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7 things you need to know about pay at Tidjane Thiam’s Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse pay vs UBS pay

Moody times at Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse’s pay report for 2015 is out. CEO Tidjane Thiam has done quite well (CHF1.58m in salary, CHF2.9m in bonus – after he voluntarily asked for a 40% cut), but not that well (Sergio Ermotti got CHF14m at UBS). The pay differential between the two Swiss banks is less dramatic further down the ranks, but it still very much exists.

If you’re thinking of working for Credit Suisse, this is what you need to know about compensation there – based on pay in 2015.

1. Pay at Credit Suisse is lower than at UBS 

2. You’ll get more cash at UBS than at Credit Suisse

3. Credit Suisse stuffed a lot of its global markets and investment banking and capital markets employees at bonus time

“The divisional pools for Global Markets and Investment Banking & Capital Markets decreased by more than 30%,” says Credit Suisse’s remuneration report. “31% of employees in those divisions had their variable incentive compensation reduced by more than 50% for 2015,” it adds.

4. But the deferrals at Credit Suisse are ok-ish

Cash is higher as a percentage of the total package (including salary, including role related allowance), at Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse is a deliberate policy of reducing the proportion of bonuses that are deferred: in 2015 this fell to 43% across the group, compared to 48% a year earlier. This isn’t about altruism towards employees, but is so that the bank has greater control over compensation costs in future.

At Credit Suisse, all compensation up to CFH250k is paid entirely in cash, and the amount that’s paid in cash in any year is capped at CHF2m. At UBS, the amount of cash that’s paid in any year is capped at CHF1m, but you’ll be paid entirely in cash up CHF300k.

When your pay is deferred at Credit Suisse, the deferrals are less punitive. At UBS, bonuses vest over five years with vesting back-loaded to either years three to five or year five only. At Credit Suisse, bonuses vest over three years, with the most punitive scheme vesting entirely in year three.

5. Credit Suisse’s bonus deferrals are gentler for its bankers on Wall Street

If you work for Credit Suisse in the US, a smaller proportion of your bonus will be deferred than if you work for Credit Suisse in London.  “The deferral rates for 2015 ranged from 17.5% to 60% of variable incentive compensation for employees located in the Americas, and 17.5% to 85% of variable incentive compensation for employees located elsewhere,” says Credit Suisse’s remuneration report. This was, “to enable closer alignment with market practice and local variations.”

6. Credit Suisse has had to splash out to retain a lot of people 

Do people want to leave Credit Suisse? In 2015, the bank had to make “special compensation arrangements,” to “facilitate competitive hiring practices and to support the retention of talent,” for 236 people.

7. Credit Suisse will help you out with a little loan if necessary

As at UBS, where the head of EMEA asset management has CHF10m in loans taken out from his employer, Credit Suisse will help its employees out with money for mortgages and other necessities of life. In 2015, CS’s biggest outstanding employee loan was to Thomas Gottstein, of its Swiss universal bank. Thomas had borrowed CHF8m.

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