London: A young student has died in mysterious circumstances while employed as an intern at a top investment bank — amid claims he was asked to work punishingly long hours.
The body of Moritz Erhardt was discovered on Thursday evening as he neared the end of a seven-week internship with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s investment bank division.
The 21-year-old — understood to be from Germany — had joined Merrill Lynch earlier in the summer hoping to forge a career with the firm.
Yesterday it was claimed Erhardt may have suffered a fit or seizure. However internet forum users said he may have been working ‘all-nighters’ during his stay with the company.
Many banks are known to encourage their young students to work late into the night and in the past there have been claims those keen to impress have put in long hours with very little sleep.
On one site, called wallstreetoasis.com, many posters insisted Erhardt regularly worked long hours and added: “One of the best interns at BAML — three all-nighters, didn’t turn up, colleagues went to find him.”
Erhardt had been living in the Claredale House student accommodation flats in Bethnal Green, East London. The apartments are rented out to hundreds of interns during the summer months.
Another poster on the wallstreetoasis.com site added: “It is absolutely true — he was found dead in the shower by his flatmate. Intern at BAML who went home at 6am three days in a row.”
On Friday staff at the Claredale complex issued a statement to residents, part of which read: “Some of you might be aware that the emergency services were called to Claredale yesterday evening.
“The reason for this is that we were made aware of an incident involving one of our residents. Sadly the resident concerned had passed away.
“To avoid any rumours or misinformation, we would like to inform you all that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.”
In recent years interns have told of working long hours at investment banks.
One 20-year-old told London’s Evening Standard in 2011 that “you work whatever hours you’re asked to”.
He added: “Every intern’s worst nightmare is what’s called “the Magic Roundabout” — which is when you get a taxi to drive you home at 7am and then it waits for you while you shower and change and then takes you back to the office.”
Another 24-year-old told the same newspaper: “About 100 hours a week was the minimum and the average was probably 110. I worked six-and-a-half days a week.”
A source at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Erhardt had completed previous internships at other investment banks but could not confirm or deny claims he had worked exceptionally long hours.
However he insisted staff are given both ‘mentors’ and ‘buddies’ when they join the firm and are monitored by staff from the human resources department.
The source added Erhardt was very well-liked by members of staff and there will now be a post mortem examination and inquest into his death.
A statement from BAML said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Moritz Erhardt’s death. He was popular amongst his peers and was a highly diligent intern at our company with a promising future.
“Our first thoughts are with his family and we send our condolences to them at this difficult time.”