Now Mr Sachs, Tell Me About Your Childhood

Cognosis, the London-based strategy consultancy, has revealed that investment banks have their own idiosyncrasies and even personalities. According to a report in the Financial Times, the consultancy adapted a psychological profiling tool based on Jung’s personality theory and turned it on banks. The results group the banks into various categories including ‘pragmatists’, ‘idealists’ and ‘harmonisers’ and suggest that individual corporate cultures filter down, ultimately defining a bank’s ethos. While all this may sound a little hard to swallow, the results may ring a few bells nonetheless. For example, Richard Brown, managing partner at Cognosis, observed: ‘Decision making at Merrill Lynch is absolutely rational and analytic – almost at the expense of inter-personal stuff.’ A sentiment presumably shared by the thousands of staff recently laid off by the bank. Whether Goldman Sachs would concur that ‘clannish’ best describes its ‘personality’ is another matter, but happily Rothschild continues to epitomise the ideals of yesteryear; Brown describes the bank as having ‘the flavour of a gentleman’s club’. Presumably not of the Spearmint Rhino variety.


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