Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

My nightmare as a minority on the FX options desk

I note that people on this site have been questioning the validity of the testimony of an Indian finance guy who says his ethnicity is preventing him from finding a job in London. I will tell you my story, as a Muslim with Pakistani roots.

I have worked in this industry for a long time, and I have seen its upsides and its downsides. If you're a minority on the trading floor, the downsides have been very visible.

When I began my career, I would go for prayer breaks from the trading floor of my role on the FX options trading desk. When I got back, I was mocked relentlessly. There were relentless suggestions that I'd planted a bomb somewhere, that they felt scared, that they wanted to check my bag etc. etc.

When I whistle-blew that my senior was mismarking the trading books and blaming it on me I was largely ignored and chastised, later finding out the head of markets and my senior were drinking buddies after work......And then when it came to cutting costs all the ethnic minority juniors were cut across sales, structuring and trading desk. Funnily enough, the non-ethnic minority ones were kept on, even though they were being out-performed.

The only difference I could think of at the time was that we didn't go to the pub after work with the bosses. We don't drink and so we weren't part of the crew and were dispensable socially.  I also told I was being let go because the book I was working on was being mismarked. This was my first lesson to have a paper trail or email trail for everything

A few years later in my career I was interviewed for a bank whose FX options desk at the time sat in Zurich. When I refused wine over dinner with head of markets and ate vegetarian as the food was non-halal, he very clearly told me that he  didn't think my "face would fit" there. I then struggled to get a role in London so eventually left to the Middle East to work for local banks and despite having stellar PnL at every bank I've been in, I have never been able to get my foot in the door in London since.

Discrimination is very real, and I've seen it first hand sadly.

Hamid Virk is a pseudonym

Photo by Hamza Ali on Unsplash

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.)

AUTHORHamid Virk Insider Comment
  • Fi
    Finance Hardo 101
    11 June 2021

    this is real discrimination... not black/female discrimination at the graduate level that banks tout the loudest...

  • Ad
    28 May 2021

    Seen a whole office ethnically cleansed at a Birmingham Investment Bank site with Asians made reduntant and a only White candidates hired. You only have to compare the office photos over the years and the change in the workforce.

  • Sa
    Sarah Butcher
    28 May 2021

    This is not the same person as the previous one (who was not in Zurich). This is a person who was moved to write-in by reading the other guy's complaints.

  • Le
    Levy Walker
    27 May 2021

    London and Zurich. That’s the same as the article and comments of another couple of recent pieces on EFC. Come on. We’re not that dumb.

  • KP
    27 May 2021

    Pathetic, sounds like you should man up and drink a bit more. No wonder no one wanted to associate with you.

Sign up to our Newsletter

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.
Latest Jobs
AXA Investment Managers
Junior Investment Support Analyst
AXA Investment Managers
Greenwich, United States
QBE Insurance
Financial Reporting Accountant
QBE Insurance
Ramsey, United States
Deutsche Bank
Assistant Vice President - {DB7148313}
Deutsche Bank
Cary, United States
Deutsche Bank
EM Flow Credit Sales - Vice President
Deutsche Bank
New York, United States
Deutsche Bank
Senior Cloud Platform Engineer - Assistant Vice President
Deutsche Bank
Jacksonville, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter

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