With Wall Street preparing for more of its traders and bankers to return to offices next month, a shift underway at JPMorgan Chase may have lasting implications for the entire industry.
Workers in the firm’s corporate and investment bank, an industry heavyweight with 60,950 employees, will cycle between days at the office and at home, keeping the ability to work remotely on a part-time basis, according to Daniel Pinto, head of the massive division and co-president of the banking giant.
“We are going to start implementing the model that I believe will be more or less permanent, which is this rotational model,” Pinto told CNBC in a Zoom call from London, where he is based. “Depending on the type of business, you may be working one week a month from home, or two days a week from home, or two weeks a month.”
The coronavirus pandemic forced Wall Street to send most of its employees home in March, and apart from skeleton crews that never left the trading floor, that is where most of them stayed. Now, banks are preparing for more people to return after Labor Day, according to executives at lenders and technology vendors. At Citigroup, some managers have begun sign-up sheets to gauge demand for a September return, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
One factor motivating the migration: The possibility of in-person learning at New York schools in the fall means that some parents are coming back to their primary homes after months away from the city. Another factor: Some people are simply weary of working from home, and some executives are seeing a strain on productivity after months of remote work.
The announcement by JPMorgan, the world’s biggest Wall Street bank by revenue, could pressure other financial firms to offer similar arrangements. Banks are in constant warfare with each other over talent, and the industry often moves in lockstep when it comes to perks and pay. This means that, even in a post Covid-19 world, remote work isn’t going anywhere.
`Everybody’s game plan’
“It’s in everybody’s game plan now, where it wasn’t before,” Tim Carmody, chief technology officer of IPC, said of the new hybrid approach to work. Banks are upgrading their systems now to give traders the same experience and tools wherever they toil, leaning on vendors including IPC, the leading maker of trading turrets on Wall Street. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are clients.
At JPMorgan, the move is seen as a way to give employees flexibility that didn’t exist before the pandemic proved that people could be effective away from the office. The firm’s traders and bankers are on a roll this year, notching record trading results and maintaining the bank’s standing atop the investment banking fee tables.
Of course, the move is also necessitated by social distancing requirements that mean buildings can safely contain, at most, half of the people they used to. JPMorgan’s…