Morning Coffee: Mess as male banker sues for unfair dismissal & female colleague claims 'unspoken sexism.' London's post-Brexit plan

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Sexism coutts

One of the world’s oldest private banks has a public relations nightmare on its hands as it’s facing allegations from a current and former employee in two unrelated lawsuits. On one hand, it's being suited by a female director for "unspoken sexism", on the other a male banker who left last year after allegations of harassment, is suing for unfair dismissal. 

The female director, Donna Ball, is suing Coutts for more than £400k ($524k) for lost current and future earnings, as well as injury to feelings. Ball claims to be working under a “triple-glazed” glass ceiling, where she has been paid less than male colleagues, denied promotions and discriminated against after she spoke up.

The male director's potential compensation for unfair dismissal is capped at £83k by the British courts. Harry Keogh resigned last year following allegations of inappropriate behaviour by he and other male bankers at Coutts. A  Wall Street Journal report claimed that the men were the perpetrators of unwanted physical contact, heavy drinking and lewd comments. Keogh was alleged to have described his sexual exploits to one female graduate trainee and whispering, “he’d take her with him if he could,” while telling another colleague she had the “longest legs in Coutts” and that he wanted to marry her, according to written accounts seen by the Journal. At the time, Keogh said he was leaving due to "recent media attention" and the "strain" on his family. His unfair dismissal case is expected to reach the courts later this year.

Ball, meanwhile, claimed that the RBS subsidiary “moved the goal posts” on her when deciding not to put her forward for promotion in 2017, according to the FT. She also said that a male peer who generated a similar amount of revenue received a £16.5k bonus while she only given a £7k bonus. She later took out an internal grievance, which she claims negatively affected her pay in 2018.

“The unspoken sexism practiced by some of the male managers causes female employees not to speak up when they are denied promotion and men to not be properly disciplined when they commit acts of sexual harassment or discrimination,” said Ball, a 31-year veteran of RBS who claims to be the only female associate director in Coutts' commercial department. Ball had previously been nominated for RBS's female talent program designed to further female career development but never moved up the ranks, despite claiming strong annual performances. “Change goes against the old boys' network grain," she said of her division within the bank. Coutts denied Ball’s claims.

Separately, the Financial Times reports that British MPs are postulating a post-Brexit world where the current 'passporting' arrangements that allow banks based in London to operate across the European Union could be applied to jurisdictions outside Europe. "Why couldn’t passporting apply to other countries around the world that share our high regulatory standards?,” said Nicky Morgan, chair of the Commons Treasury Select Committee. Could banks based in London yet operate in Hong Kong or New York?

Meanwhile...

The ongoing partial shutdown of the U.S. is “extremely negative” for the IPO market, according to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which reviews and approves public offering plans, is running a skeleton crew due to the shutdown. (Reuters)

Former Point72 portfolio manager Michael Graves is launching his own hedge fund. A former PM for Steven Cohen’s quant arm, Graves is said to be taking at least four Point72 analysts and developers with him. (Business Insider)

Citadel has poached former Goldman Sachs MD Gilberto Marcheggiano to join its London-based macro strategy team. (Reuters)

Deutsche Bank has appointed 63 managing directors in Europe – roughly the same number as a year ago despite all the firm-wide cuts. The bank also just received inquiries from two U.S. committees regarding the bank’s relationship with President Trump. (Financial News)

Google operates a 27-person in-house counterespionage unit, known as the Threat Analysis Group, to fight off hackers and the spread of disinformation. (WSJ)

Barclays CEO Jes Staley said it’s “more than likely” that another financial crisis is on its way. (Bloomberg)

If you find yourself sitting at home binge-watching television all day, you might as well get paid for it. Netflix is hiring “editorial analysts” to watch and rate their shows and movies. (ABC News)

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: btuttle@efinancialcareers.com

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