The Review — 21/12/2015 at 13:14

The 10 top Christmas gifts of bankers and their wives

What do you buy the banker who has it all at Christmas? And what does the banker who has it all buy his or her friends and family?

We asked a selection of senior finance professionals on each side of the Atlantic for their gift-advice. We also asked a concierge service which helps time-pressed finance types with their shopping schedules.

This is what they said.

1. Ties  
Ties are important when you work in banking. The wrong tie can be your undoing. The right tie (not too ostentatious, not too stripey, preferably blue, maybe red or purple), will work wonders.

Unfortunately, bankers get a lot of ties. One senior M&A banker complains of being deluged with them.

2. Cuff links
As with ties, so with cuff links. Ties and cuff links are to bankers what socks and underpants are to everyone else. The M&A MD says his friends relatives also give him cuff links every year, because they consider this is what he needs at work.

3. Tiffany beer mugs
$45 lead crystal Tiffany beer mugs are a popular gift with people on Wall Street. This might be why they’ve already sold out.

4. Adele tickets
Adele is playing in London in March. Alex Cheatle, CEO of concierge service Ten Group, says tickets to her concert are proving a popular “stocking filler” among his banking clientele. The tickets have a face value of £45+, but are being resold for up to £700. Cheatle says his clients are paying face value.

A fund manager in NYC says he usually prioritises experiences over gifts when buying for his wife: “It’s always tickets to an event, that’s the big trend here.”

5. Yeezy trainers by Kanye West 
The new Yeezy Trainers by Kanye West are also a thing among younger financial professionals according to Ten Group. They cost at least £150 ($224) and are seriously rare. Harvey Nichols in London only stocks Yeezy Season 1 boots, costing £390 each.

6. Good wine from untraceable sources 
One senior trader told us he likes to give alcohol. “I usually give a couple of decent bottles of burgundy or a bottle of spirits,” he said. “People in London don’t have much space, so they like to receive something that they can eat or drink and that won’t take up too much room.”

He added that the only problem with wine is that the recipient can usually track where it was purchased and see how much was spent: “For this reason, I tend to buy wine that comes from the sort of small merchant that’s difficult to track down.”

7. Facial care products 
You might not think that a 40-something male banker wants a good moisturizer, but you’d be wrong. Youth is important in finance and some people spend big money perpetuating it. 

“I like Dermologica products,” says the senior M&A who’s deluged with cuff links and ties.

8. Egyptian sheets 
When you’re working long hours and sleeping short nights, it helps to make your bed as pleasant as possible. “Very nice bed linen has been one of my best gifts of recent years. It helps me sleep,” says the M&A banker.

9. Anything from the Amazon wishlist
Finally, the senior trader says he got so fed up with people giving him inappropriate presents that he set up his own publicly accessible Amazon wishlist. “Whenever anyone asks my wife what to buy me, she just directs them there,” he says. “Now I tend to get stuff I actually want.”

We looked to see if there were any senior bankers’ wishlists on Amazon. We found this from James Gorman, including a ‘cheese and onion crisps necklace.’ This may not belong to the James Gorman in charge of Morgan Stanley, however.

10. Extremely ostentatious gifts that non-finance professionals can’t compete with
Finally, one denizen of London’s Notting Hill complains that bankers at his children’s school are notable for giving teachers over-exuberant Christmas treats. “I’ve seen people giving Hermes, Links of London, a case of Krug, – to name but a few,” he tells us.


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