Wall Street Trying To Out-Foosball Silicon Valley

True innovation requires soda and sofas.

For years Wall Street has had the uncomfortable feeling of losing its luster, as a stream of recent Ivy League grads and bank executives decamp for the West Coast and its teeming startup economy. But big banks have wised up and taken steps to keep tech talent in finance.

silicon valley ping pong fire

Those steps, in brief, are “foosball and fridges.”

If the distinctive culture of Silicon Valley has taught us anything, it's that employees need to feel like they're in a yuppie Dave & Buster's at all times. For start-ups it's basically de rigeur to have some combination of loungey seating, motivational posters, tabletop games and an endless supply of free munchies.

Now, thanks to a Bloomberg photo gallery, we have a peek into Wall Street's attempt to match the start-up environment. At BNY Mellon we see four men at game of doubles ping-pong, with seven others watching. At JPMorgan, a guy lounges on a dais in front of a mock-forest as two other guys shoot pool. BNP Paribas employees populate an ordinary-looking staff kitchen with Starbucks-style seating.

But this being Wall Street, there seems to be some reluctance to give up on old ways. “Fridges stocked with sodas and snacks” beckon employees at JPMorgan – but the goods aren't free. Goldman's upstart online lending unit Marcus looks freshly built, but the rows of long desks are basically indistinguishable from a standard-issue trading floor. “Team meetings and impromptu brainstorming sessions are said to be held in what's called the Marcus Livingroom,” Bloomberg informs us. Innovative!

See the photos at Bloomberg.