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Morning Coffee: Is this where the worst ‘laddish’ bankers work? Bad news begins for bonuses

Sexism banking

It’s not difficult to identify instances of sexist, “laddish,” activities in financial services. The cage fighting inter-dealer brokers have been notorious for it, and U.S. investment banks haven’t exactly been oases of political correctness. Now a new case has erupted which suggests that Macquarie, the Australian investment bank and brokerage, might have some issues of its own.

Although Macquarie has offices in New York and London, the badness took place in the wealth management division of the bank’s head office in Sydney, where Macquarie stands accused of fostering an ‘alpha male culture and slack corporate governance.’

The Australian Financial Review details a litany of transgressions, many but not all directed to the unfortunate female desk assistants and dating back several years. It’s alleged that a male broker used scissors to cut off a female desk assistant’s pony tail, that the same broker was accused of stalking a female employee outside her home, that another broker was accused of taking “upskirt photos” of  female assistant while she sat at her desk, and that an assistant described as “voluptuous” was photographed in the office and the photos shared around. In a separate incident, a divisional director and investment advisor are accused of spiking a colleague’s drinks with valium and laxatives while they traveled in South America to inspect gold mines owned by a mining group they were advising clients to invest in.

Macquarie says it conducted an internal review into the latter case, which also included accusations that employees at the bank had artificially ramped the share price of the mining company, but found no evidence of “inappropriate trading.” With regards to the accusations of sexist activities in its wealth management division, the bank accuses the law firm bringing the case of attempting to solicit clients for a class action. Even so, the accusations – many of them relating to incidents that took place four years ago – make for uncomfortable reading, particularly as Macquarie seems to have done little to deal with the perpetrators. For example, the man accused of taking “upskirt” photos, was simply moved to another desk; no formal disciplinary action took place. Lawyers claim that Macquarie failed to terminate the male advisors involved because they were earning a lot of commissions for the bank.

Separately, Wall Street compensation consultants Johnson Associates thinks bonuses in equity and debt capital markets could be up by 20% this year, and that M&A bonuses could be up 5%. If you’re in Europe, this could prove wishful thinking. Financial News has spoken to various senior bankers in EMEA who see clouds on the horizon. North Korea, the U.S. budget ceiling, the German elections and Brexit are all expected to throw shade on the beach party. “It’s not as if any market has fallen off a cliff, but you’re starting to hear questions being asked around how long the train can keep going at this speed,” declared Luca Ferrari, head of M&A for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Meanwhile:

Most asset management firms in Europe are registered in Dublin or Luxembourg but manage funds in London. This could change as Esma looks at “delegation” rules which could also require that investment banks relocate traders to Europe to be near asset managers. (Financial Times)

Leda Braga is planning to expand the London office of her $8bn hedge fund, Systematica Investments, so that it employs 44 people. It currently has 36 people in London. (Financial News) 

Citi hired UBS veteran Jean-Baptiste Petard to a newly created role as head of global services, based in London. (Financial Times) 

Credit Suisse hired Bruno Hallak as its new vice chairman for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region within its Investment Banking and Capital Markets division. Hallak previously worked for Deutsche Bank. (Reuters) 

Deutsche Bank hired Ken Reich, formerly of Man Financial, to help run Its fixed income sales operation for emerging markets. (Business Insider) 

The hottest tech company to work for may well be Nvidia: it’s stock market value is up seven times in two years and revenues rose 56% in the past quarter. (NYTimes) 

Winton Capital launched a new simulation tool called ‘the Future’ which anyone can access. (Winton, the Future)

New thing in Silicon Valley: extended fasts where nothing passes your lips but coffee. (Guardian) 


Have a story or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

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