The Sun – June 2011
‘Don’t dip your nib in the company ink’ was one of the first pieces of advice I received on entering the City. It was a senior colleague who told me those wise words and his argument seemed compelling: if it ends in tears you’re going to have to face an extremely moody colleague for months and the embittered woman could claim that you’d sexually harassed her and you may lose your highly lucrative job and never be able to work in the City again. I took his sage advice to heart and ensured that all my relations with female colleagues were kept at a certain level.
A year later I found out that this married man with three kids had been having an affair with a secretary half his age for over two years. My next boss, a married 50-something Henry 8th look-a-like, asked me one day if I’d like to meet his mistress and we sped off in a taxi to meet her at a strip club in Shoreditch. I thought it was rather an odd location for a date but said nothing. We entered the club and after a few drinks I asked him when his lady was turning up. This imperial beast turned around and, pointing to a bronzed goddess of about 25 who was in the process of removing her fluorescent yellow thong, said ‘she’s already here.’ I took a sip of my pint and simply replied ‘she seems like a nice girl.’
A recent survey carried out by the popular financial website ‘hereisthecitynews.com’ confirmed what I’ve always known about bankers’ dubious morals This disturbing survey reveals that 72% of the bankers questioned admitted to having had at least one affair and that 87% of those affairs involved a work colleague. Whilst these numbers seem a bit high, I’m not hugely surprised … but the question still remains: why do bankers have more affairs than nearly every other profession? Well, here are my theories:
Firstly, the City is a place of testosterone and excess. Many Cityboys have huge appetites. The prevalent greed that may help explain the recent financial crisis also exists when it comes to food, booze and women. You earn an inordinate amount of cash, so you think that the normal rules don’t really apply to you and that you ‘deserve’ to have some fun.
Secondly, the City’s long hours often leave relationships back home a little strained whilst making relations with the colleagues who you spend so much time with a little ‘confused’. I’ve heard of corporate financiers struggling over some minor legal issue at 3am when suddenly sparks fly and they are left having to explain how the photocopier came to be broken. Of course, since bankers lie day in day out to their clients they don’t’ find it so hard to do so with their wives!
Thirdly, there are a lot of depressed brokers out there and sex is a classic way of alleviating the blues. A 2002 survey by chap called Aldan Cass revealed that a quarter of Wall Street brokers showed signs of depression. Apparently their depression led to them being particularly keen on ‘drug abuse’ and ‘masturbation’ – which may be fun pastimes but can be a little anti-social when taken to excess! I suspect that bankers’ recent experiences may have made their urge for a quick bunk-up all the more powerful.
Finally, bankers often face a lot of temptation because, for some incomprehensible reason, a certain breed of lady finds these multi-millionaires very attractive. Back in my day, we used to head down to Corney and Barrow on Broadgate Circle on a Thursday night, buy a bottle of expensive champagne and sit back waiting for the gold-diggers to pounce. As Al Pacino’s Scarface put it so sweetly: ‘When you get the money, you get the power … then you get the women.’
I’d love to pretend that plot line was merely a product of my sick imagination but unfortunately I was not exempt from the foolishness that seemingly affects most bankers. A girlfriend who I’d just started seeing in 2007 found out about a brief liaison I had with a saleswoman and dropped me quicker than an English wicketkeeper. I was absolutely gutted.
It may come as some relief to readers to hear that bankers don’t always get away with it!