Financial People are Killing Themselves Left and Right, Causing Concern in the Industry

The offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co., center, stand among city skyscrapers in the Canary Wharf business and financial district in London. (Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)
The offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co., center, stand among city skyscrapers in the Canary Wharf business and financial district in London. (Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)

Coroners in London are preparing to investigate two apparent suicides as unexpected deaths by finance workers around the world have raised concerns about mental health and stress levels in the industry.

The inquest into the death of William Broeksmit, 58, a retired Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) risk executive found dead in his London home in January, will start tomorrow. The inquest for Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in technology operations at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) & Co., who died after falling from the firm’s 33-story London headquarters, is scheduled for late May.

The suicides were followed by others around the world, including at JPMorgan in Hong Kong, as well as Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Seattle-based Russell Investment Management Co. The financial world’s aggressive, hard-working culture may be hurting itself, professionals advising on mental health in the industry say.

At greatest risk are “those who have not cultivated friendships, networks, outside of their company,” said Stewart Black, professor of global leadership and strategy at IMD, a business school in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“A lot of executives keep their nose down, work hard, do great work and don’t really cultivate extra networks,” he said. “Those broader networks act as safety valves.”

Banks are starting to realize the scale of the problem, said Peter Rodgers, chairman of the City Mental Health Alliance, which counts Morgan Stanley (MS) and Bank of America Corp. among its members.

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SOURCE: Ben Moshinsky
Bloomberg