Old Pecking Order

  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. JPMorgan (Chase)
  3. Morgan Stanley
  4. Deutsche Bank
  5. Citigroup
  6. Merrill Lynch
  7. UBS (Warburg)
  8. HSBC
  9. Credit Suisse/CSFB
  10. Bank of America

City Myths

Myth: People in the city are unfriendly.
Reality: Success in the city involves great networking skills, unfriendly folk simply wouldn't survive.

Myth: The city are keen to find bright young talent.
Reality: It's a buyers market: the candidate has to do all the running. Most managers would sooner pay their middle-aged buddy ten times the salary they would need to attract a younger candidate ten times brighter. So long as banks all employ the same lazy method, they will all continue to compete.

Myth: If you're invited for an interview, there is a position available.
Reality: Companies regularly pretend to recruit, simply to sound out the competition.

Myth: It helps to be a great all rounder.
Reality: Adam Smith recognised that the division of labour represents a qualitative increase in productivity, this wisdom is not lost in the large investment banks, where it pays to be a specialist. You're just a cog in the machine.

Myth: Experience is crucial.
Reality: The 'experience' of most personnel consists of nothing more than attending meetings and attempting to convince others of things that are not actually true. The best way of achieving this is self-deception.

Myth: Staff are the company's greatest asset.
Reality: The quickest way to improve the bottom line is to sack people.

Myth: People are worth what they are paid.
Reality: A bank believes that an employee is worth more than they pay him or her, otherwise they'd not employ them at that rate. Yet most employees are overpaid (if this wasn't so, being made redundant wouldn't matter). This can mean only one thing: banks massively overpay.

Myth: The city is full of clever people.
Reality: Although the entrance requirements are very high at the graduate level, almost without exception, city workers cease increasing their knowledge once they start work. They simply don't have the time. Very few, even senior, personnel have any idea how markets actually work.

Myth: The city is at the bleeding edge when it comes to developing algorithms.
Reality: In the area of option pricing, industry leads academia, but in areas such as machine learning and prediction, the city are woefully behind. All of the good work is in bioinformatics. Investment banks and the majority of hedge fund's approach to statistical arbitrage and algorithmic trading are laughably naive.

Myth: City programmers are the best.
Reality: There are some great programmers in the city, but even they are breathtakingly narrow in their approach.

Myth: The city is a meritocracy.
Reality: The only thing it takes to be a good manager is to convince your boss that you're a good manager.

Myth: The city is a bastion of male chauvinism and testosterone.
Reality: At best, and due to human nature, women are overpromoted; at worst, due to political correctness, women are massively overpromoted.

Myth: Traders predict markets.
Reality: Most simply follow orders, and few have even the tiniest clue about the nature of markets.

Myth: Marketing in the city is cool.
Reality: The stupidity to be found among those employed in marketing is without parallel.

Myth: Men in the city would sooner spend more time with their families.
Reality Judge a man by his actions, not his words. Men are forced to compete, it's in their genes.

Myth: Recruitment consultants are a necessary evil.
Reality: Large banks have the resources to perform a similar role, yet prefer to waste money and outsource: recruitment consultants are a ring of depravity surrounding a circle of stupidity.