As banks work hard to keep their analysts and associates happy with perks and pay rises, some of those higher up the hierarchy are raising eyebrows. They too are working flat out during the SPAC boom, but they have yet to receive the same sort of love.
"I think all executive directors and managing directors are pushing 80+ hours a week now and working weekends," says an executive director in M&A at one U.S. bank in London. "And we're not protected by any of the work-life balance initiatives."
While analysts and associates are typically able to take Friday evenings and Saturdays off, vice presidents and up have to work whenever clients expect them too. With senior bankers working from home during the pandemic, clients have become more demanding and senior bankers' performance metrics have been increased. "Before the pandemic, I would meet a maximum of three clients a day while I was traveling," says the executive director. "Now, I'm expected to meet eight a day on Zoom."
And while juniors can multitask during client meetings and turn off cameras he says senior bankers need to be fully engaged so that they can "lead client dialogue."
In theory, more senior bankers should be rewarded for this year's hard work at the year-end bonus round, but at banks like Credit Suisse there's a danger this may not happen. JPMorgan especially has a need to pay its more senior bankers well for 2021 after freezing salaries above vice president (VP) level in December 2020.
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