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Off the record

December 2019

“Are you here for the rugby?”

Every single bank we met in Tokyo. No, we arrived the day after the final, and we will not be discussing the result

“If you think you can get to the age of 90 on a pension, you’re on drugs”

A banker makes the case for Japanese investors to spend some of the money sitting in the bank and put it into wealth management

“Like a knife fight in a phone box”

A banker remembers the good old days of working for Merrill Lynch in London in the 1990s

“We’ve had unicorn CEOs ask us: ‘Why should we hire an investment bank? That would imply we can’t raise capital ourselves’. It really turns me off. They don’t actually understand the struggle first to raise capital and then earn a return on it”

While investors worry if  WeWork can survive the disaster of its failed IPO, this investment banker sees the bigger issue of disintermediation

“They can’t wait for deals that are down the middle of the fairway.

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