A look back at Wall Street’s ups and downs over 2021
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Wall Street started 2021 on uncertain footing, with the deadly coronavirus wreaking havoc around the world. The Federal Reserve helped the finance industry by keeping interest rates at near zero — resulting in a mad dash for cheap loans (and costly advisors) to make mergers and acquisitions.
The boom in business was not always easy to handle, however, especially for employees struggling to turn off their computers in an era of remote work. Insider chronicled Wall Street’s seemingly endless tales of burnout — from private-equity giant Apollo to Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. There were complaints even by employees of Goldman Sachs’ Marcus consumer bank — a relatively cushy gig when compared to investment banking — where staffers were quitting in droves.
Large investors rushing to take advantage of low rates by teaming up with private-equity firms, which use loans to buy companies, found themselves caught up in an ugly power struggle, Insider reported.
Wall Street leaders started calling for workers to return to the office after the vaccines were rolled out. While some CEOs, like Goldman’s David Solomon, took hardline stances in calling workers back to their desks, many employees continued to embrace the benefits of hybrid work.
Wall Street moms —in dire need of a break after pulling double duty teaching their kids and working during the early days of the pandemic — expressed hope that hybrid schedules would continue, as did many young people.
But some Gen Z bankers have said they want more than the ability to take their work home with them and have been testing their ability to turn off their phones at the end of the day or while on vacation. This has led to workplace tensions over 7 p.m. drinks and midday jogs, with young people saying they just want to see the sun once in a while.
The rise of speculative trading was another tricky issue for Wall Street in 2021. Young bankers got rich off crypto this year, because it’s an area of finance that’s still largely unmonitored by their companies’ compliance departments. Hedge funds, however, were caught flatfooted by hordes of retail traders using no-fee trading apps like Robinhood to buy up small stocks.
The so-called “meme stock” revolution continues to impact how some short sellers, who bet on stock declines, do business. It’s also changed how some companies interact with Wall Street. Theater chain AMC, for example, backed out of a meeting last summer with Wall Street research analysts because its new investor base is mostly made up of irreverent day traders, not institutional investors.
Insider also wrote about a wave of up-and-coming Wall Street leaders trying to make their marks, from Charlie Scharf, the CEO of Wells Fargo who’s been shaking things up following a series of scandals, to Jon Gray, Blackstone’s rapidly rising, hard-charging president and chief operating officer.
We also reported on the cultural challenges facing brokerage firm Merrill Lynch and asset-management giant Pimco, which has been fending off discrimination claims.
Along the way we introduced readers to the industry’s most riveting rising stars, including 31-year-old hedge-fund founder Grant Wonders, whose stellar track record helped him raise more than $1 billion for his new fund, Voyager, and Jim Mooney, the heir apparent to Seth Klarman at $31 billion investing giant Baupost.
See more here:
Apollo’s hard-driving culture is extreme even by Wall Street standards, and it’s burning through young workers. Here’s why $450,000-plus pay and rules to ban weekend emails aren’t enough to keep them happy.
Confessions of Wall Street’s burned-out junior bankers: 5 current and former analysts from firms like Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse explain their daily schedules
Burnout, blown deadlines, and a tech-talent exodus: How Goldman Sachs’ Marcus is struggling to live up to its lofty consumer-banking ambitions
Private-equity firms are locked in a power struggle with their investors, and lawyers are raking in cash no matter what
5 Wall Street moms open up about returning to the office and what the pandemic has taught them — from doing laundry at 2 a.m. to seeing a child take her first steps
Inside Wall Street’s culture war with Gen Z
Young Wall Streeters are pumping their bonus checks into crypto. Here’s an inside look at how they’re making trades — and what their firms’ compliance departments have to say about it.
The Reddit reckoning had short sellers scrambling. Now they’re back with a vengeance.
Adam Aron’s magic touch with rowdy online traders may have saved the largest theater chain in the world
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf has revamped the bank’s leadership with nearly 90 senior hires from JPM, BNY, and other firms. Here’s our exclusive look at the stunning overhaul.
Jon Gray is the future of Blackstone. 50 insiders reveal how the superinvestor consolidated power, elbowed out rivals, and is remaking the firm in his golden-boy image.
Merrill Lynch financial advisors explain why they’re leaving ‘Mother Merrill’ in droves, even as the 107-year-old brokerage wows Wall Street with record financial results
Pimco boss Manny Roman was supposed to usher in a new era at the $2.2 trillion bond giant. But discrimination claims and bad press hang over the firm, and some clients are starting to lose patience.
2021 Wall Street rising stars: Meet 25 up-and-comers in investing, trading, and dealmaking at firms like Blackstone, Tiger Global, and Goldman Sachs
Grant Wonders took Viking by storm and became one of the most profitable analysts in history. Now, the 31-year-old is building Voyager Global into a juggernaut of his own.
Meet Jim Mooney, the most powerful man you never heard of at $31 billion Baupost and heir apparent to the value-investing titan Seth Klarman