Morning Coffee: A senior banker with the best summer vacation eases his return to work. Why Gen Z can’t be bothered with banking
Georges Elhedery is back. And if anyone had a memorable winter, spring and summer vacation, it was him. He doesn’t immediately get back to work either: after his absence, George will slowly get back into the swing of things.
For those who have forgotten who George is during his long rest, he is/was co-head of investment banking at HSBC, a job he has only done since 2020, although he has done quite a bit big jobs at HSBC since 2005. Until yesterday the last time we heard from George was late January 2022, when he said he was going on a six-month sabbatical to focus on his “own personal growth” and to travel with his family and explore “a number of personal interests”. Elhedery said a breakout of this magnitude was made possible because the investment bank met its 2022 year-end strategic goals a year ahead of schedule.
When bankers go on sabbatical, they tend to stay on sabbatical, or at least decide they want another job while they’re away. Witness Sanj Sivarajahhead of special situations for emerging markets at JPMorgan, who was last seen riding a motorcycle through the mud in April and has now decided not to return to his position as JPM.
Elhedery, however, is back. Six months later, and presumably wiser, more balanced and better rested, he returned to HSBC to resume his old role. It won’t happen right away, however. After six months off, he will start working on a some projects for CEO Noel Quinn and keep up to date with everything that happened while he was gone. He will also travel and meet colleagues in Asia.
This all sounds really good for George. But the problem with sabbaticals, and especially with sabbaticals that involve a total disconnect and then a smooth reintroduction, is that while the person on the sabbatical is diving into their passions, someone else has to do his work. In George’s case, it’s Greg. – Greg Guyett is George’s co-head at the top of HSBC’s global banking and markets business, but Greg has run the business single-handedly (albeit with the help of market professionals from George’s team) since February and this arrangement will continue as George now delves into it.
It’s not really clear how Greg feels about this, but one indication that he wasn’t very happy with the added burden came after George first announced his sabbatical and Greg said that he would not immediately move to Hong Kong as planned because “adding a personal move to the expansion of my responsibilities is a bridge too far,” the heels sounded.
The question now is whether George stays, whether Greg stays, and whether one or both move to Hong Kong. Both were initially on the list to emigrate from London, but George seemed get out of it in early 2021. Now that he’s had his sabbatical, he might be calmer about moving. Or maybe George can stay in London and Greg will have to pack his bags now that the favorite prodigal son is back.
Separately, as Gen Z replaces Millennials as the generation courted and celebrated by organizations seeking young, cheap talent, investment banks may be out of luck. Voice captures the tendency of young people today to eschew hard work and ambition in favor of a good appearance, a good life, and perhaps a wealthy spouse. “I don’t want to be a boss. I don’t want to hustle,” a Zeitgeist rep says on ICT Tac. “I just want to live my life slowly and lay in a bed of foam with my lover and enjoy the rest of my life reading books, creating art and loving myself and the people in my life. .” Banks may need to make further adjustments to analyst programs.
HSBC cut Chinese bankers DCM. After ejecting two vice presidents, the Hong Kong-based DCM team covering China will now include a general manager and five directors. (Bloomberg)
Citi already employs 3,700 people in Northern Ireland and now wants 400 more in Belfast. The new hires will be everything from juniors to managers working across compliance, HR legal, market and technology support functions. (Bloomberg)
BNP Paribas wants front office staff within its Exane cash unit to spend more time in the office so that they can work more closely together on a regular basis. (Financial News)
EY will likely announce the split between its audit and advisory divisions later this week. (FinancialTimes)
UK regulators say Revolut has audit issues and there’s a “unacceptable” risk of “material misstatements” in its accounts. (Financial Times)
29% of people who take CFA exams say they are not relevant to their daily work. (Financial News)
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