Lazard Mandates Vaccines, Allows Work From Home Twice a Week

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Lazard Ltd. said any employee working in its U.S. offices must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by July 6, and North American financial-advisory bankers and asset management staff will have the option of working from home two days a week starting mid-September.

The investment bank encouraged more employees to return to offices, calling the experience “vital” for younger workers, according to a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg and confirmed by Lazard. Individuals can work remotely, subject to client needs, on Monday and Friday if they choose. Chief Executive Officer Ken Jacobs said the ability to be more flexible will create recruitment opportunities.

Though ultimately investment banking is an “in-office experience,” it doesn’t have to be five days a week, Jacobs said in a telephone interview. “It has to be a minimum of three days, and it has to be the same three days for everyone, subject to clients and subject to travel.”

His firm diverges from larger investment banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which has been asking that most staff in the U.S. return to offices since mid-June. Perella Weinberg Partners has also said workers won’t have to come in five days a week.

Lazard allows advisory staff to work elsewhere for one month each year, and asset-management workers in New York are required to be in the office three days a week.

Banks are enjoying a hot market for dealmaking, with volumes surpassing $1.8 trillion globally in announced transactions less than halfway through 2021. While the Covid-19 variants around the world have been complicating return to office plans in other jurisdictions, Jacobs said he seeks to ultimately retain flexibility globally.

“It’s kind of unimaginative to think the world isn’t going to change after the pandemic and a lot of the things that we’ve learned during the pandemic will just be lost,” Jacobs said. “You shouldn’t just have to be here for the sake of being here. It just allows you to manage your life better.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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