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When your colleagues accuse you of being a witch.

Morning Coffee: $2.7m for dedicated 50-year-old banker with toxic male colleagues. The small German bank that pays extremely generously

If you want to sue an investment bank for gender discrimination, you will need patience and you will need grit, but Stacey Macken - who has finally won £2m ($2.7m) in compensation from BNP Paribas for events endured over a four-year period between 2013 and 2017, proves that it can be worthwhile.

Macken, who has now promised to "tell her story" and says that people will be shocked to learn what women in banking have to go through, was paid around £125k a year when she arrived in BNP's prime brokerage division. This was 25% less than a man in an equivalent role who was hired on £160k. In her first four years at the bank, the man earned bonuses totalling £167k, while Macken was awarded £33k.

At the same time, Macken was subject to what the tribunal judge described as "spiteful and vindictive” behavior. The tribunal was told that her boss, Matt Pinnock, who was head of prime brokerage for Europe at BNP between 2012 and 2018 would reportedly answer phone calls in her presence with, "Hi, f***face" and "Hi, sexy." Another boss, Denis Pihan, who still works for BNP and is the COO of international prime brokerage, based in Paris, was said to have responded to her with "Not now Stacey," so frequently that it became a running joke. And, after complaining about her pay, Macken arrived in the office one morning to find a witches hat on her desk after male members of the team had been out drinking the night before. 

Best comment picked by the author
Let's face it though Anonymous, this was mostly the fault of the men concerned. There's no mention of women discussing their sexual habits in the open, repeatedly demeaning people, being paid less, or leaving witches' hats around. To say there were women in HR is not a justification.

BNP had already paid Macken £667k. The rest of her compensation includes £857k for harm to her future earnings, £218k for lost salary,  £117k for lost bonuses,  £35k for injured feelings and £23k for the loss of congenial employment. 

Despite being underpaid by BNP, the tribunal noted that Macken - who was in her mid-40s when the events occurred was devoted to her career. Over a 22-year period, it said that she prioritized banking "over other lifestyle choices." Macken remained single and had no children, noted the tribunal.  She enjoyed her work and was fulfilled by it. Other than keeping her personal fitness at a high level she pursued no hobbies or interests.” Macken now has the time and money to pursue both.

Separately, Deutsche Bank is not the only German bank in town when it comes to getting paid. 

Financial News reports that Berenberg, the 432 year-old German bank, paid its top banker in the UK €20m (£16.6m) last year. 

That banker is David Mortlock, one of Berenberg's three managing partners alongside Hendrick Riehmer and Christian Küh, and the man orchestrating growth in Berenberg's investment bank. 

As we reported last September, Berenberg is growing across the UK, Europe and the US, with plans to expand across investment banking and equities. It's opening a new office in Stockholm early this year. 

Mortlock's money is a reward for a record 2021 during which Berenberg's investment banking revenues rose 35% to €472m and net profit rose nearly 60% to €170m. 


BNP Paribas says it's now developed a “detailed gender strategy and gender action plan” in response to its poor gender pay gap and is “trying to increase the number of women at senior management level”. (Guardian)

The era of the star individual hedge fund manager running his own fund is dead. It's all about working for big multi strategy funds that are too big to fail. (Bloomberg) 

35 year-old ex-Goldman Sachs analyst Marie Young has been made the chief investment officer of Bayshore Global, the family office of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. (Bloomberg) 

Ryan Breslow, the 27 year-old co-founder of checkout experience platform Bolt Financial is stepping down as CEO two weeks after the business was valued at $11bn. (Bloomberg) 

Citi says it's hiring in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. (Bloomberg) 

Deutsche Bank American staff are back in the office. (Bloomberg) 

Millennium is now running self-defense classes for employees. (Millennium) 

When you interview with a company pay careful attention to the demeanour of your interviewers. Do they all seem exhausted? Does talking about their job energize them, or seem laborious? Do they sell the company, or seem a little cynical? “If that person isn’t excited about their work, it’s hard to think you would be." (WSJ)

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Photo by Quaid Lagan on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Jo
    13 February 2022

    £35k for injured feeling? I would add another zero. lmao a witch hat, they did push the boat out on creativity in coming to bullying. btw where does the gender element comes in, more like harassment case

  • An
    3 February 2022

    There is no doubt that Macken was badly treated. However, a lot of what happened (shunning, mobbing, etc) happens up and down the country every day. Although what happened doesn't wasn't anything to do with gender she was able, as a woman, to raise a discrimination claim. The judge believed her treatment to be poor and was able to allow the claim, although there doesn't seem to have been any discrimination (notably the sexual harassment claim was thrown out). The law should be changed to allow anyone, regardless of gender, to bring claims where they have been bullied or badly treated at work.

    The damages awarded seem about right, although the uplift for BNP Paribas not apologising seems daft. It should be pointed out that the damages mostly related to loss of earnings, and not the 'witche's hat', despite a lot of media fixation on the latter.

  • An
    2 February 2022

    I don't think her colleagues seriously accused her of being a witch.

  • An
    2 February 2022

    I hope that Macken does tell her story and that this is done in a way which encourages open and honest discussion. In many cases people say they will tell their stories, but don't once the payout is received. Hopefully this case will be different.

  • An
    1 February 2022

    Seems like The Guardian still doesn't realise that the 'gender pay gap' doesn't relate to gender, but to people being paid different rates for doing different jobs. The gap between the average earner and the top earner may be large at BNP Paribas but its the same everywhere, and nothing to do with gender. The risk here is that BNP Paribas will be forced to pay females more for doing the same job as men. It will be much harder for a man to complain and get £2 million if this happens.

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