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Morning Coffee: Credit Suisse bonus pain horribly compounded. Senior bankers’ strange alternative careers

Credit Suisse bonuses

Going down at Credit Suisse

Just when it seemed that bonuses couldn’t get much more insipid for Credit Suisses’s salespeople and traders, a whole new source of enfeeblement has appeared.

When Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam discussed the compensation line for the bank’s global markets business yesterday, he said it wouldn’t drop much in 2016 because there were plenty of bonuses still to vest from previous years.  In other words, that deferred bonuses from 2013 and 2014 would help compensate for the 36% cut in the bonus pool for 2015. That’s good. – Except, that the value of those deferred stock bonuses at Credit Suisse is down substantially and has the potential to fall even further.

Bonuses at Credit Suisse are deferred for three years.  When bonuses vesting this year at Credit Suisse were awarded in 2013, the bank’s shares were worth CHF26. Yesterday, Credit Suisse stock fell to a 24 year low of CHF14.4. Credit Suisse bankers have therefore been hit twice over: newly issued bonuses for last year are down more than a third, and deferred bonuses are down by nearly half. Credit Suisse’s markets professionals might want to start selling some stuff on eBay…

Separately, what would you do if you weren’t working in finance? For some people in the industry that’s apparently a difficult question – when you work long hours, it’s easy to lose sight of how you might occupy yourself instead, says career coach Victoria Macpherson. At least two senior banking professionals have an idea of the alternatives, however. – Although whether those alternatives are still open to them is another question.

Kurt Simon, global chairman of M&A at J.P. Morgan and a consummate deal-doer, told Bloomberg that he contemplated becoming a ‘sports agent’ before going into banking. Then he realized that, “there are more sports agents than athletes” and oriented himself towards Wall Street instead. And Reuters reports that Colm Kelleher, head of Morgan Stanley’s investment bank and a history graduate, would have liked to become a lecturer in Byzantine history had he not gone into banking.

Both men have found ways to incorporate their stifled vocations into their day jobs. Instead of cutting deals for athletes, Simon’s spent his career cutting deals for massive TMT companies like Dell. And Kelleher is said to, ‘pepper business discussions with references to historical and literary figures such as King Canute and Edgar Allen Poe.’

Meanwhile:

“Reaching the [Credit Suisse] targets by 2018 seems more unrealistic than ever.” (Reuters)

Tidjane Thiam: “The price of oil went down, people panicked, prices started moving very fast. It’s never pleasant to have losses but they are manageable.” (Bloomberg)

Asked whether Credit Suisse considers selling a large part of its investment bank, Thiam said “no, absolutely not.” (Bloomberg)

Since the start of the year, Barclays shares are down 24% and Deutsche Bank shares are down 35%. (WSJ) 

Navinder Singh Sarao traded from a semi-detached house in West London and is said to be worth £27m. (Daily Mail)

Bring back capital controls! (WSJ) 

Reasons not to work in law: “You’re the equivalent of a banking analyst for all your life. It’s brutal, it follows you home.” (Financial Times)

Will AI powered hedge funds outsmart the market? (Technology Review)

In the UK, individual algorithmic and high frequency trading professionals will soon need to be registered with the regulator. (The Trade News)

Appalachain miners are learning to code. (Bloomberg) 

Which coding language should you learn? (Inc)

The lifecycle of a fintech start-up: crazed creativity to stalled bureaucracy. (Alphaville)

Photo credit: Down Down by Erik bij de Vaate is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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  1. The financial wizards going for alternate careers despite expertise.

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