Beware Tinder. As use of the dating app spreads in banking, so too does the risk of a cataclysm between seductive communications, banks’ enthusiasm for monitoring employees' messages and misunderstandings in the workplace.
One junior M&A banker from a major firm has already been sacked for Tinder-related transgressions. Colleagues say the analyst was fired for sending “inappropriate messages” on his work-approved phone. Months later, he still has yet to find a new job.
Nana Wereko-Brobby of Social Concierge, a matchmaking firm which organises events for young bankers in London and New York, says bankers' use of dating apps has been confused by banks’ adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. These allow people to designate personal phones as work phones and to bill employers for them. Although it should be ok to send Tinder messages on a BYOD in your own time, lines can be blurred. “My finance clients are careful to keep app-swiping and dating out of the office,” says Wereko-Brobby. “If you work in banking it’s expensive to make you redundant; you don’t want to create an opening to let you go on disciplinary grounds.”
It doesn’t help that banks are increasingly monitoring employees’ mobile phone use, including encrypted messages on What'sApp. Oliver Blower, CEO of VoxSmart, a company that specializes in monitoring instant messages and other mobile communications says banks have been galvanized into action by the realization that employees are using personal mobile devices for, “price discovery, quoting and trading.” As the scope of monitoring increases, messages sent within dating apps are more likely to be caught in the net.
This poses a problem for analysts and associates, who by all accounts are all over the likes of Tinder, as well as more upscale dating apps like Inner Circle. “Most of my male colleagues are on Tinder,” says one female analyst. “They freely discuss their Tinder dates in the office once the VPs and MDs are not around. They're not very careful about it at all.”
A Bank of America trader says he uses both Tinder and Happn. “Happn can be better,” he says. “It shows how many paths you crossed with people in your area. If you’re in banking, you’re always crossing paths. You can see all your colleagues on there.”
In many ways, young bankers are the perfect constituency for dating apps, making the monitoring of communications on work-related devices particularly problematic. “No one here has time to date properly,” says one J.P. Morgan associate. “Everyone uses Tinder and a lot of the guys boast about it and refer to their conquests. It’s become kind of par for the course.”
The misuse of dating apps also carries career risks resulting from misunderstandings and worse. Galyna Nitsetska, a former private banker who founded Empress Mimi Lingerie, says she joined Tinder because senior bankers whom she respected were on there. However, she had a bad experience with an employee of a Swiss bank in London who won’t leave her alone.
“He was upfront about working in banking, but he lied about almost everything else,” says Nitsetska. “He pretended to be a Yale graduate from Monaco when he’s actually a guy from a university in India. I did the due diligence on him and pointed out that he hadn’t been truthful, but he took no notice. After I deleted Tinder he contacted me on every other social media platform and continues to message me several times a month asking to meet up. It’s a nightmare.”
Nitsetska says Tinder encourages young men in finance to pretend to be things they’re not. “I’ve caught guys out who say they work in Goldman’s banking division but can’t say exactly what they do there. There are also assistants in hedge funds who say they're portfolio managers.
“It’s like they develop Tinder personas and feel ok manipulating women for the sake of funny stories to tell at work.,” she adds.
Nitsetska says she’s threatened to report the banker who’s pestering her to his employer. So far it’s made no difference, but she says she may yet make good on her threat if he continues.
Some female bankers seem to have the measure of Tinder though. One Goldman associate said she made right-swipers solve mathematical puzzles to proceed: " Level 1: There are two digits in 0-9 that repeats twice in my number, if you can guess both of them right, you progress to level 2. Level 2: There are two digits in 0-9 that are not in my number, if you get any of them right I'll give it to you."
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