If the banking blog is a department store with brain food about finance then this page is your personal shopper
Welcome! On offer here are over 70 interviews with people in or around finance, plus around a dozen wrap-up articles.
The Joris Luyendijk banking blog
- Anthropologist and journalist Joris Luyendijk ventures into the world of finance to find out how it works
- This is an experiment Find out more
- Are you an outsider? Meet the people who work in finance
- Are you an insider? Find out how you can help
- Follow updates here The Joris Luyendijk banking blog
- … or on Twitter @JLbankingblog
If you are a financial insider yourself, you may want to go directly to an interview with someone in a particular niche, your own or one you have always wanted to know more about. Here is the jargon-heavy list of all interviews, ordered by activity. Is there no one there like you? Volunteer at firstname.lastname@example.org for an anonymised interview.
For those of you without a background in finance, do not despair. You are where I was in the summer of 2011 when this blog started. If you have unlimited time you could just follow my learning curve and begin with the very first. But I was still learning the ropes then, and I would really recommend you dip directly into a few of the later interviews, just to get a flavour of how people in finance see themselves, and how different they are from one another. You can find all interviews in this interactive and these are my own recommendations:
1. Working in a bank or financial firm in London means you can get a phone call at any moment and find yourself being marched out of the building by security five minutes later. This human resources officer fires bankers for a living. She also says: “Affirmative action would be really bad for women.” This recently fired banker describes what it was like: “When a call appeared on my phone that said ‘undisclosed’, I knew right away.”
2. It’s hard to think of something more controversial than big “telephone number” bonuses. Last year this banking equity analyst got a million. He talks frankly about whether he deserves this, then engages with readers in the comment section. A fascinating and wonderfully civilised discussion ensues. For the other end of the spectrum, consider this interview. In his own words: “Is there any appetite to hear the plight of an unemployed banker in a modest middle-office role?”
3. Technology has been changing finance in fundamental and sometimes terrifying ways. If you haven’t heard of high frequency trading (HFT), listen to this programmer at an HFT hedge fund. In this follow-up he replies to some of his readers’ very, very angry comments.
If you can stomach it, then read about this banker . He was in charge of a computer algorithm when it began to produce inexplicable losses big enough to sink his bank: “This was a bomb and I was the only one who could defuse it.”
4. Technology and growing complexity offer ever more scope for abuse, as this former structurer attests in a painfully honest appraisal: “So why did I quit? It was like the story of Dr Faustus. I sold my soul for worldly riches. The price the devil demanded was my moral bankruptcy.”