Charity begins at the office for City's investment bankers

JP Morgan helps young people learn the ropes in Canary Wharf’s cathedrals of high finance

At Credit Suisse, junior bankers turned up the heat on their superiors earlier in August by pitting managing directors head-to-head to test their pitching skills, raising money for the Swiss bank’s charity of the year, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Ahead of the “Titans of Finance” event, set up by analysts in the bank’s technology, media and telecoms team, staff across the investment banking and capital markets unit were able to nominate MDs to take part, making a donation with each nomination.

The MDs with the most money pledged in their support had to present a hypothetical deal to an audience in the auditorium in Credit Suisse’s London office in the manner of a so-called “fire drill” – a term used to describe a project passed to a junior banker at short-notice.

MDs were allowed to duck out of the grilling only by matching the donations made in their name. Several did just that, a bank spokeswoman confirmed, taking the total raised for the NSPCC to about £6,000.

The three plucky MDs to put their talent to the test were Erkin Yildiz, a former FN Rising Star in the bank’s financial sponsors group who made MD in 2015; William Nourse, a former Deutsche Bank FIG specialist who joined Credit Suisse’s FIG team a year ago; and Laurence Van Lancker, the bank’s Emea head of telecoms and media M&A, who starred on FN’s most recent list of Rising Stars.

Nourse won the pitching battle, which was judged by the audience.

That was followed at Credit Suisse by a pop-up shop project, where summer interns drafted a business case and then opened stalls in the staff canteen for one day only, with all the money raised going to the NSPCC.

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Marisa Drew, co-head of Credit Suisse’s investment banking and capital markets division for Emea and trustee of the Credit Suisse Emea Foundation, said: “As a bank we are very proud of our work and role in society. Credit Suisse employees across the organisation embrace our strong philanthropic culture and continue to make a difference by giving time, skills and experience.”

Over at JP Morgan, investment bankers and traders spent some of the summer working with children from the Social Mobility Foundation charity and St Paul’s Way Trust School in east London.

Fifty children placed by the Social Mobility Foundation spent two weeks being shown the ropes of professional life and the financial markets by a group of MDs, who taught them about the stock markets by trading sweets and chocolate bars and practicing interview skills, a spokeswoman said. Five older children from St Paul’s Way Trust took part in a four-week paid internship.

Ann Doherty, JP Morgan’s co-head of Emea investor services sales and a trustee for the Social Mobility Foundation, ran an evening networking scavenger hunt in one of the bank’s large event rooms. The children had an hour to retrieve particular items and information from 15 MDs around the room, none of whom they had met before.

Samik Chandarana, JP Morgan’s head of global credit indices and global credit e-trading, who has been supporting the Social Mobility Foundation programme at the bank for the past five years, told FN: “A lot of talented kids grow up without the resources or connections to give them a competitive edge in the corporate world, and they may not even realise the options that exist.

“The Social Mobility Foundation programme is near to my heart because it’s opening doors for students from all types of backgrounds and hopefully broadens their aspirations.”

Other Wall Street banks have been doing their bit too.

More than 130 analysts at Morgan Stanley set up market stalls in Canary Wharf in August, creating and selling products such as fresh juice, cupcakes and bouquets of flowers to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. The US bank has worked closely with the hospital, and in June employees helped to move the Morgan Stanley Garden from the Chelsea Flower Show to a rooftop there.

June was also Morgan Stanley’s global volunteer month – a bank spokesman said that about 88% of staff in London volunteered for activities including helping young people being supported by The Princes Trust with CV writing and interview skills, and members of the bank’s Women’s Business Network coaching women leaders in the charity sector.

Citigroup, meanwhile, named its first London charities of the year. With 30 charities applying and the final three being put to staff votes, Haven House Children’s Hospice and Richard House Children’s Hospice were named the winners. Bank employees are volunteering and raising money for the charities.

At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, teams of analysts were each given £8 and tasked with turning it into as much profit as possible for the Place2Be charity. Events included a fundraising bake, a raffle sale, an arm-wrestling contest and – the winning idea – selling charity-branded water bottles. The event, sponsored by BAML’s Emea president Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, raised more than £28,000.

Banks have more to come.

Citi is among the sponsors of Run the River, organised by teacher training charity Teach First. On the evening of September 6, participants will run 5km or 10km along the banks of the River Thames. Last year, more than 800 Citi employees and clients took part to help raise almost £150,000.

Deutsche Bank will hold its 10th annual One Day event on September 29 – employees donate one day’s salary to the bank’s chosen charities, which for 2016 and 2017 are autism charity Autistica, and Hope and Homes for Children. In 2015, the initiative raised £773,000, according to the bank’s website.

Others will be breaking out the lycra to pair the City’s new favourite sport, cycling, with raising money for good causes.

Some 140 Morgan Stanley employees will attempt to ride the 266km between the bank’s London and Paris offices in 24 hours on September 9, again to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Staff from Societe Generale‘s global markets unit will attempt their own London to Paris bike ride in October, although the plan at the moment is for teams to work together as a relay on static bikes in the bank’s Bishops Square office. Before that, on September 30, SocGen bankers, including UK country head Ian Fisher, will take on a 26-mile midnight hike in London. The French bank hopes the walk will raise £80,000 for mental health charity Mind.

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