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Morning Coffee: How to sign-off an email like Citi's most iconic banker. The Beast who went to Barclays

It's not unusual to eulogize someone after their death, but in the case of Alberto Verme, at various times Citi's global head of banking, head of EMEA banking and member of the energy and utilities team, the enthusiasm seems genuine. 

Verme, who died of cancer aged 65 on Wednesday is lauded by his longterm colleagues as a "true titan" and selfless mentor" (Jane Fraser), as "a great guy" and "among the greatest client bankers ever and in a world of large and complex personalities" (Manolo Falco), and as "an iconic banker with a brain and a soul and a model for how we might all approach work and life" (Fraser and Paco Ybarra).

Part of Verme's greatness seems to rest on what the FT describes as his 'reputation as a rainmaker who could woo senior clients in any geography.' Peruvian by birth, he wooed the Russians and the Saudis and is remembered equally fondly by Michael Klein, the CS First Boston head whom he worked with at Citi and who has been receiving his own lavish plaudits of late despite being entirely alive. Klein describes Verme as "gracious" and "highly respected."

Like many young children, Verme didn't aspire to be a banker. Nor did he aspire to be an astronaut. He wanted to be a poet, and poetic sensibilities may have been part of his appeal. Verme was also known for his email sign-offs. Instead of 'kind regards' or its derivatives, he was partial to "Onwards!" It's something that could catch-on.

Separately, the revelations yesterday about emails sent from Jes Staley to Jeffrey Epstein regarding their apparent friendship and trips to Epstein's island are likely to take the edge off Staley's enjoyment of the £2.3m he received from Barclays in 2022.

The emails have been released as part of a lawsuit brought by the Virgin Islands against JPMorgan Chase. Staley, who is not a defendant and denies knowledge of Epstein's allegedly nefarious activities, allegedly received photos of young women from Epstein when he was Epstein's private banker. On one occasion, Staley wrote: "Maybe they’re tracking u? That was fun. Say hi to Snow White.” Epstein then enquired: “[W]hat character would you like next?” Staley replied: “Beauty and the Beast”. JPMorgan says it didn’t facilitate any possible crimes committed by Epstein.

Meanwhile...

Michael Klein says life will be fine at CS First Boston: it will be profitable and people won't get bonuses that are late and low. (Bloomberg) 

Life in sales: "I'd get to work at 7 a.m., read the overnight news to flag anything notable for clients, and make sure client orders were approved to trade ahead of the market opening. I'd spend the day reacting to client requests and queries and having lunch or meetings with clients if needed. Once the market closed, I'd write reports summarizing the day's movements — and then there'd be more client events in the evening." (Business Insider)

Bank of America was third in the EMEA banking league table for the first time in a decade. Now it wants to stay there. (Financial News) 

Bankers are re-evaluating any exposure to the crypto sector, no matter how small. (WSJ) 

Fidelity wants to hire 4,000 people, mostly in customer services and technology. (Bloomberg) 

KPMG cut 700 staff in the US but it's not planning to cut anyone in the UK. (Financial News) 

Jaime Rogozinski, the founder of WallStreetBets, is suing Reddit for wrongly banning him from moderating his creation. (Quartz) 

Sam Bankman Fried's reclusive friend Gary Wang is testifying against him. Wang was a key figure at FTX but was more reclusive and less exuberant than SBF. He often arrived in the office at 5pm and worked through the night. (Bloomberg) 

Photo by Digital Content Writers India on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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