Big Law M&A work slumps; volatility funds shine; Goldman picks teams

Welcome to Wall Street Insider, where we take you behind the scenes of the finance team’s biggest scoops and deep dives from the past week.

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Blue team, white team

Cboe and CME are clearing trading floors. Barclays and Intercontinental Exchange were among the latest firms with confirmed coronavirus cases. And Goldman Sachs’ top brass on Thursday laid out their own coronavirus response.

Read the full memo explaining how Goldman is separating employees into ‘blue’ and ‘white’ teams to alternate working from the office and home.

With dealmakers forced to hunker down and limit travel as coronavirus spreads, we’re already starting to see how these measures are hurting business.

As Casey Sullivan reports, major US law firms are experiencing a dropoff in deal work, with practice areas such as M&A seen as particularly vulnerable. “People want to look you in the eyes before they sell a company to you,” one insider explained. The malaise could lead financially strong firms to poach from weaker ones, with clear winners and losers emerging from the turmoil.

Read the full story here:

With Big Law M&A work evaporating as coronavirus spreads, some firms are about to make bank. Here are the winners and losers.

Vol, macro strategies shine

Stock exchange volatility

Artemis Capital’s flagship Vega Fund fell more than 13% last year when the markets churned relentlessly higher. But the volatility-linked fund is now in its element, Bradley Saacks reports, as markets have been thrashed by the quickly spreading coronavirus and a glut of oil supply that’s sent crude oil prices tumbling.

It shows how some hedge funds are getting a chance to finally shake off years of uninspiring returns and woo back investors that had been getting fed up with hefty fees.

Read the full story here:

Business is booming for certain types of hedge funds as coronavirus rocks markets. These 6 have returned as much as 14% with bets focused on volatility and macro trends.

SigFig’s rise and stall

Mike sha sigfig rise and fall 4x3

SigFig has raised some $US120 million in funding from the likes of DCM Ventures and Bain Capital Ventures and signed partnerships with industry giants with the promise of powering wealth-tech. But in recent months, a string of execs and other employees have left, 10% of its workforce was cut, and wealth deal growth has slowed.

Rebecca Ungarino spoke with a dozen insiders who described the Silicon Valley startup’s rise and more recent struggles to compete in a crowded space.

Read the full story here:

SigFig raised $US120 million on the promise of reinventing investing, but hasn’t announced a big partnership in years. Here’s how it went from deals with UBS and Wells Fargo to struggling to compete.

JPMorgan embraces fintechs

Wealth management and tech 1 2x1

JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank has implemented a new program to quickly make assessments on fintechs it’s looking to work with. Dan DeFrancesco talked with Michael Elanjian, head of digital innovation at JPMorgan’s CIB, about how the bank is aiming to cut down the average time and money needed to evaluate startups.

As Wall Street looks to work with startups now more than ever – either through partnerships, investment, mentorship or as a customer – all are interested in speeding up the selection process.

Read the full story here:

JPMorgan slashed how long it takes to test out fintechs from 9 months to 3 weeks with a new process that could save it millions as it looks to buy, invest in, or work with more young companies

Snowflake’s Wall Street data play

Future of data on wall street 4x3

As Bradley and Dan report, a new product from one of the hottest tech startups is geared toward addressing a major need for Wall Street, and its execs believe it will lead to big business for a company that has already proved wildly successful.

Snowflake, the cloud-data platform last valued at $US12.4 billion, is in the early stages of signing up customers for a data exchange where providers can connect with the consumers in a marketplace hosted and managed by the startup.

Read the full story here:

$US12.4 billion startup Snowflake is targeting Wall Street with a new data exchange that’s already signed up FactSet and Coatue

How RE/MAX is looking for a tech edge in a fierce battle for agents

Mortgage online

RE/Max, like other brokerages, is racing to keep up with Compass, which has grown from roughly 2,000 agents at the beginning of 2018 to 15,000 by the end of last year. Compass, flush with cash from SoftBank, acquired CRM provider Contactually in February 2019. and has used its technology as a tool to recruit agents from other brokerages.

As Alex Nicoll explains, RE/MAX has acquired tech providers and brought its tech fully in-house, while other competitors partner with external tech providers.

Read the full story here:

Real estate giant RE/MAX is spending tens of millions on tech to keep up with Compass. Here’s its M&A playbook.

On the move

Bank of America’s CTO, who played a key part in a private-cloud strategy execs praised for saving billions, has left the bank. And a veteran Wells Fargo Advisors exec who helped navigate sweeping regulatory changes to the wealth industry just retired.

More highlights from the finance team: