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HSBC appears to be going after a certain sort of person.

Morning Coffee: HSBC is picking off senior trading staff. Hedge fund Christmas party alternatives

What's going on with HSBC's 35,000 layoffs, of which only a few seem to have taken place? That depends upon where you look and who you talk to. Paris has certainly suffered . There are headhunters who claim that entire London teams have been decimated, but we understand that overall cuts in London have only reached mid-single digits in percentage terms. Nonetheless, there are signs that something is afoot and that senior staff at the very top of the tree might be most vulnerable to its effects. 

International Financing Review reported yesterday that HSBC is parting company with Michael Yarian, its New York-based head of Americas debt markets and global head of flow rates trading. Yarian is disappearing despite the strength of rates trading businesses everywhere in 2020, and despite only joining from Barclays in 2016 - he wasn't the sort of expensive 'HSBC lifer' that the bank's accused of carrying preferentially.

If you're the head of a trading business at HSBC, now might be a good time to contemplate alternatives. IFRE notes that HSBC also parted company with its head of global fixed income Elie Von Hayek in February, and that global head of equities Hossein Zaimi left (possibly voluntarily) in July. - The implication is a slow changing of the guard at the top of the global markets business under Georges Elhedery, the ex-rates trader who took over from Samir Assaf this time last year. A few key moves at the top of the business might not go far towards HSBC's 35,000 cuts target, but they could clear the way for more expensive changes in 2021. 

Separately, if you're having the sort of Zoom office party where you put on a festive jumper and listen to music by Michael Bublé, you're probably not working for the right sort of hedge fund. Business Insider reports that one hedge fund has been sending its employees Hermès bags to compensate for the absence of this year's in-person event. Sadly it declined to name the fund.


study of 2,000 finance professionals showed that 76% of men were offered a promotion at least once without requesting it, compared with 57% of women. (Fortune)

Why Russian coders were supposed to be better than Western ones: “They would spend their working time thinking up programmes and writing them down on paper, without continuous feedback like we now have through the internet, or even with the help of syntax checks. They had extremely high incentives to have the whole programme written down perfectly, down to the semicolons, to make the most of their computing time. The theory was because of this, over time, they had learned to code to a much higher standard – simply because they spent so much more time thinking about their code on paper, thinking and working on an ‘analogue’ basis...” (GAM) 

Janet Yellen is a safe pick for Treasury secretary. Wall Street will support her after fearing a more provocative pick such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. Progressives will support her because she's not perceived as being too friendly to big banks and the wealthy. (Bloomberg) 

64 year-old hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen has becoming something of a star on Twitter where he's been chatting to New York Mets fans after buying the baseball team in October. It turns out Cohen is quite a wit. (Bloomberg) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • An
    24 November 2020

    It seems that the results of the survey of 2,000 finance professionals were reached by asking people if they had been promoted without asking and without any independent verification. So not much of a survey then.

    Also, would the survey even have been published if it had shown women more likely to be promoted than men? Doubtful.

    In reality, most banks are promoting more women than men whether they ask or not. Some promoted positions are only being offered to women.

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