Morning Coffee: Deciphering the changes at the top of JPMorgan. Anonymous junior explains joys of private credit
Citi is supposed to be the bank restructuring its senior ranks, but JPMorgan has had a good go at shaking up its own top people too.
Yesterday's press release from JPMorgan is a study in the use of grandiose corporate vernacular. People there are not merely changing jobs or leaving, they are 'informing the company of a desire to take on an exciting new role at the firm,' or 'informing the company of a desire to pursue outside opportunities.' The bank is not just grateful but "immensely grateful," efforts are "outstanding," commitments are "unwavering."
Within this 'spectrum of synergies', a few things have changed. Most particularly, Daniel Pinto, who was last seen at Davos talking about hiring, is floating close to Jamie Dimon and sounding more like his successor. "I am particularly blessed to have an exceptional partner," says Dimon of Pinto in the corporate prose. "Now we can increasingly take advantage of his extraordinary capabilities across the firm as we continue to jointly manage the company..."
What Dimon doesn't explicitly say is that Pinto has also been stripped of his responsibilities running the corporate and investment bank, which are going to Jennifer Piepszak from the consumer bank and Troy Rohrbaugh, a former FX derivatives trader, who'd been running markets and securities services. At the same time, though, Marc Badrichani, a research guy who'd been running markets and securities services with Troy is leaving and Jim Casey, who'd been co-heading the investment bank with Viswas Raghavan is off to do something "exciting" elsewhere in the firm, leaving Viswas to do the job alone.
In other words, JPMorgan has stripped out some of its co-heads in the way that Citi says it wants to. However, it's also promoted Jason Sippel (the London-based head of global equities and credit) and Pranav Thakur (the head of global macro) as co-heads of the trading business, although it appears they were doing these roles already.
While many of JPMorgan's changes are titular tweaks and not substantive, the big deal is Pinto's new presence alongside Jamie as an "exceptional partner." He won't necessarily be making any big strategic decisions, but he focused "on the execution of our lines-of-business priorities," which sounds like good preparation for running the entire bank in the future.
Separately, Bloomberg has been speaking to the anonymous junior 'public credit' guy behind the High Yield Harry Instagram account and he's been explaining why you might want to work in private instead of public credit markets.
Practitioners of private credit are paid more, says HYH, and the job is more interesting. "With private credit, you can structure things in a lot of different ways and the opportunity set is very large," he reflects. "You can get a lot more comprehensive data room and really get in front of the management teams, really make sure they're answering the questions you need."
It also sounds like private credit jobs can be quite stressful. Private credit firms work a lot with sponsors (private equity firms) and sponsors want them to move fast, says HYH. You work hard, he says. It's about, "modeling a deal out...building out an internal memorandum. Detailing the transaction, the sponsor, the company, getting nuts and bolts on how the company works..."
However, HYH used to work in banking and he suggests private credit is by far the better bet. Banking pay has fallen, people are back in the office and banking hours are still circa 90 hours a week, even if that's down from the 100 they used to be. The new diminished banking bonuses are far below either public or private credit, says HYH. "I think if we don't get deal flow ramping back up in ‘24, then I think things get increasingly challenged."
“Citi bonuses were straight-up disrespectful." (New York Post)
Blackstone has some good news for M&A bankers. “The wheels of merger and acquisition activity are picking up . . . We’d like to [invest] more before it is a consensus view because, by the time you get there, then valuations have moved.” (Financial Times)
Blackstone says Fed rate cuts are the defining factor for the recover. "It’s reasonable to believe the central bank will lower rates in the first half of this year...it may not happen as quickly as the market is hoping.” (Bloomberg)
It's not just portfolio managers. More than a quarter of UK employees are subject to non-compete clauses. (Financial Times)
Watch manufacturing company Swatch had a tempestuous investor call in which the CEO said that if investors don’t like the company or the way it’s managed and governed, they can invest elsewhere. That was “not very constructive." (Bloomberg)
It's a bad time to work in Edinburgh, where Abrdn and Baillie Gifford are both cutting jobs. (Bloomberg)
Bank of Montreal terminated four mining bankers in Toronto for homophobic bullying on Teams chats. (Globe and Mail)
Microsoft is cutting 1,900 people from its video games division. (Bloomberg)
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