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Morning Coffee: Bankers instructed to return to the office full time after layoffs. "Older" banker blasts the myth of early retirement

If you have a banking job where you can work from home two or maybe even three days a week, consider yourself fortunate. Such perks are disappearing as senior bankers flex their belief that office time is the filling in the sandwich of organizational culture, and as the power of junior bankers to resist evaporates in the face of relentless cost-cutting and the threat that always-biddable large language models will do their jobs instead. 

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The latest bank to do away with working from home is Truist Securities, which is also cutting costs and making "sizeable" job cuts. As it does these things, Bloomberg reports that Truist's senior people have settled upon the notions that the “best work comes from being together” and “increasing in-person interactions allows us to reinvigorate a connected culture.”

With this in mind, Truist has given its 1,000 investment bankers until June 1st to return to the office every single day of the week, up from four days now.  Truist's remaining 49,000 staff will be required to go in four days instead of three from around September onwards. 

It's not clear how Truist people feel about this, but their Fridays may never be the same again. Truist's newly connected culture may not compensate for this. Glassdoor reviews for the company are replete with people complaining about the sudden office return. "Going into the office makes it even more difficult to get my job done as workstations are just computers lined up on tables. Coworkers will frequently stop by and ask questions," says one, adding that it's "difficult to focus," as a result. 

Separately, there was a time when people went into investment banks in the expectation that they'd make enough money to be off doing something else in twenty years.  Some succeeded, many did not. Writing in the Financial Times, Simon Kuper recalls how in his early days as a journalist, an older banker explained to him that his junior banking colleagues' fantasies of hitting their "number" and retiring by 40 to become painters or winemakers were just that. 

People get used to having a high income, said the wise old banker. They also start to realize that if they start painting aged 40 without much training, they probably won't be much good at it. 

Meanwhile....

Citadel is moving to a new office off London's Finsbury Avenue. It will have 250,000 square feet, up from 150,000 square feet spread across two offices currently. (Bloomberg) 

UK Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch disapproves of the FCA's plans to collect much wider diversity data. (Bloomberg) 

A female banker describes how she developed a drinking problem. "I would go out at least five times a week and drink one-and-a-half to two bottles of wine if I was sharing with other people. Sometimes I'd drink alone at home while cooking and I could easily polish off a bottle of wine then." (Financial News) 

Bain is paying its interns a median base salary of $9k. JPMorgan and Barclays are paying $8.3k and $8.8k. A month. (Fortune) 

Vanguard is setting up a massive technology hub in Charlotte. (Riabiz) 

Will hedge funds cause the next financial crisis? As of December, about half the two-year Treasury short positions in the futures market were in the hands of eight traders or less. Something similar happened in 2019 before a rise in funding costs during the pandemic nearly caused a financial crisis. Who holds the positions? ExodusPoint Capital Management, Millennium Management and Citadel have all used the strategy. (Bloomberg) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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