On Tuesday night we were joined by Harry Braithwaite OE for a fascinating talk into his banking career. Harry studied at Eton before going up to read Anthropology at UCL. Post-graduation, and with both his parents having a military background, he joined the army, graduated from Sandhurst and participated in multiple active tours of duty (including one to Kabul). He highlighted the opportunities for low cost travel that the army can provide. The move from the army to the commercial world can be fraught but Harry networked hard and found a job with a ship broker. However, when a promised commission for selling a ship went unpaid he made a further career leap to Morgan Stanley and Equity Sales. He explained the concept of being long and short on equity and also about the challenges post 2008 in a very regulated industry. Commissions have declined by over 90 percent in the last twenty years as trading has moved into the electronic era (‘down the pipe’) and ‘voice’ (i.e. relationships) have to some extent become side-lined. European equities have also been moribund in performance terms for almost a decade leading to a collapse in the equity culture. In a ‘MiFID 2 world’ and with the skew in the asset management world moving to ‘passive’ management (just replicating a benchmark at low fees) and away from ‘active’ fund management (where an individual tries to beat an index) fee compression seems to be everywhere, not just in ship broking. Not withstanding these issues, Harry made a very good case for a banking and stockbroking career. It is clearly a fast moving, dynamic industry where you have the opportunity to work with very driven, mobile, international and high quality colleagues. The boys present greatly enjoyed his talk.
Hector Tyser (MGHM)