Federated Investors fires staffers after they used hand signs during TV interview

Employee standing in the background made a gesture associated with far right groups

Jan 4, 2019 @ 12:48 pm

By Bloomberg News

Federated Investors Inc. fired at least two employees for unprofessional conduct last month during a Bloomberg Television interview of one of the firm's money managers.

"We apologize to anyone who was offended," Meghan McAndrew, a spokeswoman for the asset manager, said in an email. "Very simply, Federated does not condone and will not tolerate unprofessional conduct of any kind. Federated seeks to treat all employees, clients, shareholders, viewers and our fellow human beings with dignity and respect."

The incidents occurred Dec. 20 as Linda Duessel, a Federated senior equities strategist, was being interviewed from the company's Pittsburgh offices about Federal Reserve policies. As she spoke, a man behind her right shoulder made an "OK" hand gesture that anti-hate groups say has been appropriated by right and far-right political groups, including white supremacists. Later, an image of a shirtless Russian President Vladimir Putin on horseback appears on a computer screen. Duessel was unaware of the activities occurring behind her.

(More: BlackRock leads October slide in stocks of asset managers)

"After we became aware of the conduct, we conducted an internal investigation of the incident and as a result the individuals involved are no longer with the firm," Ms. McAndrew said.

(More: Shift from active to passive approaches tipping point in 2019)

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