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Opinion
Shuli Ren

The Banking Jobs Algos Can’t Destroy

It takes a human to navigate the shadows of the dollar-bond market in China.

Dollar-bond buyers have helped finance urban-renewal projects in Chongqing, China.

Dollar-bond buyers have helped finance urban-renewal projects in Chongqing, China.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Good investment banking jobs are disappearing. Much of the business has been long replaced by machines and computer algorithms. Almost all equity trading is now done electronically. Even high-yield corporate bonds, an opaque corner of the market where orders from wealthy clients are often placed over lavish meals, are being disrupted. In the U.S., 37% of these transactions are conducted electronically, up from 21% in early 2019. 

This year also witnessed China ruthlessly going after engines of job creation. The big tech crackdown and Beijing’s reluctance to allow its hottest unicorns to go public in New York are choking off viable career paths. For years, thousands of worker bees in Hong Kong served as a bridge between the two nations, connecting Chinese startups to American savers. That tie is being severed.