Someone had to do it: Deutsche Bank has warned traders 'being boastful, indiscreet and vulgar is not OK' (video)

No more Wolf of Wall Street-style swaggering, says the German bank's co-investment head Colin Fan in a rather damning video.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 19 May 2014

Even after bank failures, bailouts, rate rigging and a ‘Great Recession’, investment bankers are still renowned for being spoilt, sexist (and any other –ist you can think of) playboys. And it would appear, if this video sent to all of Deutsche Bank’s traders and sales people is anything to go by, that popular perception might, for once, be bang on.

‘Let’s be clear: our reputation is everything. Being boastful, indiscreet and vulgar is not OK,’ warned Colin Fan, the co-head of the firm’s investment bank, in the video obtained by the FT.
‘It will have serious consequences for your career. And I have lost patience on this issue,’ the Canadian continued. How ominous.
‘You may not realise it, but right now, because of regulatory scrutiny, all your communications may be reviewed, Fan, touted as a future chief exec of Europe’s largest investment bank, said. ‘This includes your emails, your conversations and your conduct.’
Clearly some traders hadn’t been following the Libor and Euribor rigging court cases, where chatroom and email conversations were spread before all and sundry and for which the bank was fined €725m (£591m).
It may sound like the big bosses at Deutsche are lecturing their underlings like school children, but that’s probably because some have been acting like them (or at the very least allegedly breaking the law – the bank has already suspended several currency traders over the probe into fx rigging).
Here are some of the choicest examples of Deustche bankers’ past ‘indiscretions’:

1. Flashing cash

Bankers have lots of money, but that’s no need to rub it in others’ faces. Deutsche Bank’s top bods agreed too, suspending a staff member who was allegedly waving a £10 note out of their London office windows at doctors and nurses marching against NHS cuts below.

2. Blatant sexism

‘Maybe I should get pregnant [too] so I can work from home’ - just one of the delightful remarks Heather Zhao, a vice president at the bank in New York, was subjected to after learning she was pregnant in early 2012. Zhao was then fired nine days before returning from maternity leave, according to a lawsuit she filed against her former employer last year.

3. Yet more sexism

Another New York banker, Yosefa Shliselberg, was told to leave in 2011 two months after complaining to HR about sexual discrimination and harassment. The bank claimed she had neglected her work by focusing on setting up a women’s organisation, despite being told she had ‘remarkable analytic skills’ and ‘deep knowledge’ in performance reviews.

4. Market manipulation is sooo funny

Joking about being able to fix markets doesn’t look so hilarious when the FBI turns up on your doorstep brandishing transcripts of said joke. It looks even less funny when your employer then fires you for it, which is reportedly what happened to New York-based fx director Robert Wallden earlier this year (MT has a great guide to fx rigging if you’re serious about it btw).

5. Er, Libor fixing (and crimes against spelling)

Guillame Adolph, a yen derivatives trader, was reportedly sacked by Deutsche Bank in 2011 for his very poor chat with Tom Hayes, the UBS trader who allegedly fixed Libor. Said poor chat supposedly goes as follows, according to a US Justice Department filing:
Hayes: cld you do me a favour would you mind moving you 6m libor up a bit today, i have a gigantic fix
Adolph: I can do taht
Adolph (next day): u happy with me
Hayes: thx

6. Did we mention sexism?

Lest we forget, the German bank’s former chief exec was also guilty of a rather poor choice of words while public speaking. The Deutsche Bank board ‘will be more colorful and prettier’ with a woman, Josef Ackerman said in a results presentation back in 2010. Oof.

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