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Morning Coffee: Furor over Credit Suisse technologist in fishnets. M&A bankers left out in the cold

Workplace diversity and gender equality advocates are up in arms after a male director at Credit Suisse who alternates between dressing as a man and a woman was named as one of Britain’s top female executives.

Philip Bunce, a married father of two who has previously described himself as “gender fluid,” splits his time at work as Philip or Pippa, depending on whether he is dressed in a men’s suit or in women’s clothes (a short pink lacy dress, high heels and fishnet tights according to the photos) and a wig. In an October guest column in Financial News, Bunce said he came out at work roughly four years ago and was greeted with positivity and support by his bosses and colleagues at Credit Suisse. He has since been recognized with several external awards, including being named as one of Britain’s top 10 LGBT inspirational leaders.

But his inclusion in Financial Times’ latest “Her-oes Champions of Women in Business list” has elicited a negative reaction from several gender and LGBT equality champions who believe the accolade is “sexist” and “insulting” to women who face other work-related challenges, according to interviews from The Times and the Daily Mail. The main point of contention seems to be that the organizers of the awards issue a separate list that lauds male executives who support women in business, but Bunce chose to be nominated in the women’s category, according to the Times.

“This makes a mockery of women and their achievements,” Kiri Tunks, co-founder of Woman’s Place UK, told the publication. “I would be the first to applaud Bunce’s gender non-conformity, especially in [the male-dominated business world] as it would be brave and boundary-pushing. It’s a shame he has to spoil it by accepting accolades for female executives,” added Kristina Harrison, an LGBT activist who was born male but transitioned two decades ago.

Former Credit Suisse employee Caroline Farrow weighed in on social media, suggesting that if a female banker wore “a shocking pink lace dress [and] towering heels, a manager would have a word,” according to the Daily Mail.

The head of a global markets engineering team, Bunce has been with Credit Suisse since 2005 following stints at Goldman Sachs and UBS. “We are very proud to be an inclusive employer which celebrates all aspects of diversity,” Credit Suisse said in a statement to the Daily Mail.

In a tweet, Bunce initially described his detractors as ‘sad terfs’ – an acronym meaning ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists.’ However, this was later deleted.

Elsewhere, a host of banks and boutiques are celebrating Comcast’s $39 billion majority takeover of British media company Sky following a dramatic blind auction that included First Century Fox, which already owns a 39% stake in the company but wanted full control. Acting as Sky’s advisers, bankers from Morgan Stanley, Barclays and PJT Partners will share a pool of roughly $80 million. Robey Warshaw, Evercore, Bank of America and Wells Fargo represented Comcast, and will split roughly $50 million. Fox’s bankers – Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Centerview – would have made a bit less if they advised on their winning bid but will still see some love for their work.

Seven of the top 10 firms in the M&A league tables worked on the massive deal, set to be the largest takeover in the U.K. this year. J.P. Morgan and Citi, the first- and fourth-ranked dealmakers during the first half of 2018, were the only big names that were left without a piece of the pie.


Despite a lack of interest among bank executives, the German government appears in favor of a potential merger of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. News also broke on Friday that Deutsche Bank’s former U.S. head of mergers and acquisitions delivered a presentation back in April suggesting the bank should be broken up. (The Independent)

2018 is setting up to be a horrible year for oil traders. Dwindling profits and ill-timed bets amid wild price swings will result in the restructuring of trading desks and smaller budgets for the coming year. (Bloomberg)

If you work at a hedge fund or private equity firm, it pays to be based in Connecticut and not New York. A new tax provision allows employees based in Connecticut’s gold coast to reduce the amount of taxes that are applied to carried interest. (Bloomberg)

A former banker quit his Wall Street job to launch a startup that organizes home parties to sell legalized marijuana products, similar to the business model adopted by cosmetics giant Mary Kay. (WSJ)

David Tcholakian, UBS’s head of consumer products and retail investment banking, has left the firm to join J.P. Morgan as a managing director. Based in New York, Tcholakian had been with UBS since 1999. The Swiss bank has now made several big-name hires as it looks to expand its presence in U.S. consumer and retail M&A. (Reuters)

Facing a shortage of tech employees, Singapore is looking to recruit foreign software engineers for high-end jobs involving artificial intelligence and other technologies. (Bloomberg)

A former Deutsche Bank trader who was charged with manipulating interest rates in the U.K. in 2015 has been arrested in Italy and is facing possible extradition. Andreas Hauschild was living in Germany, which earlier had rejected an extradition request, but his travel triggered an arrest warrant when he arrived in Italy. (Bloomberg)

Here are two wacky workplace trends. Some companies are now “sugar shaming” employees by discouraging birthday cakes and unhealthy snacks in an effort to cut down on obesity and diabetes-related healthcare costs. Meanwhile, firms are beginning to offer "furternity" leave – allowing new pet owners to work remotely for a period of time as they bond with and train their new furry friend. (WSJ)

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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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