May 5, 2021

The Great Return: Banks Call Bankers Back to the Office (New York Times - Dealbook)

As more people are vaccinated and Covid cases fall across the U.S., major financial firms are rolling out their return to office plans.

Goldman Sachs has joined JPMorgan in telling its bankers that it’s almost time to come back to the office. David Solomon, Goldman’s CEO, sent a memo to employees advising them to “make plans to be in a position to return to the office” by June 14 in the U.S. and June 21 in Britain. 

JPMorgan plans to open its offices on May 17 on a voluntary basis and require that workers return to their desks in rotations starting in July.

Goldman and JPMorgan’s moves put pressure on other banks to put an end to remote work.

Here's a snapshot at the latest in the return to office:
  • Citigroup expects to have about 30% of its North America-based employees back in the office by the end of the summer.
  • Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan said recently that a return to the office probably wouldn’t take place until after Labor Day.
  • The New York Stock Exchange has told floor staff that once traders are fully vaccinated, they can return to 100% staffing on the famous exchange floor
  • Citadel told staff in New York, Chicago and Greenwich that the hedge fund would return to in-office operations on June 1. Vanguard announced a hybrid arrangement with employees working in-person at offices three or more days per week.
  • Deutsche Bank announced that U.S. employees would likely work remotely until July when the bank's new Hudson Yards headquarters in Manhattan would open.

As the finance industry gets back to the office, SL Green announced Tuesday that the firm's new One Vanderbilt Tower in Midtown Manhattan was more than 90% full with more finance firms signing leases in recent weeks.

Nearly 80% of bosses prefer for workers to spend four to five days in the office when the pandemic is over, according to an Accenture survey of financial-services executives. The majority say remote work is making it difficult to train younger people and is hurting company culture.

Read more here and click here to get the latest on the Return to 'Normal.'

UK Local Election Preview.

Coming TomorrowThe U.K.’s Future May Be in the Hands of Scotland’s Rebel Youth (Bloomberg)

At stake in the UK local elections on May 6 is who gets to govern London and Scotland, as well as more than 140 local English districts. In Scotland, the prospect of a new referendum on independence from the rest of the U.K. hangs in the balance, depending on the result.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he won’t allow another independence referendum, but a bigger threat to the union might be to let the issue fester.

After a year on the back foot defending a pandemic strategy that delivered the worst death toll in Europe, Johnson has spent much of 2021 championing his government’s success at rolling out vaccines faster than most other wealthy nations.

Read more:  The Five Key Battlegrounds in the 2021 Local Elections (Evening Standard)

Poll Shows Incumbent Mayor of London Sadiq Khan Maintaining Massive Lead in Race for City Hall (OnLondon)

Challenges AheadLondon Emerges From Lockdown Harder Hit Than Much of the UK (Bloomberg)


Tweet of the Day.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo Tweeted Wednesday on how Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping bring cleaner air to Paris.

"With Airparif and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Paris continues to implement actions to fight pollution. Breathing cleaner air is a fundamental right," Mayor Hidalgo said.


What I'm Reading.

Ramping UpPresident Biden Sets Goal of 70% of Adults With at Least One Vaccine Shot by July 4 (Bloomberg)

Use It or Lose It: White House Will Shift Vaccine Supply to States Based on Demand (Washington Post)

Calming Markets: Janet Yellen Says She Was Not Predicting or Recommending Rate Hikes (Bloomberg)

Beyond India: New Virus Waves Hit Developing Countries Including Laos, Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal (Bloomberg)

China-EU Tensions Spill OverEurope Moves Toward Biden’s Side (Bloomberg)

Facebook Decision Today on Trump: Either Way, Facebook Wins (CNN - Brian Stelter)

Subway Crash Latest: Deadly Mexico City Metro Collapse Puts AMLO Proteges in the Spotlight (Bloomberg)

The tragedy, which killed 24 and injured more than 70, puts the crisis-handling spotlight on Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, two key allies of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who are both seen as early front-runners to be Mexico’s next president. The Mexico City metro is one of the largest in the world, carrying about 5 million commuters per day.

New Study: Gun Violence Put Over Half-a-Million People in Hospitals from 2000 to 2016 (Washington Post)

One Day After AnnouncementCascade Transfers $1.8 Billion of Equities to Melinda Gates (Bloomberg)

No More Snow DaysNew York City Schools to Go Remote, Not Close, For Snow Days in Future (Wall Street Journal)

Unique Vaccination SitesMuseum's in Italy Become Vaccination Sites Offering Art Viewing While Getting a Jab (New York Times)

Going Vegan: Eleven Madison Park, New York Restaurant Crowned World's Best, to Reopen With Plant-Based Menu (Bloomberg)

Breaking from Michelin Guide: The 131 Best Cheap Eats in New York City and Westchester Right Now (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg's Kate Krader writes: "Among the 30 new additions to the list are the Brooklyn bakery Winner, which makes a superb BLT—one of our most memorable meals of 2020—and Manhattan’s Thai Diner, from the owners of the beloved, now shuttered Uncle Boons."

Best of Late Night.

On a new poll showing more than 60% of Americans are feeling optimistic after Biden's first 100 days in office: 

"According to a new ABC News poll, Americans are more hopeful about the future than they have been in 15 years, since 2006. Of course, the poll was conducted before we found out Elon Musk is hosting 'Saturday Night Live,' so we’ll see if it holds up."
-- Jimmy Kimmel

"Of course, we're feeling good. We have vaccines in our arms, stimulus checks in our pockets and hot sauce in our Goldfish."
-- Jimmy Fallon

"That’s right, 64% are feeling optimistic, while the other 36% had a rough weekend at the Kentucky Derby."
-- Jimmy Fallon

On new concerns by experts that the U.S. might not achieve herd immunity due to vaccine hesitancy:

"Thanks to the many people who refuse to take a life-saving vaccine, experts now think that coronavirus is basically going to become one of those anti-virus pop-ups, you know? We’re going to minimize it but we’ll never really delete it."
-- Trevor Noah

"If your main concern is that Bill Gates could use microchips to track you, he could already do that, that’s what your phone is."
-- John Oliver 

"Honestly, in these divided times, it’s just great to see all Americans coming together to fail at something so easily achievable."
-- Trevor Noah

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