Global Finance Wants to Protect Its Culture. First, It Should Reform It
Bloomberg Markets|December 2020 - January 2021
EVERYWHERE, the stewards of capitalism are in flux, grappling with the implications of a radically different future that’s set to play out from home offices, living rooms, and kitchen tables around the world.
SREE VIDYA BHAKTAVATSALAM

This is a big moment for an industry that has long lionized alpha-male “tough guys” who wear their stamina as a badge of honor and view the need for work-life flexibility as an admission of weakness. From New York to London to Hong Kong, the hard-charging culture of finance has been tied to the towering edifices that cram in thousands of overachievers, the cutthroat chaos of the trading floors, and the relentless schmoozing that accompanies the entry into the upper echelons.

The new workplace reality, with hundreds of thousands of bankers working from home for the foreseeable future, has spurred considerable angst among the financial elite. One by one, powerful men have lamented the damage to their companies’ cultures— cultures they’ve benefited from and sought to perpetuate. Sergio Ermotti, who stepped down as chief executive officer of Zurich-based UBS Group AG on Nov. 1, said it’s “especially difficult for banks to create and sustain cohesiveness and a culture when employees stay at home.”

In September, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon pushed for a return to normal, warning of slipping productivity and alienation among workers. BlackRock Inc.’s Laurence Fink worried about the serendipitous “water cooler moments” being lost as Zoom calls supplant impromptu encounters. Senior leaders at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Barclays Plc, and others have pointed to the vital role that face-to-face interactions play in preserving the fabric of their companies’ cultures.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG MARKETSView All

“I've Had to Think Differently”

IN SEPTEMBER, Jane Fraser shattered the financial industry’s ultimate glass ceiling when she was named the next chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc., one of the world’s three most important banks.

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
December 2020 - January 2021

The Prodigy

Yoyo Chang turned a hunch born in an English high school cafeteria into a next-generation payments app backed by serious, well-heeled investors

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
December 2020 - January 2021

The Fintech Revolution Is Finally Here— And So Are the Regulators

SPEAKING IN OCTOBER to his banking brethren at the world’s biggest payments confab—the annual Sibos conference— Jamie Dimon didn’t mince words.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
December 2020 - January 2021

Opening Up

China’s entry into the WTO upended global manufacturing. Now it’s poised to disrupt the financial system— and the consequences could be just as dramatic and surprising

9 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
December 2020 - January 2021

Global Finance Wants to Protect Its Culture. First, It Should Reform It

EVERYWHERE, the stewards of capitalism are in flux, grappling with the implications of a radically different future that’s set to play out from home offices, living rooms, and kitchen tables around the world.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
December 2020 - January 2021

Tame Inflation Risks With These Hedging Strategies

FOR MANY INVESTORS in the U.S., high inflation may feel like a distant worry—an historical footnote from the 1970s or a problem of poorly run economies in emerging markets. But there are signs indicating that some investors are worried. Bloomberg can help you see how they’re hedging their portfolios and what you can do to prepare for a dramatic change in prices.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2020

The Crisis Fighters

The Crisis Fighters Central bankers used to bail out financial institutions. In a world wracked by Covid-19, they’ve doled out almost $9 trillion, some of it to a motley cast of unlikely beneficiaries. Will it ever end?

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2020

Using Growth Factors to Pick Investments in Equities and Bonds

IN LATE MARCH, the U.S. markets started their amazing recovery from the Covid-19 chaos and economic uncertainty.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2020

Looking to Follow the Fed? Here's How to Find Key Data for That

CHAIR JEROME POWELL has repeatedly said the Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support economic activity.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2020

China's Growth Story Isn't What It Seems

GROWING UP IN Bulgaria with the Soviet bloc crumbling around me, I knew from experience the communist gift for turning gold into dross.

5 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2020