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A dispute with a nanny spun out of control.

Morning Coffee: Some JPMorgan bankers had issues with their nanny. The highly penitent Citi trader who retired at 27 with millions

Melanie Griffiths

Melanie Griffiths doesn't work for JPMorgan anymore. She left in April 2020 and now works for Equiom, a private client boutique with offices in Jersey, Guernsey and Scotland. Her husband, Stephen Griffiths doesn't work there either. A former MD at JPMorgan, he left in 2017 and is now to be found at Saranac Partners, a family office in London's St. James, where he works on tax and wealth structuring.

While Melanie was still at JPM, though, and shortly after Stephen left, the Griffths employed a new nanny to look after their two children. 

They chose Ilkay Cetin, a young woman of Kurdish heritage, to whom the couple have this week been compelled to pay £7k in compensation for injured feelings. 

Cetin wasn't around for long. She worked for the Griffiths between December 2017 and May 2018 and left on seemingly good terms after resigning. However, it all seems to have gone wrong a few months later, when Melanie contacted the police to raise concerns about her ex-nanny after believing she'd discovered anomalies in Cetin's CV. 

Cetin, in turn, then upped the ante by claiming that she'd been victimised, harassed and subject to racial discrimination by Melanie Griffiths, whom she said subjected her to a kind of "slavery." Her brief employer had been, "very demanding, extremely controlling and manipulative in all aspects of my life during my employment," declared Cetin, who proceeded to set up a website publicly detailing her grievances. In November 2020, the court found that Cetin also sent an anonymous email to Stephen Griffith's employer containing links to some of the judgements in the dispute. 

The Griffiths were this month exonerated of the charges of victimisation, race discrimination and harassment. However, they were found to have upset Cetin's feelings by questioning the "core of her personality and values." While it's not as bad as it could have been, it's still not a good look (arguably for any of the parties involved). Cetin has applied for various jobs without success, and the Griffiths were keen to keep the bitter litigation quiet. 

It's notable that neither of the two bankers were seemingly aware of their nanny's discontent. The court was shown a series of friendly WhatsApp messages between the two parties, suggesting all was fine. Cetin, however, was concomitantly WhatsApping her niece with her gripes, and when Melanie Griffiths went to the police, Cetin's existing grievances seem to have multiplied. At the very least, therefore, the Griffiths might be considered to have mismanaged the situation, which seems to have spun out of their control...

Separately, if you make a lot of money in banking and retire aged 27, be warned that you may be afflicted with ongoing guilt about the wrongs you have done. 

This is the condition in which Gary Stevenson, a former Citigroup trader finds himself. Writing in Fortune, Stevenson, says he found it excruciating to watch this week's gyrations in the UK markets and that he cried into his porridge. "As a retired multi-millionaire" who made money "betting that growing inequality would destroy the American and British economies forever," Stevenson said he knows that other people will now be making money making similar bets, but that they won't be the ones that suffer. 

Stevenson himself grew up Ilford in East London and got into Citi after winning a trading game. At one point he claims to have been Citi's most profitable trader in the world. He resigned in 2014 to "solve inequality" and has recently landed a six figure book deal for his memoir.  

Meanwhile...

Boaz Weinstein is not feeling at all bad about making a lot of money playing the "game" of the financial markets. His most recent initiative has involved SPACs. "SPACs are misunderstood to be volatile equities, and that is what they may become post-merger, but until then they are Treasuries in a box—because they must hold their cash in Treasuries while they look for a target company to buy." (Bloomberg) 

UK banks like Barclays face the threat of writedowns on their corporate loan books. (Financial Times) 

Private equity firms need to rethink deals involving UK companies. "Those serving consumer markets that have much of their COGS (cost of goods sold) in dollars, their debts in euros and their revenues in sterling will be causing the greatest concerns." (Financial News) 

The Vision fund has cut 30% of its staff. (Financial Times) 

Jefferies' revenues were down 44% in the third quarter. (Bloomberg) 

RBC Capital Markets cut 1% of its people. They were mostly junior. (Bloomberg) 

This year's banking job cuts are likely to be "shallower, but still traumatic." (Reuters) 

Asian American and Pacific Islander women say their still face a "bamboo ceiling" at work, especially when they move beyond entry level roles. In traditional Asian cultures, women are encouraged to be humble, family-oriented, and attentive to their partner’s career development, which can make it hard to speak out and ask for a promotion. (Institutional Investor) 

When quiet quitting becomes quiet firing. “If all of a sudden you find you’re not invited to the meetings you used to be, or being offered the projects, that’s an indication that management is not viewing you as well as they used to.” (WSJ)

"Through the magic of derivatives you have transformed your safe boring long-term pension fund into a risky leveraged vehicle that could get blown up by market moves." (Bloomberg) 

It wasn't banks' fault: “Government pressure for schemes to de-risk has encouraged financial engineering to get the most out of assets.” (Financial Times) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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  • Ac
    Acel poole
    1 October 2022

    Nanny story reminds me of a listen i recently learned but should have learned decades ago: never underestimate the potential of your enemies to seek revenge. Sometimes standing up to
    Wrongdoing is worthwhile and/or necessary o if advances your just cause but first consider the potential of the offender’s power to harm you, however unjustly! I recently high- fives myself about complaining to building management( anonymously ) about trash overflowing sumpsters, rats and roaches feeding on it. For a few days i was high- fiving myself because an extra pick up was scheduled but the maintenance guy who is an extortionist( u either write a glowing online review online and tip him or no service!) and who i reviewed online as such again
    anonymously- resulted in vengeance anyway. He told management that i left raw garbage outside dumpster- a lie- and they sent me a letter of violating communityt rules. The manager of the building is the maintenance guy’s cousin. I lose! Garbage situation stays horrendous . He went after me because i am retired and the only new tenant who is home during the day and sees him not doing his job. They sent me the warning because in my complaint i said if it was not rectified i would notify the health dept.

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