Morning Coffee: Big Four firm offers easy life to new recruits. Hungry bankers find new way to get fired

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Man on hammock using mobile phone, Thailand

Imagine the kind of flexibility that Uber provides its workers but adapt it to financial services. That’s what PwC is trying to pull off with a new recruitment program designed to tap into a talent pool that can’t work a traditional nine-to-five.

The program, dubbed the flexible talent network, will allow employees to choose their own working pattern. This can mean shorter working hours or only working for a handful of months throughout the year. The idea behind the program is to attract people who wouldn’t normally apply to a firm like PwC due to their life constraints: full-time parents, entrepreneurs and the semi-retired who are looking to supplement their income.

Applying to the network appears fairly simple. You upload your resume, select the areas of business you’d be interested in and explain your desired working pattern. Candidates don’t actually apply for a specific role. PwC looks at a person’s background and tries to match them with specific projects based on their skills and availability.

On the surface, the idea makes plenty of sense. There are likely thousands of people out there who are highly skilled and in need of a part-time or temporary job that don’t want to work at a coffee shop. If nothing else, the firm will tap into a severely under-recruited talent pool. But it will be interesting to see how PwC deals with the potential hurdles that come with employing part-time workers who have other commitments, and how that could affect certain projects.

The Independent is reporting that the network will offer some bells and whistles that a gig company like Uber doesn’t, including accrued benefits like pro rata holiday pay. Right now the network is only operating out of the U.K., though PwC already runs a similar program in the U.S. called the Talent Exchange, a marketplace where contractors can apply for specific roles with pre-determined durations. Part-time doesn’t appear to be an option, however.

Elsewhere, bankers have discovered an inventive new way of getting fired. More than a dozen employees within Wells Fargo’s investment bank have been let go or suspended for allegedly doctoring receipts in an effort to expense meals, according to the Wall Street Journal. Like most investment banks, Well Fargo Securities comps dinner for analysts and associates who are burning the midnight oil. But there are rules – most banks will sign off on meals ordered after 6:30 p.m. Investment bankers at Wells Fargo’s San Francisco office apparently like the early bird special. They reportedly altered timestamps on emailed receipts for delivery orders to make it look like they were working late so they would get reimbursed. Amazingly, the majority of junior bankers at that location have left the firm or were suspended.

Meanwhile:

Former Goldman Sachs analyst Damilare Sonoiki has been charged with securities fraud after allegedly providing inside information to an NFL player ahead of four corporate acquisitions. The two were none-too-patient. Former Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks turned $80k into $1.2 million in just four months in 2014. Sonoiki, a 23-year-old analyst at the time who went on to become a TV writer, was rewarded by Kendricks with around $10k in cash and some football tickets. (WSJ)

JPMorgan Asset Management is shuttering a $1 billion credit hedge fund. Led by Fahad Roumani, the Palm Lane Credit Opportunities Fund appeared to be doing fairly well, with no down years since it opened. It employed 23 people. (Bloomberg)

BNP Paribas traders accused of rate-rigging used lyrics from songs by 80s rap group Salt-N-Pepa to disguise their dealings in chat rooms. (NY Post)

NEX has hired London executive Chris Barrow to head of ENSO in Europe. The Michael Spencer-led firm has been doing a lot of hiring to build up the group that helps hedge funds manage risk and data when trading. (FN)

More than 160 Facebook employees are pushing back on the tech company’s “intolerant” liberal culture. (Business Insider)

Merrill Lynch is reversing its decision to ban brokers from charging commissions in retirement accounts (WSJ)

A former director at Citi and Lloyds Banking Group is in hot water after taking nearly $4 million in tax payer money to refurbish an English castle that he is now trying to sell for a $2 million profit after just one year. Christian Tym said at the time of receiving the historic renovation grant that he planned to open the 19th century property to public tours. (The Sun)

The Department of Justice said it believes Harvard discriminates against Asian-American applicants through the use of a subjective personal rating system that holds them to a higher standard than other races. The DOJ weighed in on the matter after families sued the university for discrimination for allegedly limiting the number of Asian-Americans that it admits. (CBS News)

Goldman Sachs posted a blog to highlight some of the activities interns got to take a part in this summer other than working on Excel models at their desk. They made crab cakes during a cooking class, climbed a rock wall and built some robots, among other things. (GS)

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: btuttle@efinancialcareers.com

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