Santander investigates bankers going to strip club

Santander investigates bankers going to strip club

Santander bank hired a law firm to investigate bankers who visited a strip club in London and pressured younger employees to accompany them after a day of company meetings.

The incident took place in February after the Spanish bank’s global debt capital markets team was at its UK headquarters for departmental meetings, according to several people with direct knowledge of the facts.

That night, seven staff members – including three senior managers and four junior staff – went to the Nags Head Gentlemens Club in Aldgate, which describes itself as “one of London’s oldest lap dancing establishments”.

Concerns about the trip and the fact that junior employees were pressured to attend were raised with the bank’s compliance department by an internal whistleblower, according to people familiar with the matter. The UK’s FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) was also informed, according to the sources.

“This is symptomatic of an industry transitioning from old to new standards,” said one person who works in collaboration with the people investigated. “The company didn’t know how to deal with it because these practices were common a decade ago, but now they’re rightfully frowned upon.”

“It’s an open secret,” said a Santander official. “Everyone [no banco] knows this, but nothing is being said officially.”

In response, Santander hired US law firm Gibson Dunn to conduct an internal investigation over the summer to clarify the facts of the incident.

The office interviewed up to 15 people who attended the night out — including the seven individuals who attended the club — and concluded that there was no overt pressure on junior staff, according to a person with knowledge of the process.

The firm Gibson Dunn did not respond to a request for comment.

No one involved in the incident was fired, but a manager who orchestrated the night was punished.

In a statement, Santander said: “We take all concerns about employee conduct very seriously and follow a rigorous process to ensure that the facts are established and appropriate action is taken as necessary.

“The details of such investigations and actions are treated confidentially and therefore we cannot comment further.”

The company’s handling of the incident sparked fears among junior employees about how their careers would be affected, said the person collaborating with those investigated.

The FCA declined to comment on the whistleblowers’ concerns and the possible investigation into the matter.

Earlier this year, four Deutsche Bank employees in New York were fired after attending a strip club and trying to collect the expense in violation of company rules.

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