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BofA executive forced out after complaint of unwanted advances

Malek’s abrupt exit from the bank has been the subject of speculation within the industry

Gulf News

New York: Omeed Malek, a Bank of America Corp prime brokerage executive who left the firm this month, departed after the lender began investigating an accusation of inappropriate sexual conduct, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

A woman in her 20s complained in December that Malek had made unwanted advances, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters. She was an employee in his business, but didn’t report directly to him, the person said. A roughly three-week inquiry, including interviews with other staff, turned up additional concerns, and Malek was dismissed, the person said.

Malek’s abrupt exit from the bank, which he often represented at money management conferences, has been the subject of speculation within the industry since it became public on January 11. Reached by Bloomberg after he left, he declined to comment on the reason for his departure. Malek declined to comment again when reached on Saturday, the day after the New York Times reported an allegation of sexual misconduct had prompted his exit.

After Malek left, some executives instructed sales staff to tell clients he was pursuing another opportunity, people with knowledge of the matter said. Women at the bank were later angered after Reuters, making no mention of a complaint, reported Thursday that Malek was preparing to launch an advisory firm for hedge funds and other alternative investment managers, the paper said.

Malek was a managing director with a variety of senior responsibilities within the prime brokerage. He led capital strategy globally and oversaw origination in the Americas for the unit, according to his biography on last year’s programme for the Las Vegas SALT conference. The annual event started by Anthony Scaramucci is one of the industry’s most popular.

Malek also founded and ran an emerging manager program, according to the biography. That involved selecting hedge funds for the firm to work with, and then providing financing, business consulting and capital strategy resources.

A Bank of America representative confirmed last week that Malek had left the firm and said he was pursuing other opportunities. Jessica Oppenheim, a spokeswoman for the company, later declined to comment on whether other issues prompted his departure.