What did Rurik Jutting, the ex-Bank of America banker accused of murdering two women in Hong Kong, actually do? According to his LinkedIn page, he worked in structured capital markets at Barclays and structured equity finance and trading at Bank of America..
Bank of America didn’t respond to a request for information on its structured equity finance and trading business. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that Jutting was part of a 36 person global team known as SEFT (Structured equity finance and trading) which, ‘helps hedge funds and other clients manage their stock portfolios, often through the use of derivatives.’
London-based equity derivatives headhunters, none of whom knew Jutting, said he appeared to be positioned in the secretive ‘corporate equity derivatives’ side of BAML’s business. “Corporate equity derivatives are all about finding equity-based solutions for the bank’s clients,” says one headhunter. “The deals are usually originated by the investment bankers and it all happens behind a wall, in private – rather than in the public markets.” He said that corporate equity derivative professionals work with the bank’s clients to structure equity derivatives deals that might, for example, allow them to buy back a portion of the shares in a company before embarking on an M&A deal. “There are high fees associated with these deals and it’s a very sensitive area to work in,” he added. “It makes it a bit worrying if this guy was a loon.”
The Wall Street Journal has seen internal documents suggesting that Jutting was particularly involved in, ‘dividend arbitrage trades’. These are trades which help clients reduce their taxes on stock dividends by making the most of differences in international tax rules. Jutting is portrayed as a high level administrator – he coordinated clients, tax lawyers, accountants and others to make sure the deals took place. He may have been involved in something similar at Barclays – as the Telegraph points out, Barclays’ now defunct Structured Capital Markets business also existed to create trades that would help clients avoid tax.
Jutting’s jobs were seemingly lucrative – one BAML colleague told the Telegraph that he earned as much as an MD. However, like many bankers he seems to have spent as much as he earned – Jutting had ‘financial problems’ according to an ex-girlfriend. His work may also have been stressful – the same ex told Channel Four news that Jutting had tried to kill himself in October 2013 due to pressure at work.
If work was detrimental to 29-year old Jutting’s mental health, it seems to have been bad for his physical health too. Contemporary photographs reveal him to be overweight. In the photograph below, published by the Daily Mail and taken while he was at Cambridge University (where he was part of the running club and lightweight rowing club), he looks completely different.
There is speculation that leaving banking may have been the catalyst for Jutting’s murders. Reuters points out that the first is though to have taken place around the time his securities licence was suspended.