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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan quietly did away with diversity hiring schemes. Prime broking is where the investment is

If you're a young white man trying to get a job in an investment bank, you may complain that it's a struggle. Even though white men are far, far more likely to be promoted to managing director once they're employed, many still feel hard done by. There are gripes that they haven't had access to the information at recruitment sessions open to minorities; they can't apply to the diversity programs.

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Following long years of debate on forums like Wall Street Oasis about the potential for young men to self-define as minorities and gain access to diversity programs, Bloomberg says there's no longer any need. Banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have quietly removed the ethnic and gender criteria for applying to their schemes. Goldman has opened its "Possibilities Summit” for Black college students to white students; JPMorgan’s summer fellowships for Black undergraduate sophomores are now for everyone; Bank of America's internal diversity groups are admitting the people from the country clubs. 

Goldman Sachs has exceeded its targets for diversity hiring, but the change of heart isn't because the diversity job is done. It's actually because lawyers are advising banks that offering preferential treatment to particular groups might be illegal. Diversity has become a dangerous business. 

The change will be popular among the young white men who've been voicing disgruntlement. A former Morgan Stanley vice president pointed out that Goldman's diversity targets implied that its acceptance rates for young women were twice as high as for men. Diversity programs have typically opened before standard summer internship and graduate schemes, giving diverse students preferential access to roles. At one big US bank recently, a senior trader complained that internships were full of either diverse students or the (very non-diverse) children of senior bankers, both of whom he suggested were unfairly advantaged. 

Whether young white men will have the gumption to apply to the former diversity programs is another matter, though. Early indications are that at least some will. "I'm 4% Latin American," said one recent poster on Wall Street Oasis, "At this rate, I might just apply as diverse." Confident nepo babies may well be first to avail themselves of the new opportunity; unfortunately diversity programs could soon end up being anything but. 

Separately, if you're looking for the new hot jobs in banking, prime broking might just be the place. IFR notes that Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley dominate the business of offering prime broking services to hedge fund clients, with 60% of the market, but that Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas and Citigroup all want a slice of the pie. “It’s very hard to run an equities business that is full scale without having a full-scale prime brokerage business," says Alan Thomas at Morgan Stanley. “Our strategy in equities is simple: grow prime,” declares Andrew Morton at Citi. 

The implication is that if you work in prime, banks will want to hire you or keep you. Increasingly, though, prime is about having the kinds of electronic trading systems that will make big hedge funds want to trade with you. Developers may be the main beneficiaries. 

Meanwhile...

JPMorgan's co-head of UK investment banking says the big job cuts are over. “We are at a stage in the cycle where there is less aggressive cost-cutting for cost cutting's sake. There's always going to be a focus on performance management that continues throughout the cycles and all industries. But we're through the worst of that as an industry.” (Financial News) 

Is Crispin Odey planning a comeback? Odey Asset Management's latest accounts say it “is currently exploring alternative business opportunities.” (Bloomberg) 

Brian Sack, DE Shaw's former director of global economics, is off to Balyasny. (Bloomberg) 

Goldman Sachs MD Zachary Tcheyan is joining private credit fund Blue Owl. (Bloomberg)  

Losing your temper at work works if you're with disagreeable people, who will then do what you want, but not if you're with agreeable people, who will not. (Economist) 

'I lived Goldman Sachs aged 35 to be a stay at home dad even though I earned more than my spouse.' “I have worked for 12 years and have savings." (Financial News) 

 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)

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.)

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Sp
    Spider
    7 March 2024

    This is absurd. Centuries of ongoing nepotism, primarily by country club rich whites, is alright, but God forbid a very small number of minorities have any shot at all at making it into the upper echelons of society. God forbid white people are slightly less than massively advantaged in the recruiting process for an industry known for nepotism.


    News flash to middle and lower class whites, this isn't benefitting you either unless you matriculated at HYP.


    It's terrible that this article makes the assumption that these "diverse applicants" are somehow unqualified just because they're diverse. Where's the same attention to the son of the managing director? Aren't they far more unqualified? In my opinion, any diverse applicant that makes it into the almost completely white environment of an investment bank, a system known for advantaging the privileged and mediocre sons of bankers, is far more qualified than your average applicant.

  • Ju
    Just, wow
    6 March 2024

    So I guess white male nepotism and getting jobs just because you members of a country club with some in a circle was A-ok? What bullshit article.

  • JC
    JCFLA
    5 March 2024

    I agree with previous comments but must add that the author is seemingly trying to fill out what realistically should be an extremely short article which states- These practices are illegal, end of story. However this will make for more of a blurb than a full article. Authors need to flesh out their articles which often can lead to weaknesses. The legal dept usually has the last say, illegal is illegal, all that matters.

  • Ch
    ChrisP710
    5 March 2024

    Multiple comments about the ignorance of this article but as a young privileged white high schooler I could not be more excited to go into banking in the upcoming years lmao

  • Al
    AlexisF
    5 March 2024

    My first thought reading this nonsense is that it surely must be satire. "At one big US bank recently, a senior trader complained that internships were full of diverse students and children of senior bankers, both of whom had been given preferential access." - how ridiculous and out of touch with reality do you have to be to say this, or promote this rhetoric as a journalist? Clearly you would rather have all the well paying roles/big firms filled by white people as they have since the dawn of time. Ironic that changes that reflect any sort of diversity are seen as exclusionary when white people are at slightly less of an advantage than they are in every other aspect. God forbid that students of color are in better positions to build wealth or white people have to work even slightly as hard as POC historically have had to.

    This is such an irresponsible article.

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