Bankers flock back to Manhattan
Thousands of Goldman Sachs employees returned to their desks in New York this week, marking the beginning of the postpandemic era of investment banking. Their counterparts at Barclays were back en masse too, while others are trickling in more slowly. What did many Wall Streeters’ first week back in the office look like? DealBook has been asking around.
Goldman had live music. (Not DJ D-Sol.) To foster a celebratory atmosphere, the bank hosted performances outside its headquarters, with funk on Tuesday and salsa on Thursday. Inside, the dress was notably more casual than it was prepandemic (a lot of Allbirds, we hear), which made the interns in their full suits stand out even more. For lunch, Goldman brought in food trucks from Cousins Maine Lobster, Van Leeuwen and more. The bank required employees to log their vaccination status in a company system last week.
The scene was more muted elsewhere. At Barclays there was no music, and social distancing was enforced at the cafeteria, with half the stations closed and stickers on the floor designating where to stand. Over at JPMorgan, which won’t require bankers to come back to the office until next month, an executive who has been there intermittently spotted one sign that more employees are returning: The newsstand near the office sold out of its copies of The Times before 9:30 a.m.
Banks are still grappling with the vaccine issue:
Bank of America’s C.E.O., Brian Moynihan, told Bloomberg that he wants all vaccinated employees back in the office after Labor Day, and that the bank will “start to make provisions for the other teammates as we move through the fall.” A spokesperson did not clarify what those provisions would entail.
BlackRock will reportedly prohibit unvaccinated workers from returning to the office when it fully reopens in July.
Morgan Stanley is adjusting its approach based on the numbers: “Well over 90 percent of our employees who are in the offices are now vaccinated,” the bank’s C.E.O., James Gorman, said at a conference this week. He expects the share to go even higher, leaving a smaller number of unvaccinated workers to address when the bank’s offices fully reopen in the fall. “Maybe they can’t or they won’t,” Gorman said of the workers without shots. “We’ll deal with that when we get there.”
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Read more:Wall Street Is Back (at the Office)