Deutsche Bank, which most recently has been in the spotlight for hightailing it out of the silver and gold fix (because it is clearly innocent of any precious metals manipulation as an "independent, impartial and extensive" inquiry by the Bank of England will surely prove), has a message for its traders: don't swear. Also don't boast or cheat.
The FT reports that the unusually hypocritical message, because the very definition of a trader is a person who swears, boasts or cheats, was sent out in video format (so traders didn't have to exert their filthy, boastful brains too much with reading) by a dapper co-head of Deutsche's Investment Bank, Colin Fan to the bank's sales and trading division.
In it, Fan, directed by the video's extensive production team, appears oftentimes agitated, sometimes angry, alternating between mania, euphoria and solemnity, and on the edge of lobbing a few F-bombs himself for dramatic effect inbetween takes to make sure the public realizes just how very serious Deutsche Bank is at uprooting uncouth behavior. Because, you see, Deutsche's "reputation is everything."
From the video:
"Some of you are falling way short of our established standards. Let’s be clear: our reputation is everything. Being boastful, indiscreet and vulgar is not OK. It will have serious consequences for your career. And, I have lost patience on this issue.”
“You may not realise it, but right now, because of regulatory scrutiny, all your communications may be reviewed,” says the Canadian, widely seen as a potential future chief executive of Europe’s largest investment bank. “This includes your emails, your conversations and your conduct.”
“Communications that run even a small risk of being seen as unprofessional stops right now. I need you to exercise good sense and sound judgment. Think carefully about what you say and how you say it.”
Surely if there is anything that will have a profound impact on the behavior of a generation of traders whose habits have been molded by years of debauchery and enabling regulators who just want a piece of the action or, at worst, a bribe, it is a harshly worded video.
Deutsche Bank confirmed the origination of the video and said "The substance and tone of this video is intentionally direct and part of an ongoing programme."
As for the reason for this amusing PR stunt: executives of the German bank, fined nearly $1 billion in December for its role in rigging Libor and Euribor, have been trying to convince investors and the general public that they are achieving “cultural change” in the bank in the wake of the recent rate-rigging scandals.