GUEST COMMENT: An anthropological investigation of the middle office

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By no fault of my own, I work in the middle office. During the long hours I have spent monitoring P&Ls and perfecting the processes that keep this organisation afloat, I have developed a deep understanding of the personality types to be found herein.

I shall now elaborate upon these for your benefit.

1) The anal manager

The anal manager is extremely proud at having ascended to this position. He values his job highly, values his function highly, values the bank highly, and worships the shareholders.

He is susceptible to wild mood swings. At times he can be likeable, but generally he is rude, irascible and inconsiderate.

2) The old associate

The old associate is both pitied and valued by the anal manager. He is not management material himself (lacking either people skills or self-discipline), but he knows the business and the systems inside out. He will remain an associate indefinitely, and knows it.

3) The disillusioned analyst

The disillusioned analyst has been around for a few years and is starting to see the futility of it all. When he joined the salary looked good. 36 months on it doesn't, the role looks pointless, and so does banking in general. Postgraduate qualifications are his only hope of escape.

Parties like it's 1999 on weekends.

4) The anal analyst

The anal analyst wants to know everything he can about the role. He will brown nose the anal manager as much as his humanly possible. He yearns for associatedom and dreams of what he will spend that extra 10-15k on.

The anal analyst can often be found trying to take credit for various initiatives by agreeing strongly that they're a very good idea.

5)The star trader

The star trader is not a natural inhabitant of the middle office, but will sometimes drop by. He is humble, friendly and helpful. He always has time for the middle office. Despite being a top earner he dresses very modestly.

The star trader is my personal favourite.

6) Wannabe star trader

The wannabe star trader is the opposite of above. He is generally very picky about the reports he gets from the middle office and feels that everyone should take the blame for his poor performance.

The wannabe star trader can be found trawling through eFinancialCareers with the intention of making sarcastic comments wherever possible.

7)The awkward quant

The awkward quant will not meet your eye. If he meets you in the lift he will stare very hard at the floor and avoids general banter/small talk.

There is a programming book on his desk. He knows the price of everything in Tesco Express, aisle 4.

8) The rebel

The rebel quite frankly could not give a flying **** about losing his job.

He performs to an acceptable level and does exactly what it says on the tin. He is often found being cocky to anal manager and the anal manager fears him in return.

The rebel spends a lot of time chatting, trying to seduce attractive colleagues.

9)The Essex boys

The Essex boys are usually cash traders. They can be found blurting out 80's pop hits on the trading floor.

Generally a good laugh. Thick as two planks though.

10)The pretty PA

Chirpy Essex accent, nice girl, all the women hate her, because all the guys drool over her.

11) The new money

Can often be found reminiscing about how they love ski ing. Despite having been only twice.

12) The category defier

Average Joe. Likeable on average, although variance is significant.

The author is a slightly disillusioned middle office banker who would like to be a trader.

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