Morning Coffee: 45-year-old banking analyst issues embarrassing report. The danger of micro-dosing LSD before client meetings
Martin Enlund should have known better. At 45 years-old, he's not your average 22-year-old analyst battling exhaustion after an excruciating week. Enlund is the sort of analyst who has grown into the title writing weighty market research for 16 years. He's also the "chief analyst" at Nordea in Stockholm, so his analysis is presumably the sort of thing all Nordea's juniors aspire to.
And yet Enlund and his 30-something colleague, Andreas Steno Larsen, seem to have gone a bit rogue. Last weekend, the two men slipped out a report expressing their disapproval of the kinds of lockdowns for the unvaccinated that have been introduced in Austria and complaining - among other things - that people who eschew vaccines are being treated like "untermensch" - the derogatory term used by Nazis for non-Aryan people.
“It used to be ‘two weeks to flatten the curve,’ but somehow it has developed to ‘imprison the unvaccinated (or worse)’,” went the note. "The vaccine is apparently so good that you need to force people into taking it.” Enlund and Steno Larsen also suggested that booster shots might increase transmission of the virus.
The note was spotted by a member of the Finnish parliament who suggested on Twitter that Nordea appeared to have hired conspiracy theorists to write it. The bank was shamed into taking it down and has issued a statement saying the note “unfortunately missed the mark” in its communication.
The requisite sort of investigation is underway, but the truth of the matter is that anyone familiar with the works of Enlund and Steno Larsen would have found it in keeping with their oeuvre. - The Biden administration was formerly accused by the two of scapegoating the unvaccinated. On Twitter, Steno Larsen suggested that because vaccines do very little to reduce transmission then Corona passports without testing are "100% senseless."
It's not clear whether Enlund and Steno Larsen are still working for Nordea after the furor - the bank isn't commenting and neither man has been answering his phone. The moral of the story might be that research needs to be careful edited with an eye to reputational damage before it goes out - but as the top people in the research team, Enlund and Steno Larsen would probably have been the most senior editors anyway. The other learning, therefore, is that people who've worked in banks for too long and achieved too much authority need to be kept a careful eye on, as they might start to think they can do whatever they like and act with impunity. This is what compliance is for.
Separately, if an "entrepreneur" suggests to you that small doses of LSD might do wonders for your concentration and wellbeing, and if you follow this up with your own research confirming that LSD can reduce stress and improve focus, then do not presume that taking acid before a client presentation is a good idea.
It's not clear whether bankers have discovered the advantages of micro dosing LSD, but it's become a thing among Silicon Valley types. Bloomberg describes how Justin Zhu, a 31-year-old technology CEO with a $2bn start-up, decided to drop a small amount of acid ahead of an investor meeting after going through the discovery process above.
"When he tried to walk the potential investors through a series of financial projections, Zhu looked at the screen and saw numbers and images swelling and shrinking, making them impossible to discern," says Bloomberg. "His body felt as if it were melting away." He swigged some tea and pressed ahead, but the investment wasn't forthcoming. Zhu was demoted as a result.
Barclays is all over prime broking. “We view prime services as a big opportunity and are investing heavily in the business,” says co-head of equities, Paul Leech. “We’re expecting to grow market share, and in order to provide the same level of client support, we need to continue to expand our resources to support that growth.” Headcount in the business is up 10% this year. (Financial News)
Citigroup is splitting up the operations and technology units in its investment bank. Stuart Riley will manage tech. Allison Szmulewicz is operations head on an interim basis. (Reuters)
One in ten people are considering giving up their jobs in the next six months and earning money from social media, e-commerce of trading platforms. They are mostly working in information technology, finance, engineering or manufacturing. (Bloomberg)
Liam Porritt, 26, a Clifford Chance trainee solicitor, is a hit with GenZ on YouTube, where he talks about what it's like to work in big law. (Porrit also has a video about what it's like to work in big banking). City law firms don't seem to mind. Porritt says he can make videos “without them reviewing the script in detail and negotiating what I can and can’t say. At the end of the day it’s on me, if I did anything that negatively impacted me, my job or CC [Clifford Chance]." (Financial Times)
Moelis & Co. is expanding in Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg)
Do not talk about Peppa Pig in your client presentation. “There is unease in the City about Boris Johnson’s state of mind and grip on the role of PM.” (Financial News)
Shiba Inu was up 18% for Thanksgiving. (Decrypt)
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