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Morning Coffee: Banker takes preemptive action after accusations of illicit chat. Barclays trader turned artist makes $9m

Leaking information to the press has never been sanctioned in banking, but in times of strife it seems that casual chat with journalists is viewed with greater distaste than usual. Earlier this month in Miami, Goldman Sachs reprimanded partners for media leaks that it said were damaging the bank (something that was promptly leaked to the FT), and former Credit Suisse chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio railed against media leaks at CS, before being undone by them and forced to resign.

Unicredit is flourishing in a way that Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are not right now. It's share price is up 145% in two years. But there's possible strife beneath the surface: the Italian bank cleared out the management of its trading business before Christmas (and bonuses) and newish CEO Andrea Orcel has been the subject of media speculation about his pay package, which is allegedly small in light of his achievements and should maybe doubled. Now, someone has resigned as a result of that speculation. 

That person is Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the former head of Unicredit's remuneration committee. The Financial Times says Gadhia resigned preemptively after unsubstantiated allegations that she was the person who leaked the claims about Orcel's too-small pay. The accusation was eventually withdrawn, but after being interviewed by the chairman and the bank's chief legal officer, Gadhia allegedly felt her position was untenable. 

It's not clear whether the investigation had anything to do with Orcel, who's not known for his sense of humour, but Gadhia's exit fires a shot across the bows of anyone else who might be inclined to talk to journalists at Unicredit. In the meantime, people at the bank are telling Bloomberg that Orcel is likely to receive a mere 40% pay rise this year and that the bonus pool as a whole will be up 20%. 

Separately, it's not clear how much Ovie Faruq, the former Barclays high yield trader turned NFT artist Rekt Guy makes selling NFTs, but it probably doesn't matter: Faruq and his former Barclays colleague Mike Anderson have made enough money trading NFTs not to care for a while. 

Bloomberg reports that the two men sold 72 Bored Yacht Club NFTs for $9.25m this week, making a profit of 700%. NFTs aren't dissimilar to high yield in that they're an illiquid asset that needs to be traded when liquidity is available, said Faruq, who has no plans to go back to banking but is now running NFT research platform Degenz alongside his art. 

Faruq said previously that being a trader "sucked away" his life and that he bought 150 Bored Ape NFTs in early 2021 when he was a drunk after a night out. They subsequently soared in price and helped him leave the trading floor. This week's $9m haul looks like a vindication, although it could have been a lot bigger: Bored Apes have declined in price by 73% since their peak in May 2022. 

Meanwhile...

Michael Klein is holding a summit in New York to explain his plans for the future of CS First Boston. There's talk of a $500m exchangeable bond and hiring some big name rainmakers to show that he means business. (Reuters)

Two years ago, Carlyle’s co-head of European private equity and his colleagues swapped their variable rate loans in Carlyle Partner's portfolio to fixed rate loans, thereby saving themselves a fortune as rates rise. (Bloomberg) 

Former British Chancellor Sajid Javid is joining Centricus Asset Management. (Bloomberg) 

Rising rates stand to make bankers very unpopular again. (Bloomberg) 

Point72 hired Lionel Sukhram from Robinhood as it expands its crypto team. (Financial News) 

Esther Crawford, the Twitter product manager who ingratiated herself with Elon Musk by sleeping in the office has been fired. "The worst take you could have from watching me go all-in on Twitter 2.0 is that my optimism or hard work was a mistake.” (New York Post) 

If you stimulate your brain by reading an annoying work email on your phone before bed you'll get a shot of cortisol and this is what will stop you sleeping. (WSJ) 

A Deliveroo rider collapsed outside an upscale apartment block in east London and the couple came down, stepped over him, and asked about their food. (Mirror) 

Analyst classes getting softer. Too much emphasis on “protected” days where many think this is an entitlement. Deal flow still strong, at least at my shop, so can’t let off the gas pedal.” (High Yield Harry) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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