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Morning Coffee: Who is behind the Litquidity Instagram account? Layoffs at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs

Who is 'Lit,' the man behind the Litquidity Instagram account with going on 800,000 followers? After his lunch with the Financial Times, we still don't know, but the pool of potentials is slightly shallower.

The FT's lunch reveals that Lit is a US banker with a thing for expensive restaurants, rosé wine and espresso martinis. This doesn't narrow the field much, but we also now know that Lit is a man from an immigrant family in Florida who worked in banking, left for a private equity firm, and then went back to banking. Unlike the head of Barclays' South East Asian investment bank who also moved back to banking from PE and is thriving, Lit then quit to run his Instagram account full time.

What Lit doesn't seem to be is a brash banker in the style of John LeLeFevre, the ex-Citi debt syndicate VP who emerged as the man behind the once-popular Goldman Sachs Elevator Twitter account, or Mark Moran, the ex-Centerview associate who once worked for him. In real life, Lit says he's a diminutive character:  “People would be surprised that I’m not, like, funny in the office,” he told the FT. “I was just kind of ...there....I was the guy double and triple checking the work."

He was also the guy with crippling anxiety. He didn't want to go back into banking from private equity but was bumped into the move when his PE firm migrated to Florida. He toyed with running the Instagram account full time then but said he wasn't ready: "I wasn’t at the point where I felt like I could justify it to myself, or my family”.

Instead, he reverted to the sell-side for the money and prestige and then struggled with anxiety and chest pains amid the "false sense of urgency, the middle-manager-imposed deadlines.” When you work in banking, you're the client's "bitch," he reflected. "I was trying to be the perfect banker, trying to perform well, so I could get a good bonus." But the physical and mental toll was too much. 

Now that he's out of banking, Lit says he's derisked his life and is in a better place. It doesn't matter to him if a meme isn't deemed to be funny. And by shaming senior bankers who fire-off aggressive and ill-considered memos, he feels that he's providing a service to people still in the industry: “[Senior employees] have had no choice but to become more self-aware. Now, if they send an absurd email that is worded ridiculously or is too harsh, they know more than likely someone will send it to me or other pages, and then we’d post it.”

Separately, the summer spate of banking layoffs is gathering pace. Goldman Sachs is cutting around 125 managing directors globally according to Bloomberg, and JPMorgan is trimming 40 investment bankers in the US alone. 

Goldman's cuts are presumably part of the second round of 250 layoffs flagged in late May. JPMorgan's cuts, however, seem to be something new. The bank isn't commenting, but Bloomberg says they span 'all levels of seniority'. 

Meanwhile...

Citi is going to start monitoring employees' office attendance. It wants people in three days a week and not everyone is complying. (Financial News) 

Deutsche Bank recruited Joe Lai from Credit Suisse as chairman of origination and advisory for Asia. (Bloomberg) 

Jefferies is hiring 20 bankers from Credit Suisse in Asia. Most of them are juniors. (Bloomberg) 

UBS is offering Credit Suisse bankers temporary jobs while it tries to work out who to keep. "In Europe, tensions are particularly high as there’s a lot of overlap in coverage. There’s a sense that senior bankers at UBS are favouring their own bankers, who they know and trust.” (Financial News) 

Citadel Securities is entering the corporate bond market in the US. The long term goal is to build a position similar to the one the firm already holds in rates, treasuries and ETFs. (Fi-desk) 

Goldman Sachs is likely to take a large writedown for its 2021 acquisition of fintech lender GreenSky after seeking to unload the business. (CNBC) 

David Solomon won't disappear because the only viable alternative is John Waldron who is too close to Solomon to act as Brutus. (NY Post) 

After its profits increased nine times last year, InCommodities, a Danish trading firm backed by Goldman Sachs, plans to expand in Singapore. (Bloomberg) 

While working for Lloyds Bank between the ages of 19 and 64, Jonathan Cocks saved a pension worth almost £2 million. He gave £400k away to his children, has a holiday house in Spain and buy-to-let properties in Cornwall and Sussex. (The Times) 

A man in India checked into a five-star hotel for one night and ended up staying for 603 days. He left without paying the bill. (Business Insider) 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Or editortips@efinancialcareers.com. Whatsapp/Signal also available

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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