Credit Suisse plans to cut back its investment bank but grow its business in Asia. So where does that leave its Asian investment bankers, who have scarcely been mentioned in the media of late as the firm increasingly focuses on its wealth management arm in the region?
Surprisingly encouraging answers are now emerging, thanks to an interview with Helman Sitohang, Asia Pacific chief executive of Credit Suisse, published in Sunday’s South China Morning Post.
Sitohang says job cuts in the investment bank in Asia are likely to be “small”, despite expectations that the bank will scale back that division internationally. “Both the investment bank and private bank partnership are critical to our growth and to our clients.…There is no reason why we would scale down one versus the other,” he told the SCMP.
Credit Suisse’s investment banking business in Asia is focused on advisory and capital markets services, suggesting that jobs in these key areas may escape relatively unscathed from any forthcoming global redundancies. By contrast, Sitohang says investment banking products that could get cut are those that do not support growth of the private bank. This suggests that jobs in the firm’s smaller rates, commodities and foreign exchange businesses may be on the line – Credit Suisse has already indicated that it is scaling back in commodities in Asia.
But while Sitohang was keen to paint a picture of equality and continued collaboration between the private bank and investment bank in Asia, headhunters we’ve spoken to expect the former to far outstrip the later in terms of recruitment over the next year. While Credit Suisse’s relationship managers can look forward to welcoming new colleagues to their ranks, its investment bankers will be happy just to keep their current teams intact. They will also have to get used to playing second fiddle to their private banking colleagues, who will take the lead in driving Asian entrepreneurial clients towards their products.
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