Morning Coffee May 03 2012

Turning Toward Africa

By Julie Steinberg

U.K. banking behemoth Standard Chartered plans to invest some heavy resources into its African and Asian business lines this year and will bulk up branch staff accordingly.

The bank will open 50 branches in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, revised upward from its earlier target of 30 branches. It will increase the number of staff to man the branches by 10%, and also bring on corporate bankers to focus on business banking.

"We have enough capacity to invest tens of millions of dollars--and may look again later in the year if we maintain our recent momentum," Richard Meddings, finance director, told the FT.

Standard Chartered gets more than 90% of its profits from overseas operations and has based business lines in emerging markets since its inception.

Though the firm is conservative on Europe due to the euro-zone crisis, it still plans to hire people to oversee relationships with large European companies looking to do business in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Changes at UBS (Seeking Alpha)

UBS has been focusing its efforts on its wealth-management unit and making some changes within the investment bank. So far, the strategy appears to have worked.

Mortgage Hiring (Crain's Cleveland Business)

Quicken Loans will bring on 100 mortgage bankers for its Cleveland office, the firm announced yesterday. Loan production has increased at the company over 2011 volume.

Jumping Ship (Bloomberg)

Eric Heaton, the head of investment banking for financial services in the Americas, is leaving Deutsche Bank to join Morgan Stanley's wealth-management business.

Proper Prop Trading (Mergers & Inquisitions)

Just because there's a little thing called the Volcker rule doesn't mean proprietary trading is dead. Here's how to launch your career in it.

Calling It Quits (Forbes)

John Arnold, the billionaire hedge fund manager who made a killing trading natural gas, has decided to retire. He's 38. Cue the groans.

Staying Open (FT)

Goldman Sachs is sticking by its support for gay rights (and by extension, its employees), even at the risk of losing clients.

David and Goliath (ProPublica)

The battle continues between small ratings firms and their bigger brethren. A new case brought by the SEC against the former has shed light on the issue.

Buzz Around the Office

Sharks with Laser Beams (Buzzfeed)

Someone alert Austin Powers. 1997 has come to life!

List of the Day: Learning to Negotiate

Negotiating can be an intimidating art, but you'll improve with practice.

1. When asking for a raise, give a specific number, not a range.

2. Look at it as a conversation with a peer, not an authority figure.

3. Don't be afraid to go back later if the answer is "no."

(Source: Business Insider)

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