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Morning Coffee: Deloitte's Christmas party nearly a disaster. Data jobs at JPMorgan were rather dull

It's Christmas party season ('holiday party' if you're in America) and despite financial services firms' attempts to make their events into demure affairs where everyone goes home at 9pm, there are already various allegations of bad behaviour reminiscent of 2018 when an MD and an associate at one U.S. bank came to blows over a girlfriend.

Far be it for us to cast aspersions on anyone's dance moves, but the Deloitte's London Christmas party may have seen some interesting shapes thrown on the dancefloor late last Thursday night. However, it didn't start off that way. The accountancy firm likely booked its event near King's Cross long before there was even a sniff of an election, and then suffered as its staff were unable to fully partake in the festivities for fear of another hung parliament or the triumph of Jeremy Corbyn, which would have required them to leave the party and call concerned clients. As a result, the Times reports that the party venue was filled with "fear," which doesn't exactly sound like fun.

However, this all changed at 10pm when the exit polls came out showing that Boris Johnson had won with a large majority. “When 10pm struck, all the fear in the room suddenly went ‘pop’,” said one attendee. Coincidentally, 'another £10k' reportedly appeared behind the bar. 

Any London bankers depressed at the Conservative landslide and certainty that Brexit will now take place can at least take solace in the thought that Deloitte's staff finally had a good night. Hopefully this will not give way to a bad hangover. 

Separately, as we have cautioned before, data science jobs aren't always as interesting as you might think. Instead of applying machine learning algorithms to unusual data sets in an effort to generate alpha, you're more likely to find yourself spending your time preparing data in an effort to make it usable.

This seems to have been the case at JPMorgan. In a presentation last week, JPMorgan CIO Lori Beer said that until recently, finding and pulling-in data was absorbing 60% of JPMorgan data scientists' time. Given that good data scientists are expensive and hard to find, this wasn't to be desired.

Enter Apoorv Saxena, the man JPMorgan hired from Google in 2018, who is building a new AI team for the bank in San Mateo, California. Saxena's team have reportedly found a way to make both their jobs and those of JPMorgan's other data scientists more interesting.

They've built a tool called OmniAI which does the boring bit of data science for them. The new platform reportedly ingests “minimum viable data” so that models can be built faster. It even verifies that the data is being used in accordance with regulations like data privacy. 

Sounds exciting? It probably is, but Saxena's team aren't using their new tool to find ways of making alpha on trading floors. Initial uses are things like tailoring consumer banking services for individual clients or spotting when JPMorgan bankers are filing dubious expense claims. 


London traders were sleepless on Friday: “I had a quick shower and a change in the morning to get me ready for the day ahead.” (The Times) 

"As someone who has spent a 40-year career in the City, I hope and trust the new government will end the decade-long political practice of “banker bashing”.... The banker bonus cap should also be removed after Brexit, since this has only had the effect of forcing banks to increase fixed salaries and structural overheads. Finally, the outrageous additional corporation tax levy on banks must be scrapped." (The Times) 

A career in banking or a corporate isn't necessarily a good preparation for a career in politics. Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren have been exchanging accusations about their respective pasts at McKinsey & Co. and the law. (Financial Times) 

Mark Munizzi, a former market supervisory officer at UBS was awarded $11m in damages from the bank by a FINRA arbitration panel after wrongfully alleging that he failed to supervise employees effectively. (Advisorhub)

Simon Robey has personally earned more than £100m since leaving Morgan Stanley to start his own boutique, Robey Warshaw, five years ago. (Financial Times) 

The wisdom of deceased banker Felix Rohatyn: Investment banking is not a business; it is a personal service where bankers work hand in hand with their clients. And it is a service that must not simply be about making bigger and bigger deals that reap rewards for only a small group of executives.” (New York Times)

Jamie Dimon: “I am disgusted by racism and hate in any form. Any such behaviour — explicit or veiled, deliberate or unconscious — is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as a company and how we serve our clients and communities every day.” (Financial Times) 

Goldman Sachs is targeting $750bn of its financing, investing and advisory activities to green energy in the next ten years. That's fairly modest on an annual basis. (Financial Times) 

It helps to be a white or Asian male if you want to get to the top in Intel. (Bloomberg) 

The new generation of senior German bankers are very boring. Take Commerzbank's Martin Zielke. (Handelsblatt)

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ka
    kate connley
    24 December 2019

    There are always truths to allegations but top execs cover it up. When you hire children as consultants and out of country employees with no management skills what does a company expect. The annual bills alone for these exclusive drinking parties are enough to fund full 4 year college tuition for two hundred kids.

  • An
    17 December 2019

    There are always allegations of bad behaviour. Whether or not the allegations are true is another matter.

  • An
    16 December 2019

    The Intel article would need to include details of suitable applicants to be meaningful. It isn't clear that it 'helps' to be a white or Asian male.

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