Citi head of equities accused of behaving inappropriately
This week’s discrimination case against Citi, filed by former equities managing director Ardith Lindsey, includes accusations levelled at the bank’s global head of equities, London-based Fater Belbachir.
Lindsey claims that Belbachir encouraged a sexist environment in Citi's trading business, and says he was a supporter of Mani Singh, the more senior managing director with whom she had a relationship that she says was coercive and that ended in a flurry of abusive texts.
Lindsey alleges that Belbachir and other male managers, "bonded by discussing their past and prospective sexual conquests," and says that (based on 'information and belief') he "subjected the most senior female executive in Equities to unwanted flirting." She also claims (again based on 'information and belief') that he was "'handsy'" with a senior woman at a Bank outing in Fall 2022." Lindsey alleges, too, that Belbachir was instrumental in getting Singh a role in an internal Citi diversity group aimed at increasing female managing directors, despite Singh's alleged poor behaviour towards women. And she complains that Belbachir persistently ignored her, even though she was an MD on his team, while he allegedly went out of his way to meet male executives.
Belbachir didn't respond to a request to comment on the allegations, which are not substantiated and based on hearsay. Citi is denying them and plans to defend itself against Lindsey’s claims in court. "Our colleagues should feel confident they can raise concerns about themselves or others without fear of retribution, and decisive action must be taken when unacceptable behavior takes place. We regularly review and update our policies and look for innovative ways to ensure they are understood and followed by all colleagues,” said a spokesperson. Citi claims that Lindsey initially denied her relationship with Singh, and says it immediately placed him on leave pending an investigation after discovering his "vile" text messages to her, but that he then resigned.
It's not clear what, if anything, the accusations mean for Belbachir. His boss, Andy Morton - Citi's head of global markets, sent a memo yesterday stating that he wanted "to emphasize the importance of acting decisively if we see inappropriate behavior.”
Belbachir joined Citi from Barclays in August 2020, having spent most of his previous career at JPMorgan. He was hired to help the bank build out its equities trading business and immediately made a raft of cuts of Citi incumbents. In the first nine months of 2023, however, Citi's equities trading revenues fell 14% year-on-year. While this is on a par with the decline at JPMorgan, it compares to a fall of 5% at Bank of America and stability at Goldman Sachs.
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