How Wall Street can get back to the office; Private equity’s energy mess

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Welcome to Wall Street Insider, where we take you behind the scenes of the finance team’s biggest scoops and deep dives from the past week. 

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Happy May! With remote work stretching into another month, conversations are starting to shift to when we’ll return to the office — and who might remain at home. Luke Ellis, the CEO of $104 billion hedge-fund manager Man Group, broke down how it will operate after the pandemic, and said his firm has proven it can “not just survive but thrive and operate at close to full productivity with everyone working from home.”   

CEOs from firms including Franklin Templeton, MSCI, Prudential, and Tradeweb explained how the whole experience has blurred the lines between work and home, and has them rethinking how they divide their time and energy. 

Read the full story here: 

CEOs are spending more time with their families than ever before — and thinking about what work-life balance should look like post-pandemic

A return can’t come soon enough for some. As Dan DeFrancesco reports, Wall Streeters are cursing and complaining in company chats about their WFH situations, and it could be a compliance red flag that bad behavior is around the corner. Meanwhile, Dan Geiger explained why some major New York City landlords think mandatory temperature-taking won’t be an easy solution as offices look to reopen. Here’s why they’re worried about effectiveness, privacy, and liability.

Read on for a look at PE energy bets, Goldman tech hires, and the future of retail and payments. 

Have a great weekend,

-Meredith 


hand covered with crude oil points to an oiled marsh where oil has come ashore May 26, 2010 in Blind Bay, Louisiana.

Getty Images/Win McNamee


Casey Sullivan and Benji Jones took a look at how the US shale revolution that propelled the country to energy dominance was backed in large part by private-equity firms. Now, small to midsize firms that specialize in oil and gas could have trouble raising funds in the future, while larger firms with diverse portfolios will be shielded, according to nearly a dozen experts.

Read the full story here: 




Jay Janner-Pool/Getty Images


David Boies, the star trial lawyer and name partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, is seeing 15 partners leave from his firm en masse. Casey Sullivan spoke with more than a dozen people familiar with the exodus to provide a window into what’s going on at the elite litigation powerhouse.

Read the full story here: 


Airbnb and RXR Realty scrap luxury apartment partnership 

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.

REUTERS/Mike Segar


Dan Geiger reports that Airbnb and RXR Realty have agreed to cancel a 10-floor, 130,000-square-foot deal at Rockefeller Plaza, where the pair planned to install luxury apartments for rent on the home-sharing site’s platform.

Although Airbnb had not planned to pour any money into the deal at 75 Rockefeller Plaza up front, it had agreed to financially backstop the project, using the company’s credit to borrow the tens of millions of dollars it would have likely cost to convert the office floors.

Read the full story here:

Airbnb and RXR Realty are scrapping a partnership at Rockefeller Center that the home-sharing giant’s CEO touted as a ’21st-century hospitality model’




Oliver Rossi/Getty Images


Online shopping has accelerated amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean brick-and-mortar retail will go away completely. But consumers are unlikely to rush back to crowded places like malls once stay-at-home orders start to lift.

“It’s going to become a matter of survival to reinvent why they have physical retail,” Max Levchin, a PayPal cofounder and the CEO of Affirm, told Shannen Balogh. “If customers are uncomfortable mingling by way of rubbing shoulders, what do you do about that?”

Read the full story here: 

Retail will need to be reinvented after the pandemic. PayPal cofounder Max Levchin lays out the future of brick-and-mortar, and the ‘software fight’ that will go on behind the scenes




Stefano Guindani


Goldman Sachs has hired three MDs and two fellows for its technology and engineering teams since the start of the year. Marco Argenti, Goldman Sachs’ co-chief information officer, spoke with Dakin Campbell and Dan DeFrancesco about what the hires mean for the current talent landscape and the bank’s future plans.

Read the full story here:

Goldman Sachs’ top tech exec explains how a recent slew of senior hires are transforming the bank’s approach to building products and pitching them to customers


RBC Capital Markets has made two key hires in distressed-debt trading in recent weeks, adding Jim Russo from PointState Capital and Callie Simpkins from Goldman Sachs. The timing of the hires “lined up perfectly,” but they’re part of a broader effort to bolster the firm’s leveraged finance trading platform, RBC execs Adam Savarese and John Maggiacomo told Business Insider. 


Real estate

  • WeWork is rolling out global layoffs over Zoom and has kicked off talks to slash jobs in the UK as the coworking giant struggles to cope with coronavirus fallout
  • The future of real estate could be virtual open houses on Facebook. Coldwell Banker’s CEO explains why the in-person industry needs to embrace going digital.
  • Airbnb-backed corporate housing startup Zeus Living is asking landlords to renegotiate their leases and withholding April and May rent until they sign
  • ‘We should be prepared for a new normal’: 3 real estate experts on how the coronavirus is transforming offices and accelerating the rise of industrial property

Hedge funds and investing 

  • Credit Suisse just shut down its $519 million computer-run QT Fund after a month from hell for quants
  • Some large Airbnb investors have slashed their internal valuations of the company by more than 30% as the pandemic halts travel
  • Companies from Six Flags to Chico’s are racing to line up poison pills. Here’s a look at 41 recent moves — and the activist investors they’re fighting off.
  • The CEO of an AI-powered hedge fund that gained as other computer-driven strategies melted down explains why tried-and-true quant models have become irrelevant
  • The chief data officer at $6 billion hedge fund Balyasny explains how to merge quantitative and fundamental trading strategies — and the importance of ‘translators’ to bridge the gap

Fintech and payments

  • 2 investors at legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz predict the new ways we’ll shop, bank, and pay, from live-streaming ecommerce to branchless banking
  • A Mastercard exec lays out how a surge in contactless payments is giving the company an unexpected boost as people rethink touching cash
  • Stash’s CEO says LendingTree’s participation in its $112 million funding round will help the fintech’s expansion into lending
  • Credit Karma’s CEO says lenders are having a hard time assessing credit risk. Here’s how that could lead to more banks and fintechs teaming up.
  • Buy now, pay later startups are surging. But Affirm CEO Max Levin says the industry will see a shakeout as the pandemic hits borrowers.
  • The chief growth officer of FIS explains where the payments and financial tech giant is looking to invest after launching a $150 million venture arm

Banking and deals

  • Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to halt big M&A during the pandemic. 4 dealmaking and antitrust experts explain why that’s not necessary.

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