A Dirty Secret: Bullying in the financial industry

Are you against bullying? Would you stand against the sort of bullying that has claimed the life of Rehtaeh Parsons age 17. If you answer by the positive, then I would call you a hypocrite. I would dare call you a liar. I would also comment on your lack of honesty and courage. I would do this because we in the financial industry have accepted bullying as a way of doing business. We in the financial industry have been unwilling to clean our own backyard from this scourge. We in the financial industry are a poor example to the kids that are victims of bullying or for those kids that are fighting to end bullying. We in the financial industry know better but choose to ignore the worst…

 

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6 comments

  1. I am very curious to know why you did or said nothing in those instances that you witnessed similar bullying activities in your career.

    I teach my 14 year old son to stand up to bullies even those bullying others and gave him the skills to do so. As a professional, our adherence to professional ethics should be sufficient to call out others who are violating the law. All of this anonymous ranting could perhaps become a more effective avenue for change if you had spoken up when you witnessed other advisors being harassed.

    A large Canadian Bank tried to bully one of our advisors (we are an independent advisory firm) and our response was to support the advisor and use every tool necessary to get it to stop including a threat of legal action and what do you know . . . just like schoolyard bullying, the bully backed down and the slander stopped.

    All evil needs to thrive is for good people to do nothing.

    I support your call out to fight against corporate bullying in the financial services and also support coming out from the shadows to do it in the open. Shinning a bright light has a way of reducing the activities that take place in the dark.

    • Jules, it is always exciting to receive amazing and well thought of comments on a blog. Your question goes right to the center of the target and I will try not to disappoint you with my response.

      How many excuses I could give you. I could tell you that my employers always told me to back down and not to do anything or say anything. (And an employer has the right to silence you since what you say will be considered also the position of the employer). I could tell you it’s always been like this. I could tell you I did not know any better. I could have told you that it would have not changed anything except destroying my career. But while these excuses are all true, they are still just excuses. In the end, I have to accept my part of responsibility for this problem in the financial world I worked in.

      However along the way, I learned better and learned to fight for the principles I believe in. But let’s not kid ourselves. To speak out has consequences. You can only do this if you are independent and this means once you speak out you become unemployable like me as an employee. You have to be careful also. If you speak out as an individual alone, you are an easy target and those who you accused, who often have deep pocket, will destroy you financially and don’t expect any justice. Judges (and this is based on my experience) will close their eyes on this situation. In fact the legal system is a bullying system based on money. Whose has the deepest pockets wins…

      Yes I have learned better and now when I see injustice I speak out. But I can tell you it takes courage. Since then I have been the subject of two attempts of blackmail. There have been threats. The Quebec government (AMF) has even tried to impose the seal of secrecy on my 25 years career stating that under the law I could not talk, discuss or write about my career. I refused this and we could say now I am a criminal since I am breaking the law. They have thrown Revenue Quebec at me, trying to make me pay income tax in Quebec when I am a resident of Nova Scotia. You have to understand. It’s one thing to stand up to one case of bullying and it’s another one to try to change the system. The system fights back and it plays dirty. For example a lawyer in Quebec has confirmed to me that the AMF had created a directive whereby anyone talking to me will be the subject of reprisals.

    • Jules, a side comment. Soon I will take to task the president of the AMF on his latest statement this his organization will be fair in its sanctions. I intend to take him up on his words by asking what he is going to do about a case of an advisor who was suspended and is still suspended because she is simply the spouse of an advisor accused of infractions that were not true (confirmed by the AMF). We fought for women equality the same way we are fighting against bullying. Considering a woman a simple extension of her husband is not acceptable. She is a distinct person with all the rights that comes with this. I will be asking the AMF to reinstate immediately the license of this woman allowing her to earn her living. I hope I will have the support of the industry and people like you.

  2. You do have my support in these matters and I believe it is very important to shed light on these issues.

    I am sorry that past efforts have gotten you in hot water with some powerful people and I did not intend to insult you by challenging your anonymity on this forum. I respect anyone who calls out and who fights for what is right.

    Keep it up!

    • Jules I want to reassure you that you did not insult me. Your question was valid and very important. Also you did not challenge my anonymity as i sign and my name stand by everything I write. My past efforts have not gotten me in hot waters just in the right waters. However I do have to acknowledge that I underestimated the length the opposition was willing to go to protect the status quo and overestimated the sense of ethics of many people. So my keep it up also and stand by what you believe but be careful…

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