Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

A Deutsche Bank toilet drama is still impacting careers

If you work in a regulated role in financial services, and you make a mistake, it can stick. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority records disciplinary action on individuals' employment records. Even years after the event, this can make it difficult to find a new job.

This is the experience of some of those involved in an unfortunate incident involving a trading floor toilet in Deutsche Bank's Birmingham office in 2018. 

Individuals concerned tells us that a seemingly abandoned telephone was discovered playing p*rnography loudly in a toilet stall in the middle of the working day. The phone attracted numerous DB employees, some of whom took photographs and videos of the phenomenon, which began circulating on WhatsApp. Eventually, some of those present seized the phone, succeeded in stopping the video, and handed it in to be reclaimed by its owner. 

The incident is having ongoing repercussions, and not for the owner of the phone - who still works for Deutsche Bank. (There were suggestions at the time that another colleague found the abandoned phone and played the video as a prank.)

Deutsche Bank isn't commenting, but several of those involved say they were disciplined for their part in the event even though they did the right thing by handing the phone to the bank's reception. Three years later, the resulting black mark on their FCA records is making finding a new job hard. Some of those we spoke to claim that they were informed at the time that the disciplinary action was purely internal and wouldn't have longer term consequences. "It's unfair," said one, who left the German bank for unrelated reasons and is now out of the market. "This has impacted my ability to find a new job."

The affair, which went unreported three years ago, is a timely reminder that a single lapse in behaviour can have a long term impact on employability in finance. Some of those disciplined said they were told they should have done more to prevent colleagues from entering the stall where the video was playing. Others were rebuked for forwarding WhatsApp videos and photos of the event, some of which went to external recipients who sent them to Deutsche Bank managing directors with comments disparaging Deutsche Bank's culture. 

If you come across a phone playing something inappropriate in a trading floor toilet, it might be best to leave it be.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Syed Hussaini on Unsplash



AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Bi
    18 June 2021

    Who remembers Sargeant Shultz from the 1970's sitcom 'Hogan's Heroes, with Bob Crane. Schultz was one of the so called guards of the POW camp Stalag 17 who was famous for saying " I see nothing, i hear nothing I know nothing'.. This is a perfect example of minding your own damned business

  • pb
    26 May 2021

    Old saying - stupid is as stupid does! Though it does sound like a few people who didn't do anything wrong got caught up in this too! I do admit a certain curiosity, never to be satisfied, who actually started playing the video - the phone owner or someone who found the phone later, somehow unlocked.

  • Be
    Ben Huang
    25 May 2021

    More of a reminder why everything doesnt need to be recorded and then shared via text or social media. Was it so difficult to just take the phone to HR/Lost & Found?

  • Ni
    Nicolas Bourbaki
    25 May 2021

    If the story is true, if you ever hear strange sound in the loos, do not report anything, just go to another loo.

    Thinking by similarity, if you found a phone left unattended, instead of securing it (handing it to your security office), just leave it where it is and do not inform anyone (I did this many times! I wonder about the state of my FCA record now!).

    Thinking by similarity, if you see anything suspicious happening (transaction, harassment), turn your eyes away, and don't involve HR or compliance.

    Seriously, if true, this does not reflect well on DB, and the FCA (why on earth would anything like this be on the record of the people who "secured" the phone?).

  • Jo
    John Burrows
    25 May 2021

    Shadow banking and betraying the masses(pandemic)will have anyone involved suffering for their actions someday. Trillions laundered past 25 years. Taxpayers money.

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Articles
Recommended Jobs
Eximius Finance
AVP & VP Compliance Internal Audit Roles
Eximius Finance
London, United Kingdom

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.