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Morning Coffee: Complaining 24-year-old Goldman Sachs bankers face new reality. UBS CEO banned from using buzzwords

Times have changed in investment banking. After two years of pedal to the metal grinding, some junior bankers are twiddling their thumbs and others are being told their jobs no longer exist. Those in the latter category include members of Goldman's US TMT team, who not long ago complained bitterly about their working hours. 

For those who don't recall the history, mid-pandemic in May 2020, a group of Goldman's TMT analysts reportedly polled each other on the extent of their overwork and presented their findings to a Goldman partner, who allegedly told them that eating ramen noodles is a good way of feeding yourself when time is short. By the end of 2020, half of the second year TMT analysts had reportedly left the bank, leaving those who remained even more over-worked. In February 2021, the remaining analysts presented the results of the survey on working hours to senior staff in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. One month later, that PowerPoint leaked out for all the world to see, along with such comments as: "I didn't come into this job expecting a 9am to 5pms. But I also wasn't expecting consistent 9ams to 5ams either."

The presentation caused a furor, but the analysts involved - who never expected it to leak out - were humored rather than punished as Goldman set about hiring them some new colleagues, strengthening restrictions on working hours and increasing pay. 

In 2022, however, Goldman's US investment banking revenues are down 42% year-on-year according to Dealogic, and its M&A revenues are down 25%: conditions are not what they were.

In these new conditions, Business Insider reports that Goldman is busy cutting from precisely the team that produced the working hours presentation as it trims its bottom performers. Senior associates and vice presidents in the San Francisco technology media and telecoms (TMT) M&A team are being asked to leave. 

This is the team where Joey Coslet, one of the alleged protagonists behind the working hours presentation and the son of Jonathan Coslet, chief investment officer and vice chairman at global investment firm TPG Capital, worked. Joey Coslet himself left Goldman on August 23rd, according to his FINRA registration. He's likely off to private equity like his father, but some of his former colleagues who stayed at Goldman may not have been so lucky. At the very least, those colleagues may now be regretting producing the presentation decrying 100-hour working weeks; as budgets tighten, the pendulum is swinging against juniors who complain.

Separately, Ralph Hamers, the CEO of UBS likes to talk (a lot) about his passion for agile working practices, digital ecosystems and his broader purpose. But Colm Kelleher, the former Morgan Stanley bankers who turned up as UBS Chairman in April, has reportedly suggested that he ease off a bit.  The Financial Times reports that Kelleher, a 65-year-old Irishman who spent 30 years at MS has been teaching Hamers how to communicate with investors, who are far more interested in UBS's three year profit target. 

Meanwhile...

In Europe, most of Goldman's cuts seem to have been in ECM and leveraged finance. Not many people have been cut though: two ECM MDs were laid off in London and six junior staff. (Financial News) 

London bankers are positioned as the enemy again following last week's budget. (Guardian) 

London bankers are once again the bogeymen, but ironically they're likely to lose more than they gain. Role based allowances were pretty popular. (Financial Times) 

Further evidence of the effect of the EYU bonus cap on salaries: Citigroup awarded Paco Ybarra, the London-based head of its investment bank, $8.97m in fixed pay for last year, compared to a $750k salary for other top executives based in the US. (Bloomberg) 

Credit Suisse CEO Ulrich Koerner and Chairman Axel Lehmann tried to ease internal jitters with a memo promising a new strategic plan on October 27th. Not long now. (Reuters) 

Credit Suisse shares hit a new loss this Friday. They're down 50% this year. (Financial Times) 

Credit Suisse shares are trading at less than 25% of their book value. (WSJ) 

Barclays has told its bankers to work from the office at least four days a week. (Bloomberg) 

David Solomon used Goldman's private jet to fly to Chicago to meet clients and then he DJed at Lollapalooza that evening. Some people don't like that. (Business Insider) 

“When the markets stabilise it will be a tremendous time for private equity” and an influx of retail money is “a matter of when”, declares Verdun Perry, global head of Blackstone Strategic Partners. (Financial Times) 

NatWest is giving its male bankers up to a year off when they become fathers. (Telegraph) 

Arbejdernes Landsbank, Denmark’s sixth-largest lender, is providing its 1,800 employees with blankets this winter. (Bloomberg) 

Banks are preparing for London blackouts. Most banks can generate their own electricity for 72 hours, but data centres are also a problem. (Bloomberg) 

Click here to create a profile on eFinancialCareers. Make yourself visible to recruiters hiring for firms where a little bit of complaining is acceptable. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)

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Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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