Wall Street WFH; BlueCrest cuts PMs; wealth managers in uncharted territory

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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The new WFH reality (for some)

Local governments across the US are moving to keep people inside to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and many non-essential businesses are closing to customers. Wall Street quickly ditched its rotating, colour-coded teams for many. Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade are suspending in-person branch visits, while Bank of America will keep branches and call centres open with pay bumps and shorter hours for some workers. And the CRO of Refinitiv says the coronavirus could permanently alter how the $US27 billion data giant employs staff and serves clients.

As Casey Sullivan reports, many of private equity’s big bets last year centered on one idea: getting people out of the house. But now, the leisure and hospitality industries have been hit hard, and PE firms are looking at providing portfolio companies with cash during the downturn.

Read the full story here:

Private equity bet billions on ski resorts, water parks, and casinos in 2019. Here’s how coronavirus has turned that investment thesis on its head.

Basis trade blowups

Hedge fund trader

Billionaire Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital cut at least 10 portfolio managers after the firm was slammed by losses in its relative-value book last week, Bradley Saacks and Dakin Campbell reported. And BlueCrest was not the only hedge fund hit hard by this type of trade, which seeks to take advantage of differences in similar types of securities.

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Michael Platt’s BlueCrest just cut at least 10 portfolio managers as the firm pulls back from the basis trade that slammed Citadel, Millennium, and ExodusPoint

Putting out fires – from home

Working home office laptop

As Dakin, Meghan Morris, and Alex Morrell report, Wall Street’s dealmakers are hunkering down and settling in to WFH for the foreseeable future. Bankers told them about the challenges of this dispersed work, from keeping clients engaged to kids making cameo appearances on video conference calls.

Read the full story here:

Toddler meltdowns and spilled milk. Here’s how Wall Street’s high-flying – now grounded – bankers are working from home.

Goldman Sachs teams up with SAP

David Solomon Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs just announced the first partner for its fledgling transaction-banking business, inking a deal to handle cross-border payments for clients of SAP, the German enterprise tech giant. And as Dakin reports, this tie-up wasn’t exactly out of the blue: Goldman’s co-head of global TMT banking helped make the introduction to SAP’s top execs.

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Goldman Sachs just announced its first partnership for transaction banking as it looks to build a new $US1 billion business moving money around the world

Movie-theatre selfies

Movie theatre empty

With companies revising their forecasts, and governments scrambling to put out up-to-date statistics, more investors are turning to alternative data to gauge the impact of the global spread of the coronavirus. There’s nearly endless information to scrape from – when it comes to movie theatres, for example, tracking status updates, comments, and even selfies is a way to gauge attendance levels.

Read the full story here:

Hedge funds are using these 10 alt-data sources to gain an investing edge as coronavirus upends supply chains and wreaks havoc on global markets

‘This is uncharted territory for us all’

A board above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Stocks are closing sharply lower on Wall Street, erasing more than 1,400 points from the Dow industrials, as investors wait for a more aggressive response from the U.S. government to economic fallout from the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Wealth advisers and the wider wealth management industry around the US are trying to calm clients’ nerves, from home, as asset classes of all stripes crash and economists come out with recession calls. Insiders told Rebecca Ungarino how they’re taking on the challenge.

Read the full story here:

‘People are freaking out’: 6 wealth managers told us how they’re handling client meltdowns as the markets tank

Real estate and retail


Alex Nicoll and Meghan Morris reported on Friday that Brookfield-backed Convene just laid off 20% of its workforce as the coronavirus upends flex-space and events. And a leaked memo reveals that Mattress Firm will be putting some staff on furlough and suspending PTO, severance, and 401(k) match as the coronavirus crisis hits retailers. Meanwhile, hospitality startup Sonder is planning to open its largest NYC apartment hotel yet later this year even as coronavirus cripples the travel industry.

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