Banks might be holding back on layoffs in their London IBD teams, but this doesn't mean their juniors are automatically safe. Recruiters say the past few months have seen a spate of exits after analysts and associates were accused of abusing expenses systems.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is rumoured to have dismissed several juniors from its London TMT team recently after discovering expenses anomalies. Morgan Stanley is understood to have dismissed a junior from its Benelux team on the same basis. Both banks declined to comment.
The exits come as banks look for ways to cut costs. Morgan Stanley reputedly restricted access to its photocopying machines earlier this year and Goldman Sachs has asked staff at its asset management division to restrict non-essential travel.
Analysts and associates at investment banks are typically allowed to order meals worth around £20 if they work past 8pm and to get free cabs home if they work past 10pm. They've been known to rack up big expenses in the past, with one analyst boasting that he ate $3k of food in his first year.
Now it looks like banks are reining those expenses in. Recruiters say any expenses infractions are being dealt with harshly - and sometimes unfairly, with irregularities seized upon as an excuse to let people go. Ronnie Fox, a London employment lawyer, says there's a general unwillingness to tolerate attempts to play the expenses system - and not just in banking: "A law firm recently messaged its staff to say that staying on at work until 10.10pm to take advantage of the 10pm taxi rule was an abuse of its policy."
Some associates have done far worse than game expenses though. Last week, 24 year-old ex-Barclays associate Mitchell Bayer-Goldman was convicted of punching a bouncer in the eye after refusing to pay a £500 bar tab at a London club. Bayer Goldman joined Barclays' IBD division in 2012 and was promoted to associate in February this year (which seems a long delay in light of the new two year analyst programmes at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere). Warwick graduate Bayer-Goldman is no longer on Barclays' payroll, predictably.
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