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Male Lifestyle: Investing Your First IB Paycheck in Looking the Part


‘Money talks, but it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk’ laments Neil Diamond in his 1978 hit Forever in Blue Jeans.

However, as an aspiring investment banker perhaps you’ll be more enthused by the new style choices available for singing, dancing, and walking in after making well over £50,000 in your first year.

Hint: you won’t be sporting denim for eternity.

In the investment banking world, money doesn’t just talk – it shouts – and IB Insider explores some of the ways in which you can use the sudden influx that is your first paycheck.

Black Leather 1953 Horsebit Loafer UK

If you’re reading this in a break from penning another cover letter proclaiming superior work ethic, then there should be some motivation to be found in the recent Arkesden report.

Standard base salaries for Analysts are £50K, £55K, and £60K for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Year Analysts; whilst average bonuses are £30 – £35K, £35 – £40K, and £40 – £50K.

Although unwise to pre-empt such a competitive role, getting ahead with an IB Insider course suddenly seems like the sort of intelligent investment an Analyst would make…

Now you’ve got around £80,000 a year to spend whilst your non-banking friends are typically earning much less, the question is: what to do with it? “It’s a status thing, an immediate validation – a nice suit, you suddenly feel like you belong” muses IB Insider guru Michael Stirling.

Whilst Michael’s eyes do not quite glaze over as he thinks back to the first throes of true economic freedom, the enthusiasm with which he recalls the moment is telling. Michael is not the only member of the team who suggests moving away from the battered outfit that has survived more than one internship over the years.

Price tags previously out of reach are suddenly under thoughtful consideration. Perhaps the best example of this can be found in the classic 1953 Gucci Horsebit leather ‘Deal Sleds’.

For a mere £535 (€590/$790) the classic trading floor loafers are yours.

Crucially black not brown.

After a footwear upgrade has been sorted, those who tuned into the first episode of BBC investment banking drama Industry, will remember the importance of appearance and a good suit.

Within five minutes new intern Robert is teased about his black Ted Baker ensemble (too dark, complete with the label left on), which has ‘‘erected a billboard to how gauche’’ he is. Despite evident dramatisation in other parts of the programme, the importance given to style is in line with what many experience at top investment banks.

So once the money lands, IB Insider strongly recommends kitting yourself out with suitable office armour.

Dress codes for banks vary slightly but keeping it simple is universally a good idea. Think a plain dark navy/grey suit, with no pinstripes. A good fit sounds obvious, but if it isn’t tailored, make sure it doesn’t look bulky or too tight.

Whilst you don’t need to spend thousands, look upwards of £200 to avoid cheap materials. You can’t go wrong with a plain white shirt. Things to avoid are pockets and braces/suspenders.

Ties aren’t always required as banking becomes more casual, but a safe option is a plain Hermès silk tie which retails around £170 (€185/$195). Secured with Windsor or Half Windsor of course.

The only jewellery should be cufflinks, a wedding ring or a watch. Goodbye 2017 festival bands.

Not wearing a watch is also a statement, but they are undoubtably a great way to finish your outfit. For a junior banker, a safe bet is the Rolex submariner on the market for £6,450 (€7,750/$8,100).

A watch that caught our eye this week was Master Control Memovox by Jaeger-LeCoultre which retails at £10,300 (€12000/$11600). Perhaps a promotion or two is needed before this is justifiable… A cheaper recommended option is the Oris Aquis Lake Baikal Limited Edition which retails at £1850 (€2150/$2260), which is versatile and avoids appearing too flamboyant.

It is important to remember that this is a guide rather than a decree, and banks vary on their approaches, with some casual Fridays (think shirt and chinos, not T-shirt and Neil Diamond’s blue jeans) being introduced.

Money doesn’t always buy happiness in the world of investment banking, but it can ensure that you look the part.

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