Abigail with attitude: Moritz Erhardt – someone must be held accountable
Much has changed since I used to work in the City. It is out with the autocratic, eccentric banking demigod (think Dick Fuld or Ken Lewis) and in with the omnipotent regulator. It is out with brash, macho money-making and in with a more cuddly approach to deal-doing. Think of the industry’s greatest survivor, Lloyd Blankfein, his sprouting of facial hair and passionate advocacy of gay rights. See my April 2013 column for more on Loveable Lloyd’s transformation.
Nevertheless, there are also certain constant factors. In a world where good jobs are hard to come by and saving the deposit to get on the housing ladder is even harder, the work-all-day and work-all-night culture still holds sway within many investment banks. I was shocked by press reports that Moritz Erhardt, a 21-year-old summer intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, had collapsed in the shower and died.
Apparently, Erhardt, a German student, had worked throughout the night on eight occasions in the two weeks leading up to his death. If these rumours are true – and Bank of America has convened a committee to examine working conditions for its junior employees – it is an absolute disgrace.