Back in 2005, I contracted to UBS in London on a Sarbanes-Oxley (risk/governance) remediation project. Part of the recruitment process was that Kroll Worldwide would run a background check on my CV.
Kroll asked me to clarify what I'd been doing for a period of only a few weeks' gap in part of my CV. Penna Meridian, the outsourcing company Merrill Lynch engaged as part of my redundancy package in my previous role with them, had emphasised the importance of showing continuity of employment and had advised me to offer any explanation other than 'looking for work' - they recommended that I should say something like I'd been on holiday.
This I duly did, telling Kroll that I'd returned briefly to Australia to visit family and friends - thinking that would be the end of it. It wasn't. They came back again seeking a statement from someone who knew me confirming this. Rather than perpetuate the lie or embroil anyone else in my innocent deception, I put my hands up and explained that I'd been acting on professional advice.
UBS's HR department later contacted me to say that I could never work for them again in any capacity - albeit that they called me back the following year for Phase II of the project.
Although I subsequently contracted to Bank of New York Mellon, I've now been out of work for some considerable time and I occasionally wonder if that minor indiscretion led to me being blackballed by other City employers.
My point is, while my role at UBS ironically helped to put a monitoring framework in place to provide greater transparency and establish internal ownership of specialised investment vehicles, someone as diligent as me was passed over while those who later went on to fix Libor rates or otherwise engaged in fraudulent activities made the cut.
Yes, I'm bitter - and I'm frankly disgusted that more bankers aren't in jail.