Christmas is coming and you might be inclined to talk to your family about your career. However, unless they also work in finance, there may not be not much point. Such is the suggestion of David Abrams, a Boston-based hedge fund manager who manages nearly $9bn at his fund, Abrams Capital.
Abrams addressed attendees at a New York conference last week and reflected that most parents have little to offer when it comes to advising on finance. "It's not about if your parents or mother-in-law have heard of the place you'll be working," he said. Instead of choosing somewhere to work based upon prestige and the slight chance that your mother might know it, Abrams advised choosing an employer based upon how well you get on with the, "half dozen people you'll be working with every day."
There's a pattern emerging here. Last month, Colm Kelleher, the global president of Morgan Stanley, described how his father, a country doctor in Ireland, found the size of his early bonuses "horrific" compared to the kind of pay a country doctor in Ireland was used to. There's no point even trying to massage or cap banking bonuses to the level someone like his father would find acceptable, concluded Kelleher; within reason, banks should just do their own thing.
While parents and siblings might have something meaningful to say about office politics and awkward managers, work conversations are nonetheless best avoided at approaching family occasions. Last year, Marty Chavez, co-head of the securities division at Goldman Sachs recalled how a guest at a Thanksgiving dinner asked, “Marty, how can you work for that company? How do you look at yourself in the mirror?" Chavez concluded that humans like to have someone to, "name and shame and blame," to make themselves feel better, and that bankers have been fulfilling this function of late. "This too shall pass," he figured.
If family outside finance is too far removed from - and too opposed to - the industry to be of much help, who can you turn to for assistance? Insiders, obviously. And if those insiders also happen to be members of your family, so much the better. At a Women in STEM event organised by Caixa Bank in London last week, the representative of one major U.S. private equity fund said she went into banking and then PE because she grew up immersed in finance. "There was never any question that this was what I would do." And if your family are country doctors or bank bashers?" she said. There are always the public utterances of people like Abrams. "I would not advise people doing what I did, which is entering the business knowing absolutely nothing," he said - although that doesn't seem to have hindered him much.
Separately, a former associate at Moelis & Co. in London has achieved a quite exceptional new job. Financial News reports that Sabina Virtosu, who previously spent 18 months at Moelis and two and a half years at HSBC, has just turned up at WeWork, the fast-growing New York provider of flexible office space which is receiving a $10bn investment from SoftBank. As, 'growth strategy and operations lead for Europe, Australia and Africa,' Virtosu will be responsible for driving 'expansion' across EMEA, says Financial News. In this way, she appears to have escaped an M&A boutique with a reputation for very long working hours and injected herself into a hip expansionary company where you can bring your pet to work. Who knew corporate development jobs could be so exciting?
Fund managers are protesting against global warming. Yan Swiderski, a fund manager blocked a busy London road near his Pimlico home the other week. “It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that.” (Financial Times)
Raj Hindocha, the former COO for research at Deutsche Bank, is joining UBS as UBS ramps up its Evidence Lab technology-based research platform. (Financial News)
Seven KPMG partners have left because of inappropriate behaviour, including sexual harassment, in the past four years. (Financial News)
The UK Financial Conduct Authority is trying to hire fewer people from Oxford and Cambridge. "We have started taking off educational venue but not educational achievement. We don’t see that this person was from Oxbridge and that person was from Kent. We just look at what they have achieved and then we test around competence." (Financial News)
Beware of Barclays in the event of a hard Brexit? "Its relatively greater exposure to volatile, capital-hungry investment banking remains problematic.” (Financial News)
SocGen is opening a Paris hub to clear derivatives in the EU. (Reuters)
J.P. Morgan wants to employ 200 technologists in Israel. (Bloomberg)
If you live five to six miles further away from the job you're applying to than rival applicants, you will receive fewer callbacks. (HBR)
Brexit-supporting hedge funds are shorting the British economy. For example, Odey Asset Management has taken out £436m worth of declared short positions against British companies, of which nearly £150m are consumer-facing entities. (Guardian)
Hedge fund managers who are buying a house under-perform, particularly if the house is a big one. (Barrons)
Beware the brogrammer tech firms. 'Heavy drinking, colleagues fire large foam darts at her while she is working and try to one-up each other.' (Financial Times)
Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: email@example.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.
Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)