Will Spate Of Suicides On Wall Street Lead To Change?

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Wall Street has always been known as intense place, and those working there can expect to work in a pressure cooker. Over the last couple of decades, the pace of investment banking and regulatory requirements surrounding deals of all sorts have also increased dramatically, and employees at all levels are typically expected to work very long hours. Those in the industry note that 100+ hour work weeks are not at all unusual for junior analysts at Wall Street firms.

Working these kind of hours is, of course, incredibly stressful, and many believe the long hours and high stress are related to a spate of suicides on Wall Street among analysts over the last few years.

Two recent suicides on Wall Street

The sad story of Sarvshreshth Gupta’s suicide after being overworked during his final weeks at Goldman Sachs could lead to a real debate about whether banks are still making to great a demand on their junior employees. Of note, just six weeks after Gupta’s mid-April death, Thomas Hughes, a 29-year-old Moelis & Co. banker, was found dead outside his residence at 1 West St. in New York, where he lived on the 24th floor. Although it seems likely, his death has not yet been ruled a suicide.

Statement from Goldman on suicide of analyst Sarvshreshth Gupta

“We are saddened by Sav’s death and feel deeply for his family,” commented Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, in an e-mailed statement. “We hope that people will respect the family’s expressed desire for privacy during this difficult time.”

Small steps in the right direction

Many Wall Street investment banks (including Goldman Sachs) claim they have been working to improve the experience for new recruits, who actually perform most of the hard work of creating presentations and schedules for clients.

The 2013 death of Bank of America intern Moritz Erhardt spurred led BoA to establish a panel of senior managers to review the tragedy. The specific steps the bank took following the suicide have not been made public. However, major investment banks soon began changing their policies, in part due to fears that the best and brightest young minds no longer see investment banking as a sustainable career.

Global IB Goldman Sachs decided to hire larger classes of entry-level analysts, and encouraged them to not work on Saturdays. The firm also stopped its two-year probationary program, and now makes analysts full-time employees as soon as they’re hired.

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