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Banker who quit after zero bonuses having a fine time out of work

Berenberg cut staff and bonuses in 2022 - but its ex-bankers don’t seem to mind to much.

Sarah Simon, who we noted left last year, described on a social media post that gardening leave had kept her busy in a way that didn’t involve Excel and PowerPoint. “The kitchen has been re-sanded,” she said. “Centuries-old cobwebs removed.”

She also noted that she had planted a vegetable garden and welcomed the next tomato and cucumber shortage in London, where she is based. The vegetable garden is a prudent choice, not only due to the implied mission statement of “gardening leave,” but also because Berenberg didn’t pay bonuses last season. Tackling food inflation’s impact on a family’s budget so directly is a personal finance tour de force.

Other activities – a resuscitation of the sewing machine, piano practice, tennis, and dog-walking – point to a more idyllic life, far from the long hours expected at an investment bank and more to be expected from a late Victorian minor member of the gentry.

Contemplation was also a key part of gardening leave, as was reminiscing over “that old Berenberg camaraderie,” indicating that leaving a place of work after 12 years might be more akin to a break-up than had previously given credit for, especially at a bank.

Simon joined Berenberg back in 2010 after 16 years with Morgan Stanley (and a brief stint at an advertising firm), which she left as an MD on the media and internet equity research team. Simon admitted in her post that, before joining Berenberg, she “had never heard of the bank.”

Simon wrote a research note for clients shortly before leaving, in which she flagged the bonus cuts for clients, but it is believed that this isn’t related to her departure.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: Zeno.Toulon@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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