Feature

Nothing elite about these bankers

Two stories last week raised the “enjoyably profound” question of “what bankers get up to all day,” said Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times.

Lucy Kellaway
Financial Times

Stupid banker tricks never get old, said Lucy Kellaway. Two stories last week raised the “enjoyably profound” question of “what bankers get up to all day.”

The first story involved Peter Gwinnell, 49, who applied to Ahli United Bank in London with a résumé listing a 20-year stint at JPMorgan and degrees from Oxford and Harvard. Having “made all the right noises” at his interviews, he was hired and was soon “doing what senior bankers do.” Only a tardy background check revealed that Gwinnell was an ex-con with a purely fictitious résumé. He’s now doing a stretch for fraud.

The second story highlights a search by “the great Goldman Sachs” for a bidder for Dynegy, the Houston energy firm. A bidder did emerge; Goldman received an unsolicited letter from an outfit named Buisson Baudoin Rondeleux expressing interest. When Goldman bankers failed to get the firm on the phone, they began researching, eventually finding the bidder’s return address to be a homeless shelter.

“Two seconds’ Googling” would have exposed either masquerade. But then, bankers are “paid so very handsomely” even when indulging frauds that wouldn’t fool a child.

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