The end of the pandemic, when it comes, will only be identifiable with hindsight. But perhaps a sign that we are nearing the start of the ‘return to normal’ period has to be that once again, David Solomon plays live DJ sets. And once again the gossip columnists are be sarcastic about it, looking for quotes to illustrate the not-so-surprising news that although the CEO of Goldman Sachs was booked for the BottleRock Festival in California, he wasn’t the biggest actor there. They even still call him “DJ D-Sol” when in fact he released some music under his own name for a while now.
The New York Post made an attempt at moral outrage, suggesting that Goldman employees were “ranting” that the BottleRock Festival was held in September. At that time, Goldman was adjusting its return-to-office policy to cope with the Delta variant and barring unvaccinated employees from its offices, and BottleRock’s lack of a vaccination policy would have been an affront to Goldman’s sensitivity. As far as we can say of Instagram harassment, the affront was not so deep. Most comments on Solomon’s thread are either congratulations, trolling other FINsta accounts, or opportunists asking if he’s going to give them a job.
This isn’t the first time that Solomon’s DJing activities have sparked minor conflicts: in July 2020, he DJed at a Hampton party where there were reportedly insufficient social distancing. It is technologically possible to play a DJ set on a live stream – David Guetta did, for example. But one could also argue that this is a poor substitute for reality and that serious musicians should establish direct contact with their clients. They benefit from the interplay of new ideas in casual conversations while lining up for coffee, and at the very least, the younger generation of EDM disc jockeys have to learn their skills. A bit like the bank in fact.
Separately, it seems that even in an incredible year for transactions, the highest paid employees on the streets may not be bankers after all. Commodity trading is often overlooked, in part because so many of the big players are secret private companies like Gunvor, but commodity trading houses have a reputation for paying very well even in normal times. And with oil and gas shortages driving prices higher, it looks like commodity-focused hedge funds like Andurand are doing extremely well, even by last year’s high standards.
Can it last? Big banks are already dropping customers in the oil and gas industry because they are just too boring a regulatory and ESG. The founders of Tudor Pickering Holt, the boutique bank that dominated the shale oil boom, decided it was time to retire. There will still be big bonuses on commodities for a long time to come, and many oil and gas traders seem to be turning to trading carbon credits. But, especially if you are young, it might not be a good idea to tie your career to what might be a dying industry.
During this time…
JPM has tightened policies so that unvaccinated bankers are banned from business travel and prevented from attending face-to-face meetings and will have to pay for COVID tests twice a week. It sounds like how the whole industry is gradually changing. (Business intern)
Ken Griffin believes young people are making a big mistake in working from home, missing out on career development opportunities. Perhaps a little controversial, he says workers in China are doing much better, returning “literally since almost the start of the pandemic.” Maybe if he really wants to reach young people, he needs a new identity as “DJ K-Griff” or something like that. Of course, the ideal musical alias for him would be “Kenny G” but this one is taken. (Bloomberg)
Analysis of key relationship at the top of Credit Suisse, noting that Antonio Horta-Osorio may need Thomas Gottstein for his knowledge of investment banking and wealth management, and to help him integrate into society Swiss – apparently they are not impressed with the knights. There is also speculation as to whether the medium term strategy is a transformational merger, possibly with Unicredit or Deutsche Bank? (Finews)
Large corporate clients have increasingly written into their contracts with law firms that they can withhold 10 to 15% of their fees if the legal teams that serve them do not meet diversity goals. Several of them are doing it now. Could they start saying the same to their bankers? (Bloomberg)
From Bank of America to JP Morgan and debt capital markets to lending – an unusual shift for Marcus Hiseman, who becomes head of corporate banking in the EMEA region for JPM (Financial news)
Deutsche Bank has dropped “a very small number” of wealth management clients with criminal records in the Jeffery Epstein scandal, presumably being a little more tactful than saying it precisely in those terms. Stefan Simon agreed that some competitors have been a bit faster in this regard than Deutsche, which raises the interesting question of who is banking these risky clients now. (FT)
Vincent Vandenbroucke will join Citi as “head of prime brokerages consulting”, which seems to be a job similar to the one he did at Credit Suisse when he was called “head of capital introduction and prime consulting”. The CS prime brokerage franchise has obviously had a difficult time, but it is still a bit surprising to see seniors leaving so late in the year. (Bloomberg)
If you’ve ever wondered “why is Goldman Sachs important?” », Here is an article explaining, in anthropological terms, the functioning of its alumni network and how the values of the firm are brought to the heart of governments. (Perspective)
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