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Morning Coffee: Where you'll find the best bankers in the world. Traditional banking big-wigs invest in fintech

Heading to New York, London or somewhere else?

Which city can claim the title of the top financial centre in the world? London or New York? The City versus the City that Never Sleeps? London Wall up against Wall Street? The Union Jack or the Stars and Stripes? The Big Smoke versus the Big Apple? Etc.

For the nineteenth year running, Z/Yen Group has researched more than 100 financial centres and ranked them based on the following ‘spheres of competitiveness’ criteria: business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure, human capital and reputational and general factors.

The GFCI 19 results are in and … drumroll please … London edged out New York as the most competitive financial centre for the second year in a row by the same razor-thin margin as last year, despite Brexit anxiety.

Three Asian cities rounded out the top five: Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo, in that order.

While Zurich came in sixth and U.S. cities slotted in the next three spots, the report noted, “The historical dominance of the leading centres in Western Europe and North America has eroded over time.” Singapore and Shanghai are projected to increase their significance the most over the next few years.

Separately, the New York Times compiled a “Wall Street who’s who” list of fintech investors who made their names working at traditional banks:

  • Vikram Pandit, former chairman/CEO of Citigroup;
  • John Mack, former CEO of Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston;
  • Jon Winkelried, former president of Goldman Sachs;
  • Christopher Flowers, former Goldman partner; and
  • Anshu Jain, former Deutsche Bank co-CEO.

These men have invested significant sums of money in fintech startups, many of them focused on innovating in cloud computing, mobile or data analytics. Some are on the board of one or more fintech firms and serve as consultants to entrepreneurs.

The Times also noted several significant Wall Street-to-Silicon Valley defections: Ruth Porat, former CFO of Morgan Stanley who now has the same title at Alphabet, Google’s parent company; Anthony Noto, who left Goldman Sachs to become CFO of Twitter; and Blythe Masters, former head of commodities at JPMorgan Chase who joined blockchain technology firm Digital Asset Holdings. The latter recently secured a $50m investment from Goldman and JPMorgan, among other banks.


Deutsche Bank’s revenue from asset management rose 16% to 3.3bn euros ($3.8bn) in 2015 from a year earlier, while income from its wealth management division increased 13% to 2.1bn euros ($2.4bn). (Bloomberg)

Deutsche Bank opened an innovation lab in Silicon Valley with the goal of developing new products, services and processes, and forge deeper relationships with fintech start-ups. (Forbes)

Finance is the wrong business for people committed to the idea of objective truth, because no asset is inherently worth anything, just some multiple of the income you think it will produce over time, which constantly changes. (FT)

Compliance officers at European trading and investment firms may have to cancel their summer holiday plans as the burden of detecting market abuse shifts from the sell-side to the buy-side. (Financial News)

UBS has promoted from within to fill a new role, head of fintech for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (Reuters)

HSBC, RBS and Barclays plan to close 400-plus branches across the U.K. this year. (Reuters)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard will force brokers to do what's best for clients instead of looking out for themselves, hopefully eliminating conflicts of interest and potentially saving Americans billions as they pay lower fees on their retirement investments. (Bloomberg)

The DOL made concessions to the industry by revising its fiduciary rule in response to asset managers’ and brokers’ concerns. (WSJ)

Wells Fargo and PayPal have taken a stand against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law that “perpetuates discrimination.” (San Francisco Business Times)

Two former State Street executives within its transition management business were charged in a five-count indictment of securities fraud and wire fraud for hatching a scheme to add secret commissions to stock and bond trades. (The Trade)

Former Barclays employees are on trial for allegedly manipulating Libor. (New York Times)

Morgan Stanley is likely to make hires to bolster its “tailored lending” business as it aims to double custom loans for wealthy clients. (Reuters)

The best thing managers can do for all their employees — and especially those facing work-family conflicts — is to do the hard work of actually evaluating performance, not chair time or face time. (Harvard Business Review)

Stockbrokers, advisers, financiers, analysts, traders and market-makers on London’s junior stock exchange are having nightmares about MiFID II, which will usher in the biggest overhaul of the broker landscape in decades. (Evening Standard)

How to master the holy grail of programming and become a good coder. (Quartz)

Financial services professionals do not put in more effort when their bonus is larger. (Stumbling and Mumbling)

How long is too long for a man to go between haircuts? (New York Times)

Photo caption: PAPStock/iStock/Thinkstock

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor

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