US bankers from Mars, Euro bankers from Venus?

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An email altercation suggests American and European financiers aren't always the best of buddies.

The email, which first appeared on US gossip site, is ostensibly from Daniel Loeb, managing director of Third Point LLC, a New York hedge fund, to Alan Lewis, a potential candidate for a job.

To cut a long story short: Loeb asks Lewis for his best investment ideas, Lewis says he doesn't work that way and looks forward to hearing from Loeb when he's got more time, to which Loeb replies that Brits are "set in their ways and prefer to knock back a pint at the pub...than work hard".

Are Europeans really idle types who like a drink? Allyson Stewart Allen, author of the book Working with Americans, says it's just a misunderstanding. "Americans and American companies are extremely time sensitive and do everything with a sense of urgency," she says. "Anyone who has a glass of wine with lunch is therefore liable to be considered an alcoholic because it will make them less productive in the afternoon."

And if anything, Europeans actually work harder than their US counterparts - at least according to one US derivatives trader who's worked out of London for the last few years. "London trading floors work longer hours than New York trading floors because they straddle time zones," she says. "London traders are in for the Asian markets in the morning, and stay late for the US markets at the end of the day."

Although Loeb and Lewis (who is in fact half American, half French) go on to trade insults about everything from the European class system to shareholder value, the trader says Brits, at least, are closer to Americans than they are to their fellow Europeans: "French and Germans have a totally different work ethic." What that is exactly, she declines to say.

· Read the email exchange in full here.

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