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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs banker with "muscular torso" offers style insights. The worst place to work for the Big Four

Who is “David”, the 30-year-old Goldman Sachs employee whom the New York Times encountered in New York last week? He has become a style icon.

The NYT encountered David in Brookfield Place, a shopping and office complex one minute from Goldman's head office at 200 West Street. In theory, Goldman Sachs has been all about being dressed-down, ever since the dress code was relaxed in 2019. In fact, David suggests Goldman people are still as dressed-up as before. It's simply that dressing up for a banking job today has a different set of rules. 

David's outfit reflects the new parameters, and the NYT usefully outlines where he got it from. There's a "crisp white shirt with an open spread collar" which cost him $99 from Mizzen+Main. There are some $148 "elastomultiester” navy side pocket New Venture stretch pants from the Lululemon business casual range. There are lace-up black Oxfords from Bruno Magli, the cost of which is undisclosed. "“We’re a little less dressy than before,” says David, of his choices. 

Given David's hesitance about disclosing his full identity, the New York Times doesn't have his full name. But it does have plenty of photos of identikit Davids strolling around Brookfield Place in similar "banker bro" outfits of navy trousers, tailored shirts and black shoes. Another GS employee, Arjun Menon, a 33-year-old VP in the investment strategy group, was spotted wearing similar attire, but from a different source: Menon's white shirt, blue trousers and black shoes originated at Suit Supply. 

While this combination is the new norm for male bankers in their mid-30s, things can be switched up a bit as you advance. An unnamed "investment banker with a blue chip firm" informed the NYT that, "Unlined cashmere blazers, dark jeans and Allbirds are symbolic vectors of seniority.” If you like, said Menon, you can even wear jeans to work at Goldman on a Friday...

Separately, however painful it is to work under heavy drinking Big Four partners in Europe, it's unlikely to be as excruciating as working for KPMG in Saudi Arabia. 

The Financial Times has an exposé of life within KPMG's Saudi office, where it says unethical employment practices are commonplace and employees have been left struggling with physical and mental health issues.  

'Sudden and unexpected' termination under a local labour rule, Article 77, seems common. When it's invoked, employees not only lose their jobs, but their right to remain in Saudi Arabia. Chaos ensues as families are uprooted and children are removed from schools. 

Racial issues and differing social norms also seem to have been problematic. “You wipe your nose wrong as a western expat and you can be dealt with harshly," said one former partner. 

The FT unearthed safety fears. Some KPMG Saudi employees thought their phones were being tapped. One said he would never have taken his young family to the Middle East if he'd known what it was like. 

When a popular partner died by suffocation after being summarily dismissed, some at the firm suggested he may have killed himself. Others said that being let go in similar circumstances had been devastating. “You would expect KPMG to hold higher standards. It is unbelievable. This was a case of abuse. It has taken me three years to get over that saga. They really push people mentally to the edge," said one. 

Meanwhile...

Thomas Doyle, the former EMEA head of synthetic swap sales at Goldman Sachs, alleges he was fired in 2021 after raising red flags to compliance following situations where he thought his colleagues had mistreated clients. Doyle, who received a $218k bonus in his last year at Goldman, says he was subject to "vile and bullying language" and sworn at by his boss. He was let go in July 2021. (Reuters) 

Credit Suisse is considering a sale of its US asset management business. (Bloomberg) 

42% of Deloitte's 80,000-strong US workforce identify their race as other than white. At EY, it's 40%. At PWC, it's 39%. At KPMG, it's only 35%. (Financial Times) 

Morgan Stanley's James Gorman is not very optimistic about the immediate future of fintech. “You’re going to see a little bit of a washout in some of the fintech space,” he said. "At these prices, the sellers are only there if they need to sell.” (Financial Times) 

Millenarian hedge fund managers are out in force following the recent economic chaos in the UK. “The UK LDI industry is the first casualty of the end of the ‘money for nothing’ era -- the first dead fish to float to the surface as rising central bank interest rates act like dynamite fishing in global asset markets,” says Paul Marshall. (Bloomberg) 

New British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says the banking bonus cap wasn't working and that more money can be extracted from bankers in other ways. (Financial News) 

Goldman Sachs' new recruiting ads pitch the firm as a place of purpose. “Helping conquer cancer with AI is possible,” says one. “Financing the all-electric future is possible,” says another. “Engineering quantum algorithms is possible,” says a third. (New York Post)

Christian Meissner is leaving Credit Suisse. (Bloomberg) 

Coinbase is expanding across France, Spain, the UK and Ireland and has hired Daniel Seifert from German fintech Solarisbank to facilitate the growth. (Bloomberg) 

Click here to create a profile on eFinancialCareers. Make yourself visible to recruiters hiring for jobs where you can wear white shirts and blue trousers. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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