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Morning Coffee: The banks that let you work from home, and the banks that don't. Hedge fund managers among the peacocks

As the weather (in the UK) finally perks up, it's not just Goldman Sachs that's calling time on summer. It transpires that most banks now want people back in the climatically controlled conditions of their offices, where - in the words of Lloyds Bank CEO Charlie Nunn in the Financial Times - everyone can be together "working at pace" and get "serious about transformation and change."

The implication that people working from home are somehow slow and frivolous may not make Nunn popular with the 5% of Lloyds Bank staff already complaining about his efforts to remove their compressed four-day working weeks, but he's actually pretty tolerant. Starting today, Nunn wants Lloyds people in the office at least two days a week. This makes Lloyds one of the best places to be if you're wedded to working from home. 

Bloomberg has a helpful table detailing work from home and in-office arrangements on a bank-by-bank basis. Alongside Lloyds, the other best banks for working from home are: UBS, Nomura, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and HSBC (for the moment). Two days in the office also seem possible at these banks, although arrangements differ on a team-by-team basis. 

Most banks expect their salespeople and traders in particular in the office five days a week, but at UBS Bloomberg says some US employees in other areas are able to work for home full time. At Nomura, people in 'corporate functions' can be in the office 40-50% of the time, which implies a possible two days in the office. At BNP Paribas, people can do their jobs at home for 'up to half the week', suggesting two days a week might be acceptable there too. At Deutsche Bank, some support staff also only come to the office two days a week. And at HSBC, there are currently no strict arrangements, but plans are afoot to get people back in the office three days a week from October.

Two days in the office are the luxury. Three days (if you're not in sales and trading or M&A/capital markets) are the norm. Bank of America wants people in three days. So does Barclays (which expects some traders and investment bankers in only four days). So does Citi. So does JPMorgan (unless you're an MD at JPM, in which case you need to be in five days).

Finally, there are the banks that really love people in the office and would like them there all the time. Goldman Sachs is in this category: CEO David Solomon thinks the office is "invigorating" and has begun insisting that people are about every day. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman thinks the office is for careers and the home is for jobs, and wants everyone in maybe four days each week. 

If you like working from home and think you're actually pretty pacy and productive and are pursuing a career there, none of this is good news. Various surveys have suggested people would rather resign than give up working from home. Bank CEOs don't seem not bothered: “I completely understand why someone doesn’t want to commute an hour and a half every day, totally got it,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told The Economist in July. “Doesn’t mean they have to have a job here either...”

Separately, there's a new must-have for hedge fund managers at Citadel and elsewhere: a home in Coral Gables, an 'upscale suburb' of Miami. 

The Financial Times reports that Citadel's decision to move its head office from Chicago to Miami prompted some 'aggressive' home buying in areas like Coral Gables and Coconut Grove before school started in August. Houses worth $10m+ have been receiving multiple offers, many of them cash. 

There are perks beyond bidets and swimming pools. "These neighbourhoods are tropical, they’re lush, kind of like the way Florida is imagined to be,” one real estate agent told the FT. “In the Grove there’s literally peacocks that walk across the street. You have to be really careful driving." 

The peacocks may not turn out to be as exciting as some Citadel people might hope, though. The local Coral Gables magazine accuses them of letting out raucous early morning cries, scratching cars and pooping on driveways. They can also be aggressive and "procreate at an amazing rate.”

Meanwhile...

Some junior bankers aren't bothering to work Fridays. Log into Teams, check email, then live my life...We just carry our work phones around in case something comes up.” (Financial Times) 

Private equity firms are struggling to fill associate positions in ever-earlier recruitment cycles. This is partly because analysts are holding back - only around 25% of the analyst class have been participating. (WSJ) 

Nomura might not be hiring after all. "Our plan to expand revenues also includes investments such as new hires, but if we are unable to generate adequate returns for our investment, we will make timely adjustments to our headcount.” (Bloomberg) 

David Solomon has been doing more partner dinners at his Soho loft, and black SUVs have been clogging the road outside. (NY Post) 

Goldman Sachs' ex-head of international recruitment says the bank had a dysfunctional workplace that triggered his mental health issues. Goldman claims that colleagues had urged him not to overwork and one had told him to reduce his travel and put time in his diary to go to the gym. (Financial Times) 

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Photo by Kid Circus on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ma
    Matt
    4 September 2023

    Can you really expect to attract and retain top tech talent if you don't offer more flexibility?

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