Morning Coffee: $1.7m consulting partners giving offspring preferential internships. Sidestepping the carried interest tax

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Morning Coffee: $1.7m consulting partners giving offspring preferential internships. Sidestepping the carried interest tax

If you're a partner at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), you're not badly off. Last time we looked, partners at BCG in London were averaging around $1.7m each a year. When your parent earns this amount of money, you're probably well-placed to become part of the global elite: chances are that you've been privately educated, are well-connected and have the ineffable quality of "polish."

What you won't be, is eligible for the sorts of diversity programs designed to help students from low income and other backgrounds into jobs. But this doesn't matter, because at Boston Consulting you'll be eligible for something else. Something called the "Bruce Henderson Summer Programme," for children of managing directors and partners. 

The Financial Times reports that the programme, which includes office tours, dinners and instruction on “strategic consulting basics” has been causing upset within BCG. "They basically made it a bit of a holiday for the partners’ kids who came over,” complained one BCG employee. Others noted that it made a mockery of BCG's commitment to help students from low income families, and of its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by reducing employee flights given that children of senior staff had been "flown to London for a fun day."

Most students applying for a job at BCG have to compete against 40 others for a role, but BCG insiders say the Bruce Henderson Summer Programme (named after BCG's founder) is a shoo-in for children of top staff. Their parents covered the costs and BCG people reportedly spent two months preparing the programme on a voluntary basis. It's not clear whether this preparatory work was undertaken by partners and MDs whose children were participating, or whether other consultants volunteered their time in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with bosses. Either way, it's only a small leap from there to an organization where getting ahead depends upon hiring the boss's son or daughter and making sure they're given maximal opportunities to get ahead.

Separately, as a new tax on carried interest payments comes hurtling down the pipes in the US, consideration is already being given on how to avoid it.

Some people are all for the new tax: hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has called the current preferential tax treatment of carried equity, “an embarrassment;" Michael Bloomberg, has said that even people in the industry think it's a "joke." However, with carried interest payments starting at $3.7m a year for principals in mid-sized funds, taxing them as income (37%) rather than capital gains (20%) could result in losses to individuals starting at over $500k a year.  

A thread on forum website Wall Street Oasis has already been devoted to ways of avoiding the new tax, with several people hoping that structurers will find get-outs. There are suggestions that holding investments for 5+ years will lead to exemption and that carry would therefore simply need to be rolled into a new fund were it realized before that. Alternatively, it's thought maybe that carried interest could be tied to general partners' co-investment income such that it's part of the original investment and is therefore subject to capital gains. 

If you want to work in private equity and to avoid tax on carried interest though, the surest way of achieving this might simply be to emigrate. Carried interest is still taxed as capital gains in Europe, for the moment.

Meanwhile...

Graduates going into quant jobs at places like Citadel Securities are being hit by two year non-competes. At Renaissance Technologies non-competes can last five years. (Business Insider) 

Lazard wants to hire 10-15 managing directors this year. "We have been actively recruiting, and as the market shifts there are even more opportunities to find really talented people on compensation terms that we find acceptable." (Financial News) 

Christian Abanda Bella, a quant VP at Barclays says he was called "aggressive" in performance reviews after he blew the whistle on a colleague's bid to "sabotage" regulatory processes. He says this was linked to his race. Henry-Serge Moune Nkeng, an assistant vice president in trading risk model validation, says he was mistreated after a leg injury meant he took time off work. (Telegraph) 

It's a good time to be a carry trader investing in emerging-market currencies with borrowed euros: you can make profits of as much as 29%. (Bloomberg) 

16,000 people a year apply for internships at Point72; 40 are chosen. (Business Insider) 

Crypto exchange Coinflex has let go of 50%-60% of its staff. (The Block) 

How to get paid fairly "Go find the tallest, whitest dude. To be paid equitably, you want to earn what white men are earning. The median of everyone is less than the median of white men." (Fortune) 

Now's the time to buy a Patek Philippe or Rolex: crypto bros are selling theirs on. (Bloomberg) 

Having extremely high standards for your own performance is not a predictor of burnout, being afraid of making mistakes is. (Economist) 

Life as a graduate trainee in a prop trading house in 2001: "I went to Saint-Tropez and Ibiza a lot. I’d rent a house, fill it with friends and pay for everything all week. In London, I never went out for a night with less than £1,500 in my pocket, in £50 notes. If I hadn’t spent it all by the end of the evening, it hadn’t been a good night." (The Times) 

The 100 top people on Wall Street three decades ago. Many are still the same. Many are not. (Richard Handler. Twitter) 

Photo by Mark Fuller on Unsplash

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