Morning Coffee: Banking intern stuck in Afghanistan. Banks that raised salaries once come back for another go

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Morning Coffee: Banking intern stuck in Afghanistan. Banks that raised salaries once come back for another go

Until last Friday, Miles Routledge seemed to be the average second year university student wanting to go into finance and prone to making slightly grandiose claims about their achievements. Now, he's becoming well known for something else that will definitely differentiate him, but maybe not in a good way.

Routledge, whose Facebook account says he's an investment banking intern (but who actually spent the past summer interning in wealth management at somewhere called Infinity Financial Solutions), and who says he runs the investment banking society at university, where he's a physics student scoring top grades, flew out to Afghanistan on August 13th for a holiday.

“I like risk, I’m a banker, so it makes sense," Miles (who also calls himself Miles Arthur Le-vesconte Routledge), told the London Times. “I hate lying around on a beach, so I wanted to do something a little bit different. After graduating, I’ll have a full-time job and maybe a family, so won’t have the opportunity to do things like this again. I thought [Afghanistan] looked quite nice, the food seemed amazing, and it was dirt cheap.”

Much of what has ensued has been documented on Twitch and 4Chan, from which it's been posted on Twitter. Routledge, who also said he Googled most dangerous countries to visit and "used it as a shopping list," initially posted that he was confident Kabul wouldn't fall for 30 days, and that if it did then things would get "interesting" and people should "edit a laughing soundtrack" over his posts, now admits to being in a "pickle" and to having 'bitten off more than he can chew.' He's currently in a United Nations safe house and says that his tour guide fears for his family after saving his life. This hasn't prevented him posting about the good food in Afghanistan and jokingly suggesting that the lads come over and have a night on the town.

"If you die, you will die a legend, but if you live you will return to civilisation as a hero," says one respondent on 4Chan. Whether Miles, who also says he's been estranged from his family for three years and has accepted the possibility he may die, will also receive a boost to his banking career is less clear. - Banks like people who take risks, but the risks are supposed to be calculated ones.

Separately, having raised salaries in April and May respectively, Bank of America and Guggenheim have raised them again. The first time around, Bank of America hiked its salaries by $10k to what we thought was $100k for first years, but turned out to have only been $95k. It's now increased them again to $100k for first years, $105k for second years and $110k for third years. The latest increase is across banking and global markets, backdated to February. Similarly, Guggenheim raised first year salaries a second time to $110k from $100k previously. 

The new moves come after a summer of salary increases that has seen the baseline for first year salaries reset to $100k, while an elite few banks are paying $100k and Evercore is paying $120k. The real question now is whether bonuses will be reduced proportionately. Most U.S. investment banks, plus Deutsche Bank, are thought to pay analyst bonuses in August. 

Meanwhile...

Bank of America's message to its employees: "In the face of increased market activity, your contributions and commitment have become more important than ever to the continuous success of our business. Fostering an environment where you can build a long-tenured career is of the utmost importance to us.” (Zerohedge)

Credit Suisse strengthened its risk committee with Axel Lehmann from UBS and invited Juan Colombas, the ex-chief risk officer at Lloyds, to join its board. (Bloomberg) 

Double your income while working at home by doing two jobs. A software engineer who was doing one job said he was only doing three to 10 hours of actual work a week. “The rest of it is just attending meetings and pretending to look busy.” (WSJ) 

Nations that listed to positive music have superior stock market returns. A one standard deviation increase in Music Sentiment is associated with an 8.1 basis point increase in a country’s stock market during the same week (4.3% annualised). (London Business School) 

What seems to be ambition is in fact fear – whether it be the fear of poverty or the fear of falling short of parental expectations. (Stumbling and Mumbling) 

If you study electrical and communications engineering, you will almost certainly recoup your investment in education within five years. If you study drama or dance, you will probably earn less than the average high school graduate. (NY Times) 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

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