BMO fired four Toronto-based mining bankers last week, and two more employees resigned after an internal investigation of allegations that a colleague was bullied and harassed, The Globe and Mail reported Thursday, citing four anonymous sources.
A young male investment banker in the Toronto office of BMO’s mining group was subjected to homophobic slurs and targeted in person and virtually on Microsoft Teams, the sources told the outlet.
“An employee escalated a complaint that alleged completely unacceptable behavior,” John Fenton, BMO’s head of media relations, wrote in a statement to The Globe and Mail. The same statement, attributed to BMO spokesperson Kelly Hechler, was seen by Bloomberg.
“We take matters of misconduct very seriously,” the bank said. “An investigation was launched immediately. Six individuals are no longer with the bank.”
Five of the six employees were junior bankers in BMO’s metals and mining division, The Globe and Mail reported. The other was a director responsible for overseeing the junior bankers, according to sources.
Alan Tannenbaum, CEO of BMO Capital Markets, where the mining unit is couched, wrote Friday in his weekly memo to staff that he’d been doing “some reflecting” on the bank’s culture and emphasized that BMO should be an inclusive environment “where we all feel safe,” The Globe and Mail reported.
“Any inappropriate behavior that undermines our culture and reputation will not be tolerated,” he said. “The consequences are serious and broad reaching.”
Tannenbaum took over the top role in capital markets Nov. 1, after his predecessor, Dan Barclay, retired.
“It’s our responsibility to act and behave according to our code of conduct,” Tannenbaum added. “It’s also our responsibility to speak up when something doesn’t seem right.”
The bank’s statement did not delve into the specifics of the incidents preceding the banker terminations and resignations. It did, however, lay out expectations.
“All employees attest to and are expected to meet our standard of respect, inclusivity and professionalism,” Hechler said, according to Bloomberg. “Breaches of this standard are not tolerated and are subject to disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment.”