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COMMENT: When senior male bankers have relationships with younger female juniors

Why would you bother? Having an intimate relationship with a colleague has always been taboo, but now it's like walking naked into the company cafeteria. Thanks to their gender pay gaps and problems attracting and retaining women, banks are particularly intolerant of relationships between staff. And yet, during my own career in banking I've seen them happen enough to say it's an issue.

The biggest danger is between analysts and associates who are in the office a lot together, and often late at night. Compliance and HR know this and tend to be very quick to pour water on any flicker of romance, but it still happens. I know one analyst who got together with her associate after a messy Friday drinking in a bar. Following a weekend-long headache and an attempt to pretend it didn't happen, she subsequently got together with the VP in the team instead and then dumped him - leaving him heartbroken, in order to chase a director. This happened. For the analyst, it was simply a question of moving up the ranks. 

If you're a male banker, however, relationships with juniors are incredibly risky. For example, I know a young MD in leveraged finance who determined that he wanted woo the most beautiful woman on the floor, coincidentally a newly-hired analyst. It wasn't long before the analyst was to be found working on the MD's desk and was very clearly involved with him.

This relationship created all sorts of tensions in the team: the rest of us felt neglected and unfairly staffed on the hardest project. We heard the analyst was going to be compelled to move. In fact, it was the MD who went - he left the bank to join a competitor. 

Sometimes relationships in banking work out. I also know an MD who married an analyst. He invited her to a meeting to discuss his "special project" and then followed-up on that with small restaurants, the opera and some clubbing. That was five years ago. It almost certainly wouldn't happen now.

Amit Itelmon is the pseudonym of a banker in London

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AUTHORAmit Itelmon Insider Comment

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