The Pained Trader: champagne breakfast

There are a few possible explanations as to why somebody might still be working in The City after three decades.

  • By The Pained Trader
  • 12 Apr 2017
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Here is the first: you are tremendously successful, you have coined it big time and you have a healthy sinecure somewhere, ('harvesting mode', I believe they call it) that enables you to come and go as you please, arriving late on a Monday and shooting off to your Cotswolds bolthole after lunch on a Friday. 

You treat the office as a place where you meet friends, check email and have your secretary book your social engagements, cars and flights. You are very pleased with yourself. You regard the City as a kind of Utopia. You cannot understand why not everyone shares your mindset.

You win no prizes, Gentle Reader, for surmising that I do not number myself among that category. 

The alternatives are more multifaceted but the common denominator for those on the other side of the equation is essentially the same: you are still working because you must. 

I'm not refusing to hang up the headset and turn the big figure on the alarm clock to seven because I want to be an inspiration to slow adults everywhere. I'm polishing turds because I have to; there is no choice. 

At the stage in my so-called career when I should be employed by Feet Up Securities, I find there is no coasting at all. It's been knife-edge all the way. I can't take my foot off the gas and cruise in neutral. 

Apart from when I was actually in the middle of working a very large order or had just arrived at a new firm and not seen it all unravel yet, I never felt able to relax. Please don't ask me to relax, either, because it's only the tension that is holding me together and keeping this show on the road.

Never escaped

Now, there are also those who have done reasonably well in the Square Mile but for one reason or another have never managed to escape its clutches. 

One hears of so-and-so who, in his late 50s, is still plugging away at a bulge-bracket shop, and one thinks to oneself, "But he must be worth a fortune. Why does he need to soldier on at this point?" 

And then you hear about the divorce, the privately educated children, the mistress who spends it like Beckham, the spells in the Priory, the online gaming account, the ill-timed foray into Spanish real-estate in 2008: the fortune spunked. 

You realise that there are probably lots of people who mistook good fortune for talent and blew the fortune because they thought it would last forever. The typical arc of a career in the City is often from back office to junior trading position to senior trader to head of trading to head of equities, from small shop to bulge-bracket and then all the way back down in reverse, ending up on your arse. It can make a perfect parabola.

I'm not one of those, either. Some of us have just plodded along, avoiding excess, coke, hookers and addiction, dodging the mythical bonuses, never hitting the big time, no million-dollar payouts, timing and luck seldom propitious, innocents in the Machiavellian intrigue and cutthroat politics of the trading floor.

For us, the streets might not have been paved with gold but they weren't paved with horse dung, either. We were never completely destitute or without prospects or the potential to make a fortune, though. 

This is the torture: riches always quivering tantalisingly on the horizon, just out of reach, usually some bastard nudging it a bit further away whenever you came close.

Champagne breakfast

These are the silent, unspoken thoughts I had this morning when a friend of mine, Category A City-type, hosted a champagne breakfast for a select coterie of a half-dozen friends at his Pall Mall club. 

It was a break in routine for us all but everyone else there seemed to have a better routine than mine. 

In contrast to myself, who arrived late, sweating profusely, in desperate need of the toilet and a 10-pound note to pay the cabbie waiting outside, and checking his phone/email every few minutes to see if anything was going wrong (or — less likely this — right) everyone else seemed affluent, relaxed, tanned and sanguine. 

The chatter was of personalities and acquaintances, those on the way up, or like me on the way down, of exotic Easter holidays  and how enjoyable it all was at this autumnal stage of one's career, just enjoying the job for the pleasure it can be when things are dandy.

I marvelled how people could be long a bottle and a half of champagne at 9am and still feel in control of their lives. (Being in control of their lives before breakfast probably helped.) 

Some sauntered back to their office afterwards at their leisure, important enough to isolate themselves in an office and avoid damaging interaction with colleagues. 

Some were sloping off towards an early lunch. Another was calling it quits and going home — because he could — which left just me: half-pissed and in no fit state to conduct a very important interview. I fell asleep in the corner of a St James coffee shop and arrived late, redolent of the odours of the tavern, smelling of red wine and desperation.  

I'll let you know how I got on.

  • By The Pained Trader
  • 12 Apr 2017

All International Bonds

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Citi 417,761.51 1606 9.02%
2 JPMorgan 380,362.89 1737 8.21%
3 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 364,928.71 1322 7.88%
4 Goldman Sachs 269,252.76 932 5.81%
5 Barclays 267,252.43 1082 5.77%

Bookrunners of All Syndicated Loans EMEA

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 HSBC 45,449.36 196 6.56%
2 BNP Paribas 38,734.80 217 5.59%
3 Deutsche Bank 37,615.10 139 5.43%
4 JPMorgan 34,724.19 118 5.01%
5 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 33,835.53 112 4.88%

Bookrunners of all EMEA ECM Issuance

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 JPMorgan 22,475.46 105 8.65%
2 Morgan Stanley 19,057.00 101 7.34%
3 Citi 17,812.08 111 6.86%
4 UBS 17,693.89 71 6.81%
5 Goldman Sachs 17,333.10 99 6.67%