Banker Suicides Spark Concern For Employee Well-Being in That Field

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 11:42 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A rise in banker suicides in financial companies across the U.S., Europe, and Asia have led mental health professionals to raise concerns over the impact the stress-filled, dog-eat-dog world of finance has on one's personal well-being.

On Tuesday, coroners in London began their inquiries into the apparent suicides of two finance workers — 58-year-old William Broeksmit, a retired Deutsche Bank AG risk executive who was found hanging in his home in January, and Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in technology operations at JPMorgan Chase, who died after falling from the firm’s 33-story London headquarters.

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"[Broeksmit] was considered by many of his peers to be among the finest minds in the fields of risk and capital management," Deutsche Bank’s co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen wrote in the memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The co-CEOs added that Broeksmit was "instrumental as a founder of our investment bank."

Other high-profile apparent suicides in the financial world include those of:

Kenneth Bellando, a 28-year-old investment banker at Levy Capital who fell from his building on Manhattan’s East Side.

Autumn Radtke, the 28-year-old CEO of the cyber-currency exchange firm First Meta, who according to Singapore police jumped from the top of the 25-story apartment building where she lived.

Li Junjie, a 33-year-old who worked for JPMorgan and according to Hong Kong police had jumped from the roof of his company's 30-story office building.

According to the New York Post, six of the eight finance workers that have died mysteriously since the start of the year have either jumped from a building or in front of a train. Half of them were at work or en route to work.

So why have so many of the apparent suicides been so public?

Carolyn Wolf, executive partner and director of the NYC-based mental-health law practice Abrams Fensterman, tells the New York Post, "Our world has become so social — and the barriers of privacy have been [so] broken down. Perhaps that could be a reason for the public displays, especially for those in their 20s."

In response to the apparent wave of suicides, several financial firms have taken measures to reduce stress levels among its employees with Bank of America telling its staff on Jan. 10 that all junior bankers should take some weekends off, while at least 17 other finance companies have joined the City Mental Health Alliance, which provides companies with self-help initiatives aimed at improving their staff's well-being.

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