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Morning Coffee: London banker's wife says her £200k+ family income makes childcare a struggle. Accenture executive says he was dismissed for ADHD

Given that the average household income in the UK is £35k ($44k), sympathy for the families of financial services professionals struggling by on £200k is going to be thin on the ground. But according to the wife of one financial services professional writing in the London Times, the struggle is real. 

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"The UK is one of the worst, if not the worst in Europe for childcare," says the author, who describes herself as "livid" about the sum of money she spends on nurseries for her two children. This amounts to nearly £4k a month, "a £66k salary, basically," which takes a big chunk out of the £100k+ she earns as a lawyer and the £100k+ her husband earns toiling in an unspecified job in financial services. 



"I know people are going to say, cry me a river," she adds, describing childcare as a "stealth tax". "- That I have a good job and lots of money. But it pisses me off, because at the end of every month, after nursery fees are paid, we don’t have much left over. Our childcare bills are greater than our mortgage is by some margin." 


Moreover, she says the cost of childcare has gone through the roof since the UK government began offering a free childcare scheme to lower earners, which is being subsidized by people like her. "You think, £75k — that’s a lot of money, isn’t it? A really decent salary. But it’s just enough to pay for two children to go to nursery in the southeast," she concludes. "Something is seriously wrong."

Separately, former Accenture executive Peter Lacey will have no problems paying for childcare if his £100m claim for being fired due to ADHD succeeds. Lacey, who sat on Accenture's global management committee and oversaw the firm's sustainability strategy, earned £4.3m in his final year at Accenture. He says ADHD was a "superpower" which helped him get thrive until CEO Julie Sweet and others starting belittling him and freezing him out of meetings. 

Sweet is accused of berating Lacey for 15 minutes for "no apparent reason." She also appears to have cut him off midway through a management presentation. The Financial Times quotes Sweet as denying that she publicly shamed Lacey. She says she "politely" asked him to stop his presentation says she was “measured and polite . . . even if frustrated and direct in her feedback,” during the 15-minute call about a "simple" query that Lacey allegedly couldn't answer. 


Stephen Scherr, the recently retired chief financial officer at Goldman Sachs thought he could help turn Hertz into a rental firm for electric vehicles. He was wrong. During his first year, things went well. Then they didn't. Scherr started meetings with two to three hour discourses about the state of the company with no slides and then wanted to dump the EVs as if they were a bad trade. Eventually, he resigned. (Bloomberg) 

McKinsey says the commodities trading industry made profits of $104bn last year, as trading firms and hedge funds came into the sector and profits from power trading rose. (Financial Times) 

Ray Dalio sees Bridgewater as a child. “The joy that the ones who are older feel about the next generation and seeing them succeed, that’ll be my mark of my success,” he said. “If they succeed, it’s my success. If they don’t succeed, it’s my failure.” (Bloomberg) 

Santander is hiring software bankers Ankush Gupta, who’s based in San Francisco, and London-based Abhinav Gattani, from Moelis & Co. (Bloomberg) 

Peel Hunt says it's a bad time to work on mid-market IPOs in London. “The pools of capital in the UK are quite severely constrained by outflows which don’t show any signs of coming back. That just leaves capital markets at an impasse.” (Financial Times) 

A new software development assistant, Devin, can take and finish an entire software project on its own. (Bloomberg) 

It's suddenly cheap to have software engineers in the UK as an offshore center. “It is exponentially more expensive to hire in the U.S. It really wouldn’t be realistic to move 50 engineers to the U.S. For a company of our size, it would have a huge financial impact.” (WSJ) 

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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.)

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ba
    7 April 2024

    Middle class whingeing

    You knew childcare costs were and still are expensive. Nobody forced you to have 2 kids. If any government proposed an increase in income tax to pay for childcare you would be the first to complain. It's an expensive hit that you can sustain cos it's not for ever.

  • Da
    Dave dave
    7 April 2024

    Why not just hire someone to look after your kids at home, with the measly amount nursery workers are paid in London you could hire 2 experienced people and still have in cheaper that what they are currently paying. Surely clever professional people could work that out?

  • Ca
    7 April 2024

    I'll do it for £30k.

  • Te
    6 April 2024

    Interesting. Although, it's worth questioning why individuals opt for jobs with such poor work-life balance and then complain. Additionally, childcare expenses tend to decrease once the child starts school. It's likely this couple will enroll their child in a private school and encounter similar financial challenges. However, providing such an environment would likely pave the way for their children's high paying and elite careers. They should recognize the privileges they and their children have compared to others.

    If they view this as an issue, they could consider transitioning to careers with better work-life balance. For example, I know many colleagues in the tech industry who have one parent working from home. Subsequently, have little spend on child care. Though they will do not earn as much as this couple. Ultimately, it comes down to prioritizing what matters most to them.

  • JK
    6 April 2024

    Why is the headline "London banker's wife says..." and not, say, "London-based lawyer says..." ? She is the one that writes in the original article - so why is she not referred to directly in the headline as the person that is commenting - rather than instead becoming someone's wife that is commenting?

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