As Deutsche Bank attempts to salvage its reputation, co-head Colin Fan issued a stern warning to employees who are making things worse with by using internal communications to be "boastful, indiscreet, vulgar." This, he says, is "not OK," and "will have serious consequences for your career." In other words, watch out, sloppy finance bros, your days may be numbered.
In an internal video message posted on the Financial Times, a somber-looking Fan said that "some of you are falling way short way short of our established standards," adding, "I have lost patience on this issue." Fan explains that "you may not realize it, but right now, because of regulatory scrutiny, all your communications may be reviewed. This includes your emails, your conversations, and your conduct. All of this is open to scrutiny." Watch the full video below:
Deutsche Bank has been attempted to repair the damage done to its reputation when top executives were targeted in a tax evasion inquiry that began in 2012. Since then, the bank has also been implicated in the Libor rigging fiasco, and is still being investigated over possible connections to that crime. Reuters wrote in January that the probe has translated into massive losses for the company — and not only in terms of their good name:
Germany's largest lender is facing an array of investigations into the conduct of its employees and a jump in litigation costs was partly responsible for a surprise 1 billion euro ($1.37 billion) fourth-quarter loss that has heaped more pressure on Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen. "We know that here we have something to prove to you," Fitschen told reporters at the bank's annual news conference in Frankfurt. "We have realized that the reputational risk has become more and more significant."
The bank is making an aggressive attempt to convince its clients that it is serious about changing the corporate culture, especially in its investment banking branch. Bankers have been turning down risky deals, deferred bonuses, and been stricter with trades. So it makes sense that Fan wants braggy investment bankers to cut it out, even though acting like a virtual jerk is basically the industry standard. The Telegraph explains:
A recent investigation into foreign exchange market has uncovered evidence of wide inappropriate language and behavior used in chat rooms, instant messages and emails at global banks.
And offers some insight into what an inappropriate investment banker email looks like:
In some instances, traders were promised rewards for setting the yen Libor at artificial levels. “yu [sic] owe him a beer Wednesday… fosters top he likes extra chilled,” one broker told a yen trader after encouraging another trader to lower his Libor submission. “You’ll be looked after in Vegas. I promise you,” said another broker, who also promised to buy lunch for a trader’s office if the person put through a fake trade.
We're happy to see Fan pay some attention to investment banker's disreputable behavior online. Maybe next he'll tackle their disreputable behavior in banking.