In the good old days of banking (i.e. prior to 2008), junior employees worked obscene hours for obscene pay and senior bankers worked 10% of those hours for even more obscene amounts of money. The latter did so by holding boozy lunches that lasted the better half of the afternoon; calling week-long ski trips in Verbier when they ran into clients at the bar once "working"; and generally holding the belief "my presence* is my value." In the last few years, though, things have changed. Management expects people to show up to the office and actually, quantifiably, justify their presence. Senior bankers are asked, "What do you do here?"
It's a scary, strange time. And nowhere is it more terrifying than at HSBC:
Matthew Westerman, the former Goldman Sachs banker who took over as head of HSBC’s global banking division in May is reportedly compelling his bankers to use a system that tracks exactly how they use their time, exactly how many clients they visit, and exactly how many deals they bring in. Seemingly gone are the days when you could mooch into the office at 11am before leaving for a ‘client lunch’ and reappearing at 4pm for two hours. HSBC bankers are said to be unhappy as a result. One New York-based MD in M&A says HSBC’s system sounds “Orwellian,” and that most banks are more gentle in the way they keep tabs on client-facing staff. “Management have access to my diary, but I’m not aware of any systematic checking,” he says.
*Not specifically at the office, just like, on earth.