Confessions of a compliance officer: A mighty banker crashes to earth
11 Jan 2019

Have you ever worked with a ‘spoilt rotten’ star trader before, watched him feted by bosses and get his or her own way – yes, even with compliance matters!

What ever becomes of such an individual?

A London-based compliance officer looks back, aghast, at the time he worked with such a person and discusses the ups and downs. The compliance officer does not wish to disclose his name or other details.

I would like to relay my experience of the Star Trader Syndrome, where due to his ability to bring money into a bank, the senior management of a financial institution indulges the star trader and affords him a very considerable degree of latitude that would not be extended to other employees in his business conduct.

Let’s call this star trader, or mighty banker, Michael.

According to the London Head of Fixed Income at a bank where I once worked, Michael made considerable profits for him in contrast to most of the teams who reported to him, who, more or less, broke even on an annual basis.

There were unsubstantiated rumours that Michael received his bonus on a quarterly basis in contrast to all other staff within the London bank who received their bonus annually.

There were also rumours that there were details of a number of complaints from female staff on his Personnel file.

Michael would have his own unique process for hiring junior staff that was not used elsewhere in the London bank.

He would hire new graduates straight out of university on a six month contract with the promise that if they did well they would be offered a permanent role in an investment bank.

Consequently, as they were beholden to him, he exerted great power over them.

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