Thoughtless social media posts can end banking careers

At first glance it was easy to be angered by the comments posted by Singapore-based wealth manager Anton Casey on his Facebook account.

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No society these days will countenance the rich mocking the less well off. And in these times of economic stimulus, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the rich just get richer - while those less fortunate struggle with higher living costs, lower wages relative to inflation, and continuing worries of long-term unemployment.

British wealth manger stirs up storm with social media postings

But when you see Casey’s apology, and consider that he and his family are now being threatened, you do wonder if it isn't social media itself that is the real culprit here. After all, Casey's comments were presented in a decidedly slapstick manner, and were designed only for his family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, they were in incredibly bad taste and the sentiments were cruel and patronising. But, in a different era, these kinds of comments would have probably been exchanged jokingly over a few drinks, and then quickly forgotten. In the age of social media, however, they are posted everywhere, go viral, and will doubtless hound Casey and his family for years to come.

It’s a salutary tale for all of us who work in the financial markets - never give the impression of thinking you’re somehow a superior being (even in jest). We work in a privileged environment, and need to appreciate that there are others out there who did not have our opportunities.

And social media has proved time and again to be the online equivalent of a banana skin - so avoid postings that could come back to haunt you. Bankers don't only need to think before they speak, we need to think before we post too. Inappropriate use of social media can, after all, be a career-ending affair.

image: © West McGowan

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