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Morning Coffee: Random man successfully faked being senior RBS bond salesman; senior banker quits for family and shot put

A case of mistaken identity

A case of mistaken identity

In the biggest case of mistaken identity since the BBC accidentally subjected a man applying for a support cleaning job to a live TV interview about an Apple court case, we learn this morning that a random member of building maintenance personnel has successfully feigned being a senior bond salesman at RBS.

Bloomberg reports that someone called KK Ho ‘infiltrated’ the RBS trading floor in London and for several months successfully pretended to be a senior bond salesman with great connections. He reportedly had, ‘freshly printed business cards identifying himself as a bond salesman,’ and ‘met with customers and impressed executives in internal meetings with his talk about rich clients he knew.’

In fact, Ho was an ex-manager in RBS’s property division whose role it was to maintain the buildings (a sort of handyman/site manager). He arrived on the trading floor when RBS cut his job and gave him a new desk to look for an alternative role during his consultation period. Ho seized his chance and reinvented himself as a bond salesman instead.

When RBS eventually realized there was an impostor from building maintenance in the midst of the markets division, Bloomberg says it dealt with the issue ‘very swiftly.’ However, Ho perpetuated his new identity for several months and several of RBS’s ‘very senior managers’ who’d been fooled into thinking Ho was a genuine senior bond salesman were said to be deeply unsettled upon discovering that he wasn’t. Conclusion: seize the moment; fake it it until you make it; and if you appear to have a roster of high spending clients, banks will believe almost anything. The incident appears to have taken place in 2012.

Separately, Jerry Donini, the ex-Lehman COO of Barclays’ corporate and investment bank is stepping down. As COO, Donini has been orchestrating the extraction of costs from Barclays but his own disappearance is said to be entirely voluntary. Donini reportedly has five children and has recently rediscovered his passion for shot put, which he will now be able to indulge more fully.

Meanwhile:

UK bankers’ bonuses were up 82% in April 2014 as payments were delayed to take account of the fall in the top rate of tax. (Mirror) 

Goldman Sachs is hiring someone to monitor its emails. (Alphaville)  

Barclays has reduced front-office commodities headcount by 18 per cent in the past year. (Financial Times) 

Commodities revenues at the ten largest banks fell 25% in the first half of the year. Top ten banks for commodities are: JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland. (Financial News) 

UBS has generated a pre-tax return on equity of 43% (up from just 7% last year). However, it has done this by shifting assets into a non-core legacy unit. When these assets are shifted back again, its ROE was only 6%. (Financial News) 

“My shares are being diluted because the Bank of England has decided to hold Barclays to a standard that no other bank in Europe is being held to,” said one big investor. “They can’t go on just making up the rules like this. It’s not clear to me that they won’t come back and change the rules again.” (SundayTimes)

Morgan Stanley lost money on 12 days in the second quarter, down from 15 one year earlier. (Bloomberg) 

People who are socially excluded focus more heavily on money. (The Atlantic) 

Related articles:

Morning Coffee: Ex-Goldman banker depicts firm as vindictive taker asking weird interview questions 

Morning Coffee: RBS’s floundering investment bank to be led by ex-retail banker 

Morning Coffee: Lean, mean UBS is the place to work. Deutsche Bank looks flaccid 

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