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Real bankers don’t sweat compliance

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By Taipan
06 Nov 2014

It is funny to meet the younger generation of the Street’s finest because while they might look all ballsy on the outside, on the inside they’re just plain wimps.

An old friend of mine who works for a Singapore bank was in town the other day and he brought along this one of his juniors who had worked on a bond they had executed together the previous week.

The young man certainly looked the part — Hugo Boss suit, Gucci shoes and a swagger just the right side of arrogant. I have to admit, I was quite impressed.

But just as I was about to treat him to a glass of the finest Scotch his whole demeanour changed as he started talking about the bank’s terrifying compliance team. Apparently the busybody lawyers had threatened to gag him for going on the record about a deal without their permission.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it really is no fun being a banker these days. We’re hardly masters of the universe. These days you can’t even be master of a spreadsheet.

But there are some that have not succumbed, such as my Singaporean banker friend who is a bit of a star at his organisation. Apparently the new compliance officer threatened to shut him down for good too after he spoke on the record about a trade without her permission.

“Don't you know who I am?” he retorted, letting her know in no uncertain terms that he was quite capable of being his own compliance officer. Now that’s a man I’m happy to share a drink with. 


By Taipan
06 Nov 2014