crypto strategy

Morning Coffee: The bank accused of having retracted the offers of the graduates at the last moment. Goldman Sachs is looking for crypto’s Peaky Blinders

As an Irish road safety campaign once said, “The faster the speed, the bigger the mess”. Fintechs, Challenger banks and crypto exchanges have spent most of the past decade in hyper-growth mode, rapidly recruiting into both technology and finance. But if you’ve built your planning around an exponential growth norm, the shock when you have to stop and change direction can be shocking. Revolution is the latest high-growth company to try to make the switch as gracefully as possible.

The most controversial aspect of Revolut’s new “Project Prism” initiative seems to be that some people who thought they were going to Revolut have had short-term job offers pulled from them. In one case, someone claimed on LinkedIn that he had been given a company laptop and was due to start working in a few days. The candidates affected were all recent graduates, which means that the situation is not as serious as when Coinbase canceled offers after people resigned from other jobs. But it is unlikely that the young people concerned will be reassured; apparently one of them had signed a two-year lease.

This sort of thing can really hurt an employer brand, and Revolut seems to realize that; they do what they can to avoid making a bad situation worse, offering a month’s salary and the kind of outplacement and interview preparation services that big banks typically offer when they lay off. Since they are still hiring overall, with 200 vacancies currently open and another 300 coming each month, they don’t want to get a bad reputation.

And it sure looks like the unlikely few graduates were in a slightly sui generis situation. According to Revolut, they were all hired into “a specific team”, which had “changing business needs”. In other words, part of Project Prism involved Revolut deciding not to do the things they were hired to do. The fact that the company decided to simply rescind the offers rather than find something else for them to do might suggest that these particular graduates were hired for particular skills rather than general ability and potential; if they had been recruited for a specific technology project that is not underway, for example, they are unlikely to remain unemployed for long.

There won’t be much schadenfreude from other fintechs; Revolut is a top company and it made an early call about the need to adapt to market conditions, but there’s not much in Project Prism reports to suggest it’s a company-specific problem rather than an industry-wide one. Even the most publicized audit and control issues are not unique in the world of banking, let alone fintech. Winter is coming to the industry, and unfortunately, many people who had been very happy with their job offers a short time ago may end up getting cold.

Furthermore, Goldman Sachs seems to be pursuing its strategy of hiring staff to surprisingly beautiful jobs in surprisingly old-fashioned cities. (Apologies to all proud Brummie readers, but you know what we mean). After picking up a few dozen Stetson hat wearers in dallasTexas, they are now looking for peaked caps and vintage three-piece suits in birmingham, England. The bank has just signed a lease for an office building, fitted out according to its own specifications and able to accommodate 800 people. This is a big improvement over the current presence, which consists of 230 employees and an unknown number of We Work-based consultants.

And as with the Dallas office, the jobs they plan to create there are by no means all back-office or low-prestige. There will be a few HR and legal positions, and a good number in retail banking, but according to Gurjit Jagpal, the managing director in charge of the Birmingham office, they are also looking for blockchain tech recruits.

According to Jagpal, Goldman is intentionally diversifying its locations in order to continue to attract talent. “After the pandemic,” he says, “the trend you see is that we have to go where the talent wants to be.” Some of the top talent wants to be in Dallas and Birmingham rather than New York or London, and when you consider what kind of house a VP salary can buy in the different places, who can blame them?

Meanwhile …

As expected, Deutsche Bank may have been the first to announce energy-saving measures at its European offices, but not the last. Hot water, corporate gymnasiums and night lighting seem to be the first things to go. (Business Intern)

JuliAnn Burkhardt, a former consumer and retail hedge banker, is now chief strategy officer for Bank of America Investment Banking. (Bloomberg)

Jefferies has hired so many doctors in recent years that it’s a natural target for other companies looking to hire senior executives. Citigroup, for example, took on Derek McNulty after three and a half years there, to be their new head of chemicals coverage in North America. (Reuters)

It may be winter in the industry, but Canadians are used to the cold – RBC sees “great opportunity” for its trading business to break into the top ten (Bloomberg)

Why is the Bloomberg Terminal so entrenched in banking? The answer involves considering TikTok, the Kardashians, the 70s TV series “Dallas”, Ferraris, iPhones and LeBron James. (FT)

Man GLG, who hired Rob Leach from Jefferies to be their new head of ECM (Financial news)

Congratulations to BofA Equity Research, champions of Europe. Commissions to BNPP Exane, which lost its title from last year by just one point. (Institutional investor)

If you can live with the slightly jarring LinkedIn-Content style line breaks, an interesting article from someone who left Goldman to join a crypto-fintech startup explaining why they did it. (Rebellion Research)

Although it’s a job with a built-in time limit, there seems to be a lot of clientele when it comes to raising children – many super-rich who have hired private tutors for their children for the pandemic decided to keep them on anyway after it was over. (WSJ)

picture by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

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