It’s as good as it gets in New York
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It’s as good as it gets in New York

One of the perks of working for a global bank is the possibility of a transfer to an office in a different country. A friend of mine recently had the good fortune, so it seemed, to move to the US. But alas, events conspired against him.

The fellow was chuffed when he clinched a coveted position in his firm’s New York branch. It would be his first time living outside Asia and he was so eager for the move that he even acquired a dubious American accent a couple of months before leaving.

Once he had arrived, this chap was kind enough to phone regularly with unsolicited updates about his exciting new life. He was living in an apartment with a view of Central Park. He had membership to Soho House. He spotted Robert De Niro in his local coffee house.

But my (smug) friend’s luck was short-lived. The New York branch was found to have violated local regulations and was slapped with a fine running into hundreds of millions of dollars — and was given only days to pay up. Ouch.

The New York operation took on something of a pariah status within his organisation and in the shake-up that followed, my friend, who had not even been working in the US at the time that the oversights occurred, found himself on a flight back to Hong Kong to rejoin his old team, only a few months after starting his new life.

We caught up at Captain’s Bar the other day. “At least the alcohol here tastes just as good,” he said. And we drank to that.