Morning Coffee: Five career tips for budding bankers by JPMorgan exec, smeared investment banker takes “voluntary leave”

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Jimmy Lee, vice chairman of JPMorgan and renowned investment banker, has been doling out career advice to young bankers who want to succeed. There are five pieces of guidance, some seem obvious – but then sage career advice always appears so – others appear slightly unwise unless you’re already somewhat successful.

They are a) Work hard: “There’s just no getting around that,” says Lee, bursting the bubble of junior bankers thinking they’re getting an easier ride. b) Develop expertise, and he’s not just talking about one business area. “You have to know each of the major products exceptionally well,” he says. Lee’s comments echo other senior bankers who spoke of the need to make lateral moves throughout your career. c) Be honest with people, give “objective advice”, especially to CEOs who don’t always need to hear what will please them in the short-term, he says. “As long as you have thought it through,” he adds. Probably wise to wait until you’re a bit more senior on this one. d) Develop emotional intelligence: “It’s really just about people”. And e) You will inevitably make mistakes, but be accountable for them and learn from them: “Figure out what made you make the mistake and figure out how not to make the same mistake again,” he muses.

Separately, Sage Kelly, head of Jefferies’ healthcare investment banking group who has been hitting the headlines for personal indiscretions during a messy divorce, has been granted a “voluntary leave of absence”.

“The media has been reporting on one person’s very personal and inflammatory allegations, some of which relates to several of our employee-partners and two of our clients. We cannot express how deeply we regret the agony and distraction that this has caused all of us, not to mention our clients, each of whom has categorically denied the allegations,” Jefferies CEO Richard Handler wrote in a memo to employees that was leaked on Dealbreaker yesterday.

Kelly’s estranged wife Christina has alleged that he regularly abused drink and drugs, and pressured her into extramarital sex with a client and his girlfriend. He’s the ‘real life’ Wolf of Wall Street, she says, not that Jordan Belfort is a fictional character or anything.

Kelly’s duties at Jefferies will be taken over by head of investment banking Ben Lorello.


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