentleman’s club is back in vogue, and bankers seem to be the ones keeping it afloat.

The Rosewood Theater, a high-end Manhattan strip club known for attracting Wall Street clientele, has been so popular during its first year that it’s planning to open pop-up clubs in four other cities in 2019, according to Bloomberg. The report found that corporate expense accounts still make up roughly 10% of revenue for the live adult entertainment industry. Whether bankers are dropping their corporate cards and bringing clients or not, they’ve apparently been lining the walls at Rosewood, which serves roughly 150 customers per night.

Meanwhile, a group of traders in London can’t seem to fight off the same habit. Just last month, mining and metals traders attending their annual industry get-together flocked to strip club Stringfellows, which waived the entrance fee for anyone who mentioned the conference at the door. Like in years past, Gerald Metals threw its annual party for clients at the Playboy Club, where waitresses adorned in satin leotards are known to dance with guests.

Last month in France, the European Commodities Exchange hosted an after-dinner cabaret show featuring women “wearing little else besides rhinestone-studded thongs and bras,” according to Bloomberg. Traders who attended the October gala, which was part of the official program of the conference, posted photos and videos of half-naked dancing women to social media.

Investment banks and brokerage firms cracked down on company-paid or work-related strip club jaunts more than a decade ago, so the corporate card is likely out. But in at least some cases, that hasn't stopped the habit.

Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Theresa’s May’s Brexit deal already appears in danger of unraveling. If the deal is rejected – a clear possibility after several of her ministers resigned on Thursday – May could be ousted. Waiting in the wings is Jeremy Corbyn, the socialist-leaning head of the Labour Party who said banks would be right to see him as a “threat.” A combination of the two – a hard no-deal Brexit and Corbyn coming into power – would spell “Armageddon” for the banking industry, according to one equities trader.

Meanwhile:

Billions of dollars in paper losses piled up on Thursday following the resignation of May’s ministers. Royal Bank of Scotland shares were down more than 9% in afternoon trading. Barclays and Lloyd’s Banking Group got crushed as well. (Financial News)

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said he was “personally outraged” with the behavior of former employees who were allegedly involved in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB bribery scandal. He told Goldman staff in a company-wide voicemail that the “reprehensible” actions shouldn’t undermine “the good work and integrity that defines work that 40,000 of you do every day.” (Bloomberg)

Credit Suisse is considering cutting hundreds of jobs to help meet expense targets. Or maybe it isn’t. “The notion that we are weighing hundreds of active job cuts is unfounded,” a spokesperson said of the Bloomberg report after initially declining comment. “In 2019 and beyond we will continue to invest in talent as we aim to further grow revenues in our Wealth Management and Investment Banking businesses.” So, maybe they’re actively hiring? (Reuters)

“Whether it was poor decision-making or an absence of decision-making, Facebook’s problems ultimately trace back to just two people: [CEO Mark] Zuckerberg and [COO Sheryl] Sandberg.” Neither appears to be going anywhere. (Recode)

For New York bankers who eventually want to join their brethren living on the gold coast in Connecticut, you may want to save a bit more and spend a bit less. Wells Fargo just surprisingly increased its minimum down payment for homebuyers in Connecticut’s Fairfield County from its standard 20% to 25%, citing the state’s wealthiest area as “distressed” without commenting further. (Bloomberg)

“The worst thing that can happen to you is you get a job at Google,” Michael Seibel, the head of a startup incubator Y Combinator, told 2,200 engineering students attending a hackathon. He then called jobs with big tech firms “$100,000-a-year welfare,” suggesting that engineers that take them get shackled by the paycheck and don’t take risks. The next speaker was a recruiter from the event’s sponsor: Microsoft. ““So, Michael’s a tough guy to follow,” he said. Awkward…(NY Times)

Bitcoin is ice cold. After falling 10% on Thursday alone, the price of the cryptocurrency sits at a yearly low. (WSJ)

A commercial featuring Elton John hawking pianos shouldn’t be great, but it is. (NPR)

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