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Copenhagentolondon
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Worthwhile companies, do they exist?

May 17th, 2021, 11:29 pm

Hey good sirs and fine ladies.
I wasn't entirely sure where this would belong, but I guess since I'm still a student and a newbie(but with passion) This should be where I'd ask the question.
In this week I looked for a position in EY and two danish companies (PFA and BankInvest). But it made me question if any or maybe all of you agree on any companies being worthwhile working for?
For a long while, I dreamt of working for HSBC, as it is large, multinational and has multiple divisions, such as investment banking, commercial and retail. But the more I look into it, it seems they're simply crooks out for cash.
So in essence my question is, are there any prudent banks left or am I simply being naive in my belief that I can tell the bankers not to simply buy 5-star dinners for customers money?

Also this is a perfect opportunity just to vent your experiences to me, so I get to understand your experiences in the art of managing idiots
CBCA->CMSA->FMVA->Ba.Sc.Math-stat->CFA1,2,3->CISI->FRM->CQF->IFoA->than what?
The goal is to write all three and four letter combinations and try to make sense of it.
 
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Alan
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Re: Worthwhile companies, do they exist?

May 18th, 2021, 4:55 pm

In general, agree that finance has a perpetual "where are the customers' yachts?" problem. My advice: make a list of companies you admire. Personally, the ones I admire are very consumer-oriented. In finance in the US: Vanguard Group, Charles Schwab. Beyond finance: amazon, apple. Anyway, make your own lists, and see if any of them are doing what you'd like to do.  You're right to be on the look out for firms selling "smoke and mirrors". Good luck.
 
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bearish
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Re: Worthwhile companies, do they exist?

May 18th, 2021, 7:49 pm

It’s not totally clear what your primary concerns are, but as somebody who grew up in your part of the world and have bumped around in the global financial industry for almost three decades, I can offer some of my own perspective on the job search. I’ll take for granted that you’ll make enough money to support yourself, otherwise that consideration looms large (as it should). My top priorities were, more or less in order: will I get to work on interesting problems, will I work with interesting and reasonable people, can I add value, will I get paid well, does this position open avenues for future growth, do I believe in the mission? I have never knowingly worked with crooks, although I have come across cases of self-dealing and negligence that only arguably didn’t rise to the status of criminal. Both banks and asset managers have many ways to make you (as an actual or potential employee) feel uncomfortable. Is it OK to take money from Saudi Arabia? Maybe only if we invest them in green bonds? Can you run an EM strategy without investing in China? Probably not. What about Myanmar, Belarus and Rwanda? Sure, but who cares? How about investing in an impeccably run company that relies on organic farming and only uses renewable energy for their operations, but their only product is tobacco? I find the HSBC example curious. I interviewed with them for a potentially very high paying job pre GFC, and went to a final lunch meeting fully expecting to be handed a job offer. That did not come to fruition, but by that time I had read enough about their history and culture to seriously question whether I actually wanted to work for them. A choice I didn’t have to make... I’ll stop rambling now.
 
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bearish
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Re: Worthwhile companies, do they exist?

May 22nd, 2021, 4:34 pm

Just briefly reviving this thread. The four companies Alan mentions are interesting. My investment portfolio is pretty much divided between Vanguard funds and ETFs held at Schwab. I do most of my (admittedly limited) shopping via Amazon, and the bulk of my computing and communication on Apple products. The all offer tremendous value for the money. That being said, I wouldn’t readily leap from that observation to a particular desire to work for them. As for EY, the may go the way the dodo and Arthur Andersen. Recent news on their performance in the Wirecard fraud gives a new meaning to an “unqualified audit.”
 
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Copenhagentolondon
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Re: Worthwhile companies, do they exist?

May 22nd, 2021, 5:33 pm

Indeed and I told them straight up, that I knew the leadership wasn't all that good. They didn't pick me, but they were very very helpful and pleasant people.
CBCA->CMSA->FMVA->Ba.Sc.Math-stat->CFA1,2,3->CISI->FRM->CQF->IFoA->than what?
The goal is to write all three and four letter combinations and try to make sense of it.
 
User avatar
bearish
Posts: 6639
Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 2:19 pm

Re: Worthwhile companies, do they exist?

May 22nd, 2021, 8:53 pm

Indeed and I told them straight up, that I knew the leadership wasn't all that good. They didn't pick me, but they were very very helpful and pleasant people.
Now, honesty may be the best policy, but unless you’re interviewing with Ray Dalio, you may want to go light on the radical transparency.