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Morning Coffee: Ex-Goldman women's advice to nervy male bankers. BlackRock is a tech company

Bloomberg set fire to Wall Street first thing Monday morning when it published an article highlighting how male bankers who are fearful of potential ramifications from the #MeToo movement have begun adopting a controversial strategy: “avoid women at all costs.” Interviews with more than two dozen Wall Street executives suggest that some male bankers are “walking on eggshells” – avoiding one-on-one meetings with female reports and altering business travel arrangements, among many other examples. One wealth adviser even said that hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.”

A quartet of former Goldman Sachs employees currently working for Mayor de Blasio has fired back, calling the reactions “sickening” and a major restriction on women’s ability to succeed on Wall Street. The letter was penned by former Goldman Sachs executive and current deputy mayor for housing and economic development Alicia Glen, along with three colleagues who also happened to be former Goldmanites.

“Men in these firms should be required to break bread with female colleagues -- especially the up-and-coming ones of whom the men in the article were so afraid,” they wrote. “Because so many major career conversations take place during casual interactions like grabbing a coffee or a beer or going to karaoke, it has never been more important to ensure women are ‘in the room where it happens.’”

They offered a few suggestions, including cross-gender mentorships and encouraging more respect for female leaders. They also made the business case for banks ridding themselves of men who are incapable of having dinner alone with a woman “without making fools of themselves,” calling them a financial and cultural liability. “Would you trust a man who doesn’t trust himself to be alone with a woman with millions of dollars in investments or leading a major business division?” they wrote.

As the former head of its urban investment group, Glen was a major voice at Goldman Sachs. We’ll see if the letter will reverberate around the halls of investment banks and other financial firms like the initial Bloomberg report.

Elsewhere, BlackRock acknowledged that roughly one-quarter of its employees work as technologists, a larger percentage than at J.P. Morgan. The world’s biggest asset manager is spending around $1 billion annually on technology and data, according to Business Insider. But unlike its rivals, BlackRock has a true revenue generator in Aladdin, its investment management platform that it leases to competitors. Tech services make up 6% of the firm’s total revenue but the segment increased 18% year-on-year during the third quarter.


Daniel Och, the billionaire founder of Och-Ziff Capital Management, is stepping back from the firm. He and several former managing directors plan to sell 35% of their shares to current executive managing directors. Investors seem OK with the move. The stock was up 25% on Thursday after tumbling 58% over the last year. (WSJ)

Citi has named John Chirico and Kevin Cox as co-heads of its newly combined investment banking and capital markets division in North America. The bank also appointed Jan Metzger and Eduardo Cruz to similar roles overseeing APAC and Latin America, respectively. (Bloomberg)

London-based M&A advisor Andrea Partners has hired former Deutsche Bank dealmaker Nigel Robinson. The advisory boutique was launched by four former Goldman Sachs bankers in 2016. (Financial News)

The continuous plunge of cryptocurrency prices is starting to claim more victims than just investors. Coin developers and other software companies in the crypto community are facing a funding crunch, and some are now laying off large percentages of their staff and even shutting their doors. (Bloomberg)

Deutsche Bank has named Vathany Vijayaratna its new global head of fixed income structuring. The appointment is particularly noteworthy considering the division’s leadership has been historically dominated by men. (Financial News)

Mizuho International, the London securities and investment banking arm of the Japanese firm, has cut an unknown number of jobs within its capital markets business over the last week. Among the casualties is senior DCM banker David Rudd, who led the business in the U.K. (Global Capital)

Who said sanctions don’t offer any positives? Under a 2012 agreement with U.S. prosecutors over money laundering allegations, HSBC agreed to house a federally-appointed monitor to look out for suspicious transactions. Over the years, the monitor flagged transactions in the accounts of Huawei Technologies and relayed them to federal prosecutors, who arrested Huawei chief financial officer and daughter of the Chinese telecom giant’s founder earlier this month for alleged violations of Iran sanctions. HSBC isn’t accused of any wrongdoing, but previous alleged violations may have helped build a case against another firm. (WSJ)

J.P. Morgan feels the proposed 70-story tower that will become its new headquarters isn’t quite big enough for its needs. The bank is pushing back on a requirement to provide 10,000 sq. ft. of public space as part of the zoning agreement. J.P. Morgan argued that, due to the fact the block sits over a large train shed, it will be losing foundation and basement space. The local land use committee was quick to rebuff the appeal. JPM will have to settle for the other 2.5 million sq. ft. (Crain’s New York)

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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • An
    8 December 2018

    Ironically the letter to Bloomberg, although arguing the opposite, shows how justified men who are wary in the workplace are. A lot of men do have legitimate fears about being caught up in allegation which are either false, misinterpreted, exaggerated, or embellished or fabricated by HR departments, and which may well end up in the media. They worry that they will suffer life changing damage if accused, whether or not they have actually done anything, and that any allegations will not be looked at fairly because firms will want to be seen to be ‘taking all allegations of harassment extremely seriously’. In the circumstances, men can hardly be blamed for being wary, and legitimate fears should not be confused with discrimination.

    There is a narrative which seeks to blame men for everything, of which the signatories of this letter are a part, and if men who speak out about their fears of being sexually harassed by false accusation or mishandled investigations are treated in this way, then it is hardly surprising that so few men do speak out.

    Most people would understand the legitimate wariness men might feel, and instead of victim-blaming, a better use of the signatories’ and the New York City Mayor’s offices’ time would be to take the concerns being expressed by men on board and come up with ways about how men can safely
    interact with women without being falsely accused or subject to unfair investigations. That means that, where necessary, they need to criticise accusers who make false allegations or allege harassment over trivial incidents. The letter completely misunderstands the point that it is not the
    case that men don’t trust themselves, but they don’t trust that they won’t be accused of something even if they have done nothing wrong, and that if they are accused, they don’t trust that any investigatory process will be fair. It is not men who worry about being sexually harassed which is sickening, but the failure of Glen, Green, Rodriguez and Velani to understand these legitimate concerns. The fact that they can only respond to these harassment claims by engaging in inappropriate behaviour suggests that it is perhaps they who are cultural liabilities.

  • Sc
    7 December 2018

    Well, let the BBs continue with this over the top feminist bs and watch all the talent go to and thrive at the entrepreneurial boutiques which focus on results and allow their employees to focus on what actually matters the most; client service.

  • di
    7 December 2018

    Alicia Glen and colleagues write: . “Would you trust a man who doesn’t trust himself to be alone with a
    woman with millions of dollars in investments or leading a major business division?”

    The point IS:

    I trust myself implicitly. It is the other party that I can't trust.

    "Nervy" male bankers?? They are precisely the ones who won't read this article. "Nervous" male bankers likely will.

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