After the high profile head of its Prime Brokerage unit was fired amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Bank of America has apparently seen a slew of other senior and junior personnel jump ship.
Omeed Malik, who had joined BofA from MF Global in 2012 and had risen up the ranks to head the bank’s successful Prime Brokerage arm, was fired in early January – just days before annual bonuses are paid out on Wall Street, making up the majority of senior bankers’ compensation. An initial report on January 18 by Reuters stated that Mr. Malik left to start his own advisory firm for hedge funds. However the next day the New York Times reported that Malik was fired after an internal investigation by BofA into a young female banker’s accusation of inappropriate sexual conduct.
Omeed Malik quickly became a poster child for the #MeToo movement on Wall Street.
Interestingly, several weeks after his firing Mr. Malik made a cameo appearance on the popular Showtime show on Wall Street excess, Billions. The Billions Season 3 premiere featured several real-world high profile Prime Brokerage and Hedge Fund executives, mixed in with the action. the show pointed out that filing on the show was done in September.
Mr. Malik has countered by denying any wrongdoing and suing BofA, launching a defamation claim in late April against the company seeking damages of more than $100 million. Mr. Malik’s lawyers stated that “The overt and career-killing defamation that Mr. Malik has endured is simply unprecedented in the annals of Wall Street history… all the more glaring when contrasted with the bank’s long history of burying and obfuscating actual misconduct – not to mention serious crimes – that have been perpetrated by white males…. [BofA was] shamelessly exploiting the #MeToo movement and utilizing Mr. Malik as a sacrificial lamb to not only ameliorate their PR but moreover to destroy Mr. Malik’s competitive nascent business.”
Under Omeed Malik’s leadership, BofA had risen to fourth place in the Prime Brokerage business on Wall Street, behind only Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
However the legal moves shake out by and against Mr. Malik, the episode has apparently hit BofA’s Prime Brokerage business hard. The Financial Times is reporting that in the wake of Mr. Malik’s departure a number of his key lieutenants have also left (voluntarily) including Michael Dolan and Kristin Maule who were both directors in BofA Prime Brokerage sales. Mr. Dolan has joined ExodusPoint Capital Management LP as its Deputy COO of Equities.
Another senior departure was Chris Throop, Managing Director and Head of Americas Prime Brokerage Consulting at BofA.
More junior executive departing include Jonathan Brenner who has become Chief Marketing Officer at Walleye Trading Advisors, Katie Alberti who has joined Goldman Sachs, and Sally Carlson. All three were Vice Presidents in Prime Brokerage capital introduction.