The highly stressful environment of investment banking, which has worsened in the wake up the global financial crisis, has been speculated as a reason behind the death of a JPMorgan employee who leapt from the top of the firm’s 30-storey building in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
The man was seen in a “dangerous position” on the roof of Chater House around 2 p.m. on February 18 and jumped off before police could intervene. A police spokeswoman said he was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead at 2:31 p.m., SCMP reports:
According to police, the JPMorgan banker in Hong Kong who committed suicide, Dennis Li Junjie, 33, had recently told a colleague he was under work-related stress. Li was believed to be a junior-level employee. He jumped from the roof of the 30-storey Chater House after attempts to talk him down failed.
“The best time to work at an investment bank has clearly passed,” said Jimmy Lam, who runs an internet retail venture and used to work at Bank of China International and HSBC.[…]
Former banker Lam said: “The outlook for the investment banking industry is fairly challenging, and the economic return can barely justify the intensive nature of the business.”
The Raw Story reports that Li’s death was just the latest case in a series of fatal falls involving bankers.
On Jan. 26, a former Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch executive with close ties to the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank was found dead in London after police received reports of a man found hanging in his house. On Jan. 27, a senior manager at J.P. Morgan’s European headquarters plunged to his demise from the bank’s headquarters in the same city. And several days later, in Washington state, the chief economist for Russell Investments fell down a 50-foot embankment and died.
Overwork has been cited as a reason behind the recent string of deaths involving workers under high pressure, including non-suicide cases.
Exhaustive work conditions across Asia, specifically, have become a serious problem and the phenomenon of death resulting from overwork has been studied in China, South Korea and Japan. China recently overtook Japan to become the country posting the highest number of deaths caused by overwork.
Sources have speculated that recent probes by federal and state investigators over the hiring practices of JPMorgan Chase and its ties with China’s officials could be related to Li’s death, as the US is currently investigating the bank for bribery.