Let this be a warning to other banks that aspire to reward their employees with a dose of the toxic debt on their balance sheets: lots of people apparently want to leave Credit Suisse.
One headhunter told us that by the middle of last week he’d already had a dozen calls from senior Credit Suisse bankers who want to get out before the new bonus plan starts to bite. “People are particularly angry if they’re not in leveraged finance or high yield and are being forced to own these [toxic] assets,” he says. “They’re also not pleased about the clawback on the cash element if they leave.”
Another headhunter said he’s also getting calls from Credit Suisse corporate financiers who want to leave. “They’re not interested in what they’re going to get paid in five years’ time, they want to know what they can get now,” he says. “One guy is building a new swimming pool and he pointed out that his builder doesn’t accept illiquid assets.”
Privately, headhunters say the Swiss bank may have made a mistake, and would have been better off getting a few of its rivals to adopt the same policy before offloading its toxic debt as bonuses.
Despite the number of CVs coming out of Credit Suisse there are unlikely to be mass defections for the foreseeable future. “People are fed up everywhere, but most of them would rather be fed up in their job than run the risk of leaving,” says Mark Horlock at search firm Marshall Warburton. There are also very few alternatives.