Investment bank Jefferies cancels all business travel as COVID surges

Jefferies Financial Group has alerted employees to cancel all work-related travel plans as the Omicron variant continues to spread, The Post has learned.

The New York-based boutique investment bank — headed by chief executive Richard Handler — had encouraged employees to cancel most travel last month, but had not gone so far as to mandate it, according to sources close to the bank.

Last month, Jefferies was the first major Wall Street bank to reimpose a mask mandate, send employees home and cancel holiday parties amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

At the time, Handler said in a leaked memo that the firm had seen more than 40 new cases in the first week of December alone. The investment bank, which has 3,000 employees worldwide, also has offices in Asia and Europe.

Empty airport check-in
At Jefferies, a suggestion to eliminate business travel has turned into a mandate.
Getty Images

Jefferies was also among the first major companies to cancel an event at the Consumer Electronics Show, sources told The Post.

Staff returned to offices in October. Jefferies has been particularly sensitive to the impact of the pandemic. Chief financial officer Peg Broadbent died due to coronavirus complications in March 2020.

More than 95% of Jefferies staff are now vaccinated, and all visitors to Jefferies’ offices must be fully vaccinated, Handler said in the memo last month.

Jefferies logo displayed on a smartphone
The boutique investment bank suffered a tragedy close to home when CFO Peg Broadbent died from coronavirus in 2020.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

“That is why, with only a very few exceptions, most of our new cases have not required hospitalization,” Handler wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Reuters.

In the weeks following, other banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have followed suit and encouraged employees to work remotely for several weeks until the number of new cases decreases.

Jefferies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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