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Morning Coffee: When 30-year-old compliance staff still live with their parents. Christian Sewing's big break

You can make good money working in compliance. If you make it to senior manager in compliance monitoring or compliance advisory you will be on a salary of well over £100k ($127k). In the less likely instance that you become regional head of compliance, you could be on a salary of £400k ($507k).  

But not everyone is regional manager and hardly anyone is regional head. The most recent salary guide from recruitment firm Ranstad found that compliance monitoring managers in London are on salaries closer to £65k. Analysts and associates in the control room are on £30k to £45k.

This is still ok money. The median salary in London is £34k, so banks' more junior compliance professionals are earning more than the average guy. However, they are earning less than train drivers, most recruiters, and most people who can code in Python with any competence. Most importantly, they are earning a lot less than junior bankers and small fractions of the amounts paid to the traders they're likely keeping an eye upon.

This has got to grate. Particularly if, after six years of working in compliance, you are still living with your parents aged around 31.

None of this excuses the activities of Fabiana Abdel-Malek, the UBS compliance officer who this week has been found guilty of insider trading and sent to prison for three years, but it might help explain them. Bloomberg reports that despite being 'six years into a promising career as a UBS compliance officer,' Abdel-Malek was still living with her parents and two sisters.  

Abdel-Malek's head was turned by now 40-year-old Walid Choucair, a day trader who liked spending thousands on three-litre bottles of champagne at exclusive Mayfair club Tramp and who invited she and her Chanel handbag along too. 

In court, Abdel-Malek denied that she would jeopardize her career for a whiff of glamor. But when you're working long days around very highly-remunerated people with a reputation for conspicuous consumption and still living at home in your 30s, it's not difficult to see why it might happen. Maybe banks need to pay their compliance staff even more? Or maybe they need to devise a personality test so that they only hire highly principled people with no interest in status or material goods?

Separately, Deutsche Bank's Christian Sewing has been cut some slack. Despite predictions that Deutsche Bank would fail the U.S. Federal Reserve's stress test again, it passed. Bloomberg reports that under Sewing the bank has, 'devoted significant resources to its capital-planning process and stepped up how it’s been handling some supervisory issues,' both areas of deficiency in the past. 

Deutsche's tabula rasa is good news for Sewing and good news for anyone who feared the U.S. business was about to be closed down altogether. The spotlight is now on Credit Suisse instead, which was pulled out because the Fed wasn't happy about the way it was forecasting trading losses in a downturn. Credit Suisse is not allowed to increase payments from its U.S. company to its parent in Switzerland until this has been resolved. 


The 44 year-old hedge fund manager at the helm of Tiger Global Management was born into wealth and helicopters into the office. The average age at the fund is 32 and staff photos look like college students on a hiking trip. (Bloomberg) 

When your father is a banker who end up working for Goldman Sachs, even though you vowed you never would, only to leave just as the job starts getting easy. (Medium) 

Stephen Dainton restructured Barclays' global markets business. There's a new 12 person management group comprised of: Nas Al-Khudairi, head of electronic; Fater Belbachir, head of equities; Rich Cunningham, head of SRM; Mark Dearlove, head of markets Asia; Scott Eichel, head of securitized products; Andrew Kellner, head of Financial Resource Management (FRM); Adeel Khan, head of credit; David Lohuis, head of financing; Michael Lublisky, head of macro; Jeff Meli, head of research. (Business Insider) 

JPMorgan's new digital bank seems to have failed after disputes with its old retail bank. "JPMorgan is sitting on 50 years of COBOL and Fortran." (Business Insider)

Everyone's got an AI factory. The latest to set one up is Spain's BBVA, which is creating a 150-person data factory outside Madrid. (Finextra) 

Morgan Stanley applied AI to its own analysts' notes and worked out what they were really thinking. (CNBC)

The robots may take over — but for a certain class of moneyed titan, the beaches will always remain topless, the drinks bottomless and high-end schmoozing will never die. (New York Times) 

In the old says of advertising, deals were won by racing clients over 12 miles even when you were incredibly unfit, and women were hired to wear hotpants in the lobby. (WSJ) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • To
    16 July 2019

    "maybe they need to devise a personality test so that they only hire highly principled people with no interest in status or material goods"

    I suspect this would be found discriminatory against cultures where it's the norm to disregard principles for status and material goods. Fabiana Abdel-Malek would have quite the lawsuit against her English hosts.

  • de
    demure angel
    28 June 2019

    What's wrong with living with parents? I was head of originations in my early 30s, married with children, and my family lived with my parents. It's not all that uncommon in Asia.

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