Omicron Forces Investment Bankers Into Teleconferencing Return

Although the impact will not be nearly as harsh as the sudden social suspension COVID-19 forced on them in early 2020, the Omicron variant's spread is causing investment bankers to switch back to remotely-conducted business. The onset of the pandemic made global merger and acquisition activity fall to a three-year low, but the new surge will hopefully be easier on the business due to its reportedly truncated life-cycle and bankers' latent proclivity for negotiating deals via online platforms like Zoom.

There is, however, a long-standing concern that continued lack of in-person interaction is negatively affecting the strength of business relationships and connections. The timing of Omicron's arrival is also a bad omen; corporations often put time aside at the beginning of the year to consider strategic changes, interfacing more frequently with advisors. Drew Goldman, Global Head of Investment Banking Coverage & Advisory at Deutsche Bank AG, said, "My motto has always been, if I'm not in front of my clients, someone else is. But I think this is just a different time. If people want to travel, and they are comfortable doing it, and they take precautions, I'm allowing people."

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In the larger financial world, big banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley have embraced work-from-home policies throughout the pandemic, even during the wide-availability phase of vaccines that saw investment bankers hastily opening their schedules for on-premise meetings.