Morning Coffee: Ex-Goldman Sachs MD alleges bizarre goings-on and sues for $50m. Ongoing fruit trauma at Deutsche Bank

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Goldman Sachs whistleblower

It's a story that seems to have everything: there's a Mediterranean superyacht, a dubious businessman with a Germanic accent, Goldman Sachs and $1bn. If you were writing a script for a movie, you couldn't ask for more.

The brief plot summary runs as follows: Goldman Sachs allegedly wanted to ingratiate itself with the businessman with $1bn to invest, so two of its senior bankers (Michael Daffey and John Storey) went to go and meet him on his yacht. Despite his dubious history, they allegedly ushered him past the firm's client vetting process and subsequently agreed to issue $700 million in bonds on his behalf, thereby earning millions in fees. People at Goldman were briefly "ecstatic." But then a client introduced by the businessman didn't pay a bill, leaving Goldman temporarily on the hook for $85m. At this point, the firm allegedly looked about for someone to blame, alighted upon a senior banker only tangentially related to the entire affair, and suspended him.

So says Christopher Rollins, a former managing director who spent 16 years at Goldman Sachs, latterly as co-head of European execution services in London, before being fired for his apparent part in the matter in February 2017. Rollins, who is now the chief executive of BTIG, wants to be compensated: he's looking for $50m.

Goldman Sachs, needless to say, doesn't agree with Rollins' version of events. It maintains that Rollins, "executed certain trades involving a previously restricted party without obtaining appropriate authorization," and says his employment was terminated accordingly. Rollins says the firm "whitewashed" its records to make it look like he was the sole source of business with the client relating to the businessman, that he always complied with protocols, faithfully reported trades to his superiors and raised concerns about, "massive compliance failures." He claims that Goldman tried to tie him up in a, "Kafkaesque disciplinary process," where by he was pressured to confess to violating compliance restrictions without those restrictions being identified. Oh, and he had millions in deferred equity bonuses confiscated.

Rollins' ire isn't restricted to Goldman itself. He's also going after Jim Esposito, the new co-head of Goldman's securities business. Esposito chaired Rollins' disciplinary hearing and Rollins is now suing him personally.

Hell hath no fury like an ex-Goldman MD who feels himself wronged. Rollins filed his lawsuit in Manhattan on Thursday.

Separately, the disappearing fruit bowls are still a thing at Deutsche Bank.  Bloomberg prods the pimple of Deutsche discontentment with another story about the effects of cost-cutting at the German bank. The fruit has gone. So has first class travel. So has travel to conferences. The bank is also said to be looking at how much it spends on compliance staff. Although the cuts are being orchestrated by new CEO Christian Sewing, the fruit hatchet man is actually Deutsche's new COO ,Frank Kuhnke. Frank has become known as "Frank the Tank." An alternative might be, "Frank the banana slayer."

Meanwhile:

The Financial Conduct Authority will be fine with back-to-back and remote booking after the UK leaves the EU. "We are aware that some authorities elsewhere in Europe have set out specific requirements as regards business models. We are open to a broad range of legal entity structures or booking models.” (Financial Times)   

The Financial Conduct Authority has hired at least 30 people since February and is now advertising four senior Brexit-related roles. (Financial News) 

Barclays has now hired more than 50 equity traders and analysts since last year. (Financial News) 

Lots of students think KPMG internships are the best. (CNBC)

People with a high IQ seem to age more slowly. (BPS) 

The joys of commuting. (BBC Capital) 

This year's CFA exam results will look a bit different. (300 Hours) 

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