December 1, 2023

Investment Banking

Let Your Investment Banking Do The Walking

Junior banker reservists could fight in Israel. Senior woman in banking blames Bloomberg terminal for early return from maternity leave

As Israel arranges special flights from abroad to fly-in its army reservists who are currently living outside the country, an array of young and older bankers with experience in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) have the potential to return and to fight.

Bankers with recent experience in the IDF are scattered across London and New York. Many are at analyst or associate level in leading banks. Most work in the investment banking division. Some work in analytics and tech.

They include an investment banking associate at Goldman Sachs in New York who’s a former deputy platoon commander in an Israeli special forces unit. Morgan Stanley’s London banking team counts a former sergeant in the IDF’s paratrooper unit. A Citi New York associate was formerly an IDF naval officer, leading a team of 60 people and running an operations budget of $10m.

Israel has 465,000 active reservists, 300,000 of whom were drafted yesterday. Military service is mandatory in Israel, where men aged 18+ have to serve for two years eight months and women for two years. People who’ve completed at least 20 days reserve service in the past three years are then considered active reservists. People who haven’t done this aren’t compelled to fight, but all Israelis who’ve completed active service in the IDF and are aged under 40 are hypothetically required to fight. 

This latter caveat would seem to exclude some of the older and senior bankers with IDF experience. People in this category include Yishai Fransis, the head of EMEA technology investment banking at Citi, who studied computer science with the IDF and was a captain in the intelligence corps until 2001. 

Separately, senior women in financial services have been opening up about the difficulty of returning to work when you have young children. Speaking to Financial NewsHelena Morrissey, the former head of personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management, said it wasn’t easy. Morrissey, who has nine children and has long been viewed as the model of working womanhood in British financial services, said she went back to work before she was ready because she was tempted by the Bloomberg terminal in her room. “I was in a bad way physically. She was early, I had haemorrhaged,” she said.

Morrissey’s husband, a financial journalist, went freelance after their large family was born. Morrissey also said she found it difficult being the sole breadwinner.

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Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan told staff in Israel to work remotely. (Bloomberg) 

Caius Capital, which was founded in 2016 by Antonio Batista and William Douglas from Goldman Sachs and Och Ziff, was the largest bondholder in the deal to recapitalize Metro Bank. (Sky) 

Nomura hired five traders to revive its emerging-market flow-credit desk in the Middle East. (Bloomberg) 

As banks rein in risk and make fewer loans, private credit is going wild. Private-credit assets under management globally rose to about $1.5 trillion in 2022 from $726 billion in 2018, according to data provider Preqin. “It’s kind of nuts that there used to be just three or four of these [lenders] out there and now you can have 30.” (WSJ) 

Citi hired Nauman Ansari from Evercore as global industry head of healthcare at Citigroup’s commercial bank. (Financial News)

Citi stock was priced at just 48% of tangible book value as of Friday’s close. The bank’s return on equity was 8.7% in the first half, which is low for this point in the cycle. It’s aiming for a 4% to 5% compound annual revenue growth rate, as part of its path to a targeted 11%-to-12% return on tangible common equity in the medium term. (WSJ) 

Bank of America foolishly piled hundreds of billions of dollars into long-dated Treasuries and mortgage bonds at low rates that prevailed during the pandemic and is now stuck with them, weighing on its stock. JPMorgan didn’t do this. Jamie Dimon stated at the time that: “We’re not going to invest in stuff making 50 basis points, 60 basis points, or 70 basis points so we get a teeny little bit more of NII…We don’t want to be in a position where we lose a lot of money because we may invest in some five or 10-year securities.” (Bloomberg) 

Faux pas of a former fashion intern who now works in finance. “I own a lot of Thom Browne ties that I don’t wear anymore. He’s got the short suit with shorts, and one day I wore the suit with shorts to work, and they told me not to do that again.” (Business Insider) 

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