British authorities investigating banker suicides for signs of foul play

By Travis Gettys
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:27 EDT
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man wearing a suit holding a rope with a hangmans noose Shutterstock
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British coroners are planning to launch investigations the deaths of two bankers believed to have taken their own lives.

An inquest into the death of 58-year-old William Broeksmit, a retired Deutsche Bank AG risk executive, began Tuesday, and an inquest into the death of 39-year-old Gabriel Magee, vice president of technology operations at JPMorgan Chase, is scheduled for May.

Broeksmit was found hanged Jan. 26 at his London home, and his death was not considered by police to be suspicious.

Magee fell from his firm’s 33-story London headquarters.

Coroners will question witnesses and police to determine the circumstances of their deaths.

Their apparent suicides were followed by others around the world, including Mike Dueker, chief economist at Russell Investment Management Co. in Seattle.

Dueker was found dead at the side of a highway leading to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Mental health experts say their deaths could be attributed to the financial world’s aggressive, hard-working culture.

The American Psychological Association says it finds no statistical evidence linking suicide to occupation and does not recognize any national data on the question.

Banks are starting to take steps to protect their employees from suicide risk, but experts said culture change must come at the top.

Bank of America recommended Jan. 10 that its junior bankers should take off at least four weekend days a month, but JPMorgan has not publicly announced any measures in the aftermath of the deaths.

“People can’t keep doing long hours; you need perspective and downtime,” sad Emma Mamo, of the U.K. mental health nonprofit Mental.

[Image: man wearing a suit holding a rope with a hangmans noose via Shutterstock]

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