Morning Coffee: BofA executive accused of sexual harassment is back with a vengeance. The new banker uniform

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Omeed Malik, who worked with hedge-fund clients in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s prime brokerage division until he was investigated for alleged sexual misconduct and cut loose in January, has filed a defamation suit against the bank and is seeking an award of more than $100m, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will arbitrate Malik’s complaint against BAML.

Malik was fired in the wake of complaints from female employees about unwanted advances, the Journal reported, but his attorney denied that his client engaged in any sexual harassment.

Malik’s attorney, John Singer, accused the bank of using “false and defamatory language” in public documents about the banker’s firing and “threatened the employment and livelihood of other employees they interviewed if they did not admit to inappropriate conduct on Mr. Malik’s part, which these employees courageously refused to do.”

Malik also accused BAML of concocting phony allegations against him because he was a whistleblower, claiming that his direct supervisor, managing director Martina Slowey, lacked the proper regulatory licenses to do business in the U.S., according to the New York Post.

Malik was fired from Bank of America on Jan. 9 – weeks before he was expected to receive his annual bonus – and he claims that he was ousted in revenge after Slowey caught wind of his complaints, the Post reported.

In his arbitration claim, Malik accuses executives at the bank of defamation, breach of contract, and discrimination against his Muslim background.

A Bank of America spokesman said his claims are without merit: “The bank stands by its decision to terminate Mr. Malik. His claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves in this matter. The bank had appropriate supervisory structures at all times.”

Finra will be the judge of that.

In addition, Malik’s lawyer said a civil suit against the bank could be filed in New York state court soon.

“The court complaint will be very detailed and very specific as to the white males at the managerial [sic] director level or higher who engaged in actual sexual harassment conduct, which is in sharp contrast to Omeed, who was never engaged in any such behavior,” Singer told the Post.

Separately, a Los Angeles transplant in his 20s who lives and works in Manhattan started an Instagram account in September that documents the “Midtown Uniform” popular among banker bros – a button-down Oxford shirt, dress slacks and, crucially, a vest.

The handle @midtownuniform holds finance guys and other similarly attired professionals responsible for and their alleged crimes against fashion such as their refusal to don sleeves, according to Business Insider.

“My girlfriend and I were having beers at El Rio Grande in Murray Hill and saw literally 10 dudes wearing the uniform,” the founder of the account told the New York Post.

He started snapping photos of unsuspecting junior bankers wearing the outfit captioned with humorous comments, building a base of 17,700 followers and counting.

#midtownuniform #midtownspotlight : @mukulgupta14

A post shared by The Midtown Uniform (@midtownuniform) on Mar 12, 2018 at 12:09pm PDT

Meanwhile:

Recently many senior-level consumer investment bankers have been poached by competitors, where talent is scarce and difficult to replace, contributing to the competition for top dealmakers. (Business Insider)

M&A bankers at boutiques and bulge-brackets advised on the just-announced deal of T-Mobile U.S. agreeing to acquire Softbank’s Sprint Corp. for $26.5bn in stock. (Bloomberg)

Today, there are more than 70 people who used to work with or for Michael Milken, a.k.a. the Junk Bond King at Drexel Burnham Lambert, including Kenny Moelis; Rich Handler, who runs Jefferies; Jon Sokoloff at Leonard Green; Leon Black at Apollo; and Tony and Richard Ressler. (Bloomberg)

A Macquarie executive is seeking a court order forcing the Australian bank to let his client return from paid leave while her sexual harassment suit against the bank and her former boss progresses. (Bloomberg)

At Rothschild, the bright young things of President Macron’s generation are being promoted up the ranks, but they need a helping hand. (Bloomberg)

Surely it would be madness to seriously believe that Royal Bank of Scotland could turn things around, wouldn’t it? (WSJ)

Citigroup CEO Mike Corbat has named his a 37-year-old chief-of-staff, Sara Wechter, to replace Mike Murray as the head of human resources and handed her a seat on the firm's most powerful management committee. (Business Insider)

“[Barclays CEO] Jes [Staley] is on the wrong path – [activist investor Edward] Bramson’s strategy is much clearer and really focuses the bank on its quality divisions.” (The Times)

UBS has hired Carlos Alvarez, formerly the head of permanent capital in Deutsche Bank's financial institutions group amid a major ramp-up of its U.S. deal-making team. (Business Insider)

Deutsche Bank likely to ax 1,000 U.S. investment bank jobs. (Reuters)

Richard Jenrette, co-founder of Wall Street securities firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ), was an untraditional boss who quizzed job candidates about their astrological signs and favorite colors. In his free time, he acquired 19th-century mansions. (WSJ)

After serving in top executive roles at the New York Stock Exchange, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, John Thain is making another big move: selling his $39.5m Park Avenue penthouse. (New York Times)

Blackstone isn’t just a private-equity behemoth – it’s also become China’s real estate connection. (Bloomberg)

Hedge-fund manager David Einhorn struck it big with his wager against Lehman Brothers before the bank’s 2008 collapse, but his fund’s performance has been much spottier since then. (WSJ)

For all the talk of machine learning and AI’s potential in the enterprise, many financial services firms aren’t yet equipped to take advantage of it fully, said MIT Digital Economy Conference panelists. (WSJ)

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Photo credit: Devrimb/GettyImages

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