London bankers fear drunken misdemeanours will make them unemployable
Next time you go out for a post-work beverage, think carefully about how any drunken behaviour might be interpreted by the Financial Conduct Authority. Can you really claim to be a person of integrity if you've been involved in an altercation at All Bar One?
The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is cracking the whip and banks are submitting to its new demands. At the FCA steps up its oversight of regulated staff, Bloomberg reports that bankers are having their job offers pulled if they have acts of dereliction - however minor, in their past. For example, UBS reportedly withdrew a senior banker's contract earlier this year when it emerged that he had unspecified, 'personal conduct' issues on his employment record. Bloomberg says the FCA is taking aeons to scrutinize job transfer applications from bankers who've got black marks. The 'fitness and propriety' of new hires has become a big thing.
In the circumstances, lawyers say that even events unrelated to the workplace are causing concern among London bankers who want to move on. "We had a case where there had been some drunken brawling outside work," says David Hamilton, a regulatory lawyer at Stephenson Harwood. "The altercation led to a legal charge and both the individual and his new employer were concerned that the FCA would argue that this reflected badly on his character. They came to us for advice."
In the event, Hamilton says the FCA were prepared to overlook that particular brawl on the grounds that it was a one-off occurrence. However, he cautions that the FCA is taking a far stricter approach to honesty and integrity generally - any signs of dishonesty or unprincipled behaviour can now have implications for bankers' employability, whether they're manifested in the office or not.