Morning Coffee: Top banker on leave after offsite infringement. Looming banker job cuts come closer

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Morning Coffee: Top banker on leave after offsite infringement. Looming banker job cuts come closer

It happened again. There was an offsite, something allegedly occurred and a banker has been put on leave. Except, this time it's not just any banker, it's Citi's top banker in the UK: Jan Skarbek.

Bloomberg broke the story last night in the UK: there was a staff "getaway" and Skarbek allegedly made "comments" to a female employee. He has been put on leave pending an investigation.

Given that the last offsite misdemeanour we reported upon involved a trading CTO dressed as Donald Trump who is alleged to have both groped a female colleague and struck a male one, Skarbek's incident sounds comparatively tame (albeit we don't know the alleged comment). However, insiders say it's a source of shock inside Citi by virtue of both his seniority and apparent propriety. "Whenever we've met him for coaching, he's looked super professional and committed to his job," says one junior. "I'm sure there's some mistake."  

Skarbek is Citi's co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory in the UK and Ireland. He's been with the bank for over two decades and is one of its most important dealmakers. Whether or not anything comes of the allegations, which are said to be at a preliminary stage, Citi's willingness to investigate is testimony to a positive approach to female complaints: in the past, many banks typically swept complaints involving big revenue generators under the carpet for fear of offending the man concerned.

Separately, the investment banking job cuts that have long seemed inevitable are drawing closer and may even started happening around the sides. We were first to report Berenberg's job cuts in June, and now Financial News reports that market intelligence firm Coalition has spied some broader reductions in investment banking division headcount (although there's no mention of where).

More cuts are likely to come. When banks report second quarter results this week and next, revenues in investment banking divisions are expected to be woeful. "We believe, if investment banking revenue trends do not improve in H2, cost initiatives will move into focus to improve profitability," say analysts at RBC Capital Markets. When, not if.

Meanwhile...

Bankers feel compelled to come back into the office to avoid getting cut. Maybe this is fine. “It’s basically back to pre-pandemic life now. We’re in the office when we’re not travelling. This is tough, but preferable to 12-hours of back to back Zoom calls.” (Financial News)

Natixis wants to hire 30 bankers across energy, technology, financial in London. (Bloomberg) 

Nightmare for UBS's French whistleblower. “Do you know what the compensation for defamation is in France? Zero. The court just says, “you were right, you didn’t defame anybody, and that you were absolutely harassed by this bank.” But you get nothing.” (DisruptionBanking) 

Outside of crypto, fintechs have laid off 3,709 people in Q2. (Techcrunch) 

Ted Pick, the previously sweary Morgan Stanley co-president, has come over all corporate when announcing the new heads of the investment bank. In a statement, he said the promotions would, “marry the partnership culture of the last decade with a pivot to long-term growth,” leaving many to wonder what that meant. (Financial Times) 

If Elon Musk doesn't buy Twitter, banks won't have to fulfill their commitment to loan him some of the money and they won't lose $300m. (Bloomberg) 

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