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Morning Coffee: JPMorgan analysts' hack comes for juniors at Wells Fargo. Balyasny's UK team takes harsh pay cut

JPMorgan's investment banking analysts are now mostly back in the office. But when they weren't and were complaining about attempts to monitor their industriousness at home, they found a way around the bank's systems of oversight: mouse jigglers. 

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Mouse jigglers were first reported at JPMorgan in the summer of 2022 and were seen as a means of evading JPMorgan's "Workplace Activity Data Utility" ("WADU") data collection system. Two years later, Bloomberg reports that similar jiggling devices have resulted in the firing of more than 12 people at Wells Fargo. A regulatory filing says the dismissed individuals at Wells Fargo were, "discharged after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work.”

It's possible that the mouse jigglers used by the Wells Fargo bankers were not the best. Various threads on Reddit suggest that some jigglers are less detectable than the rest, although all are detectable if an employer also asks for intermittent automated screenshots of the work you're doing. Some people suggest the best way to simulate actual work is to attach the face of a mouse to a watch so that it moves whenever you move your hand. 

The Financial Times reports that most of the Wells Fargo employees fired for using the devices were junior, although one had been with the bank for seven years, presumably making them a VP who should have known better. The bank said it “holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behaviour”.

Wells Fargo is comparatively lenient with working from home and only requires juniors in the office three days a week. It may have second thoughts about this now it knows that juniors have been gaming its systems.

Separately, Balyasny's UK business was blamed for contributing to a $100m loss last year. Recently released accounts for the year to December 2023 reveal that profits at the hedge fund's UK entity (Balynasy Asset Management UK) made a profit of £5m, down from £26m the previous year. Money available for distribution between Balyasny's partners fell by the same amount. Financial News notes that headcount at Balyasny International Asset Management, another UK subsidiary, fell from 266 to 219 people over the year. 

Meanwhile....

Aaron Weiner, who's leaving Coatue, is getting backing from Millennium to join his own fund. (Bloomberg) 

Marshall Wace and Capula are thinking of expanding into Abu Dhabi. (Bloomberg) 

Robert Tau, a star fixed-income macro trader for Balyasny in Asia is joining Millennium with his team. (Business Insider) 

Citadel Securities has hired three sterling rates traders and five salespeople in London alongside the four euro rates traders and two salespeople it has in Paris. Paris is its European rates trading hub. (Bloomberg) 

Jain Global has got a Singapore office that can seat 40 and has plans for a Hong Kong office of a similar size. (Bloomberg) 

Sri Shivananda, JPMorgan's new firmwide CTO who joined from PayPal, does actually have an AI background. Shivananda led the rollout of several new AI tools at PayPal, including one that predicts how customers would like to check out. (Business Insider) 

Elizabeth Warren is proposing a bill that says private equity executives who “loot” health care business such as hospitals and nursing homes could face six years in prison if their looting results in a patient's death. (Quartz) 

Revolut is moving to a new building in Canary Wharf as it plans for a 40% increase in headcount. (Finextra) 

Ex-Credit Suisse banker Caroline Waddington is the CFO of St James's Place. (Bloomberg) 

America’s $4trn leveraged-finance market now comprises junk bonds, leveraged loans and assets managed by private-credit firms, in roughly equal proportions. But the golden age for private credit may be coming to an end. (Economist) 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS, Whatsapp or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Or email editortips@efinancialcareers.com. Signal also available.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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