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Morning Coffee: Why you could be working for Credit Suisse in Asia sooner than you think

Why you could be working for Credit Suisse in Asia sooner than you think

Credit Suisse is coming for you

Are you working in a boutique private bank in Asia? Are you enjoying the comparatively flat management structure and the flexibility to work across markets? Don’t get too comfortable – Credit Suisse may be coming for you, whether you like it or not.

Yesterday the Swiss bank announced that year-on-year first-half profitability in Asia rose a massive 101% and chief executive Tidjane Thiam signalled a renewed emphasis on Asian wealth management.

Behind the financial numbers, however, Credit Suisse also revealed some broad-brush headcount plans for its Asian wealth arm. The firm’s Asia chief, Helman Sitohang, told Reuters that Credit Suisse would consider raising headcount or buying a smaller peer to build up its private banking business. And Benjamin Cavalli, Credit Suisse’s market area head of Southeast Asia, took the time to write an article in Singapore’s Business Times arguing that more consolidation in Asian private banking is inevitable as smaller banks face cost-to-income ratios of 80% and above. Credit Suisse has not hinted at any likely acquisition targets, but if you work at a private bank outside the top-20 by assets in Asia, be on your guard.

If you want to join Credit Suisse voluntarily in Asia, the next six months are an opportune time. The bank needs more RMs but is unlikely to buy a smaller rival in such a short time frame and talent from its wealth institute in Singapore, which opened in 2014, will take years to make the RM ranks. “But, like UBS, the problem with joining Credit Suisse in Asia is its size – your clients may well already bank with them, so they may not want to move with you,” a private banking headhunter in Singapore told us earlier this week.


Jason Cox, co-head of Asia Pacific global capital markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has reportedly resigned from the bank. (Reuters)

Citi joins hunt for fintech innovators in Hong Kong. (South China Morning Post)

The world’s biggest hedge fund has turned on the world’s fastest-growing economy. (Wall Street Journal)

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan will drive the country’s SkillsFuture programme. (Straits Times)

Global investors ‘wary’ after Beijing market intervention, says Rothschild. (South China Morning Post)

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