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Festive Distillation: £125k bonuses in the back office. Hard times at RBS. M&A bankers compelled to work harder than ever

Christmas news, distilled

It's Christmas ('holidays' if you're in the US). We've been operating a buffet-style operation (a little bit here, a little bit there), since Monday and won't emerge from the fug with a full schedule until January 5th. Our daily Morning Coffee round-up is on hiatus, but we'll bring you intermittent distillations from the world of finance and beyond until things get back to normal. 

How big will your bonus be for 2014? If you work in banking in London, it seems that you think it will be big indeed. Astbury Marsden, a recruitment firm. asked 1,500 'bankers' what they were expecting to find inside their post-festive pay packets, and they said £125k - up from £103k last year. Astbury Marsden mostly covers the middle and back office recruitment market in banking, so £125k seems to be the sort of sum people in risk, finance, and technology are counting upon to cover their Christmas largess. With luck they haven't spent it already - bonus expectations and bonus realities do not always match.

Over at RBS, some bonus expectations are being cruelly dashed upon the regulatory rocks. 18 'individuals' [AKA traders] have reportedly had their unvested bonuses frozen while the bank scrutinizes millions of documents related to alleged manipulation of the FX market. In the wake of RBS's £400m fine for FX rigging, this all seems fair enough - except that only six of those 18 individuals are actually subject to disciplinary proceedings. The remainder are guilty (and semi-impoverished) until proven innocent.

Down in the M&A grotto, people will certainly be expecting bounteous offerings from the bonus fairy come the new year. M&A volumes rose 47% in 2014, reports the Financial Times, making it the busiest year for M&A activity since 2007.  The bad news? M&A bankers are having to work harder for their fees. In a separate piece, the Financial Times notes that M&A deals are becoming bigger and more complex. “One takeaway from this year is that very large, industry transforming deals are more complex and take a longer time to execute than is appreciated," said Alejandro Vicente, head of Emea consumer investment banking at J.P. Morgan.


Why you should want to work in M&A next year. (Bloomberg)  

Barclays is filtering out one third of its clients in Asia. The clients it's keeping have been judged on their interest in the bank’s global reach, the likelihood they would use more than one product Barclays offered and their “attitude and propensity to pay fees. (Financial Times) 

Teresa May, UK Home Secretary, wants to make it impossible for non-EU students to stay in the UK after their courses have finished. This would be very bad news for Asian students who want to work in the City. (The Times)

Standard Chartered shares have fallen in value by 30% this year. The bank just dumped UBS and hired BAML as its corporate broker. A rights issue is expected soon. (The Times) 

EY was the fastest growing UK accounting firm this year - revenues increased by 8.6%. Deloitte's revenues only increased by 1.4%. (Financial Times)  

Should you lie to your children about Santa? (Marginal Revolution)

The more senior you are as a woman, the more likely you’ll have a drinking problem on a par with a man’s. (The Times) 

How to use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to formulate your business plan. (Wharton Knowledge)

The more money you have, the busier you feel. 'A chap “may find himself drinking Brazilian coffee, smoking a Dutch cigar, sipping a French cognac, reading the New York Times, listening to a Brandenburg Concerto and entertaining his Swedish wife.' (Economist) 

Give up your job in 2015 and import vintage cars from Cuba. Or not. (Business Week)

Economists statistically unlikely to be obese. (Vox) 

Even junior bankers don’t work on Christmas day. Here’s who does. (ONS)

How to chill your turkey. (Twitter) 

How to use Christmas for old-fashioned seduction. (Farnam Street)

You must use the holiday season to improve your chances of passing the CFA. (300Hours) 


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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