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Morning Coffee: HSBC's investment bank head explains the work that may be done from home. Goldman Sachs partner on a mission to sleep and drink water

HSBC is hiring new investment bankers. It wants 200 of them, and it's particularly interested in if they're specialists in technology, healthcare or climate technology investment, are based in the Middle East or Asia and happen to know clients at sovereign wealth funds. Its pitch to these new employees seems to be that it's expanding while other banks are cutting, but it might equally be that it paid fine bonuses (at the top end), or that it seems pretty relaxed about letting people work from home. 

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HSBC is in the process of reducing its office space by 40% and allows people to work from home two days a week. Greg Guyett, the London-based head of HSBC's investment bank, informed Financial News that he is a "very strong advocate for flexible work" and is not going "to mandate a number of days or a number of hours in the office." 

If you work elsewhere, Guyett's words may sound like sweet and tinkling music to your ears. Goldman Sachs people are expected in the office five days a week; JPMorgan managing directors (MDs) are expected in the office five days a week and are imposing their regime on everyone else; even Deutsche Bank is clamping down and demanding that MDs are in the office four days. 

Guyett appears to be offering hope of something a little more louche. But anyone joining HSBC in the expectation of long weekends working from the countryside or villa probably stands to be disappointed. When you're a senior banker, the work that can be done outside the office mostly involves visiting clients, says Guyett. HSBC juniors get a bit more slack: they can work from home when they need to "manage their life, do calls, work on a spreadsheet," Guyett says. Mostly, though, the "bias ought to be in the office," which he says should be the "default" place to be. 

Separately, Goldman Sachs partner and head of prime brokerage sales, Brian Robinson, is in the office all the time, where he sits beneath a homemade neon sign extolling the virtues of teamwork and sleep. 

Having previously said things like "a 9-5 mentality will not lead you to greatness," and “if you rise and grind a magic carpet ride awaits you,” Robinson has now discovered that greatness and carpets are also helped by rest. 

"In my early career, I would survive on five to six hours a night," Robinson told Business Insider. "But now I am thriving and have strong sustained energy because I am getting seven-plus hours a night during the workweek and eight-plus on weekends."

Water is also a passion: Robinson drinks nine cups of it a day, and works out daily before 6am. He is spreading his ethos to his team, whom he encourages to participate in "Workout Wednesday," which is time for exercise or "chosen external activities."


HSBC CEO Noel Quinn wants to hire some wealth managers. “We have a really strong wealth management business in Hong Kong. I want an equally strong wealth management capability in mainland China, Singapore, for Asean, and in India.” (Bloomberg) 

Jamie Dimon cautions against the private credit excitement. He says it could become an "unexpected risk" and that “If investors feel mistreated they will cry foul, and the government will respond by putting a laser focus on the business." (Financial Times) 

JPMorgan employs 14,000 people in Florida, 30,000 in Texas, and only 29,000 in New York. The average JPMorgan employee in Florida makes a salary of $87,000, more than twice the Florida average of $40,000. (Bloomberg) 

Commodities trading firm Vitol posted a profit of $13bn for 2023, more than three times higher than in 2021. (Bloomberg) 

Commodities trading firm Mercuria posted a profit of $2.7 billion last year, down on 2022 but more than double any other year. (Bloomberg) 

Credit Suisse's lawyer says the staff responsible for supervising a banker who took money from a Georgian billionaire did their “incompetent best.” The billionaire's lawyers disagree and compare it to hearing drilling sounds inside a bank vault you're guarding. “Is your duty just to sit outside and do nothing unless you hear an explosion, the door is blown open?” (Bloomberg) 

A student got a graduate job at Goldman Sachs after devoting "up to 10 hours a week to find a job that would combine her interests in business and sustainability." She and her roommates "sat together on their laptops, submitting applications and hyping each other up before interviews." When the offer came she "screamed out loud.” (WSJ) 

If you’re a man and you can’t do more than 35 push ups in your 40s, you’re ageing badly. The same applies if you’re a woman and can’t do more than 15. (WSJ) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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