Nasty activities investigated to fund women’s toilets

Of all the C-Suite jobs, COO is never the most glamorous. But sometimes it can be actively sleazy. A thought for Georgina Philippou, who had to be absent from carbon neutrality initiatives and cloud strategy meetings write a note to all staff to scold them for the “shameful” state of the office building.

New requests under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed just how bad things have gotten at the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator charged with prosecuting insider trading, impersonation identity and other market conduct offences. There’s no subtle way to put this; an employee found a “large piece of excrement on the floor in front of the toilet” in the women’s restroom on the fifth floor. Similar incidents recurred on floors 4, 6, 9, 10 and 11 over the following months.

Corporate lawyers often feel called in to do the bankers’ dirty work, but rarely quite so literally as the poor souls at Eversheds who ended up being asked for advice on how to conduct an internal investigation into the problem, while respecting privacy. people wanting to use the facilities for their intended purpose. There was even a specific prime suspect – correspondence back and forth when this person was taking annual leave to see if this could be confirmed with CCTV footage – but it turned out to be a case mistaken identity.

What a way to make a living. But as well as being a bit of a cruel piece of fun, this case should be of slight concern to anyone who makes a living in investment banking in London – and perhaps internationally too. To state the obvious, people who stage dirty protests in their own office are probably not doing well in terms of mental health. Among the complaints being investigated alongside this were liquor bottles found in garbage cans. FCA staff had terrible morale for years and although phantom defecation activity had come to an end, complaints about job stress and burnout were instead it’s getting worse this year.

These regulators have the power to ruin careers and destroy livelihoods. It’s quite disturbing to think that this kind of power is wielded by an organization that is full of people who are themselves so stressed and distressed. High levels of staff turnover and long sick leave mean regulators don’t develop organizational skills and don’t have time to develop an understanding of the markets they are supposed to regulate. For our own sake, we have to hope things get better for them.

On the other hand, investment banking compliance analysts have over the years learned to apply a certain amount of skepticism when a spokesperson says something is an “industry-wide issue” rather than a case where their particular bank did something wrong. But in the event that HSBC admits it is cooperating with the CFTC on an investigation into the use of unapproved messaging platforms (i.e. WhatsApp), the “I don’t think it’s specific” appears to be valid. After all, as we noted yesterday, German has its own WhatsApp crackdown, and JP Morgan was fined $200 million as recently as December.

Slightly worryingly, some regulators seem to be taking the hard line that work-related communication on any platform that is not archived and available for compliance is itself a serious offense, beyond any evidence that actual wrongdoing was discussed. While there’s obviously a purist case to be made for the zero-tolerance approach, it does seem a bit harsh, especially since over the past two years remote teams have often had to improvise communication channels. . But it’s still hard to argue against the government – perhaps the only comfort bankers can take is that if everyone does it, fines paid by banks won’t necessarily result in so many layoffs and measures disciplinary action against individual bankers.

Meanwhile…

Major Parisian commercial operations continue to recruit staff, usually at each other’s expense. Cécile Gambardella is leaving Bank of America’s FICC sales to head up Citi’s France-Belgium-Luxembourg markets. (Financial news)

Tim Leissner continues to sing like a particularly raspy canary at the 1MDB trial. Today’s batch of allegations include suggestions that Goldman Sachs jobs were promised to the children of government employees in return for contracts, and (less obviously related to the actual charges) that Leissner was blackmailed by one of her lovers to buy her a $10 million house. (Bloomberg)

If you’re considering dating a banker, always check LinkedIn and make sure their profile makes sense. Apparently, investment banking is a popular occupation for “romance scammers” to pretend to be, pretending to have a high-flying lifestyle but temporarily run out of money with their cards canceled. (Charm)

Jes Staley’s bad luck continues when it comes to getting his hands on the bonuses he received – Barclays’ board has decided to freeze the acquisition of his shares until his lawsuit against regulators are complete. (Sky)

A slightly unintended consequence of the M&A boom – the insurance industry has a better idea of ​​cannabis companies and the type of people suing them, so it’s getting cheaper to buy insurance for directors and officers . (Canadian underwriter)

From a business perspective, the FT doesn’t understand why UBS has so many valuable charts (maybe clients like them). From its art critic’s perspective, however, they have to admit that not only is it a good collection, but the UBS New York offices are a surprisingly nice space to show them off, probably deserving a larger audience. grateful that the bankers who pass unknowingly with their Starbucks. (FT)

The Bank of England has scrutinized the bonus packages “in detail” and wants to see people punished (apparently more than they already were) for their involvement in Archegos transactions. (Bloomberg)

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