Credit Suisse must recruit more than one private banker every week until the end of 2018 to meet its own headcount target.
CEO Tidjane Thiam announced in October last year that the firm would employ 800 RMs in Asia by December 2018 as part of a pivot towards Asian wealth management and a focus on selling investment banking products to entrepreneurial private clients.
Credit Suisse’s third quarter results, published yesterday, show that its RM workforce now stands at 650. It therefore needs to take on 150 more RMs to reach 800 – an average of about 1.3 hires every week between now and the close of 2018.
The good news for Credit Suisse is that, according to its results, it has managed to hire 100 RMs in Asia over the past year (i.e. about two a week), so by that measure it is well on track.
A slight concern is that the recruiting has recently stalled – its headcount didn’t change in the third quarter, so the 100-person hiring spree happened in the proceeding nine months. Because the fourth quarter is generally a quiet period for hiring, Credit Suisse will need to quickly reignite its recruitment next year.
Separately, the Credit Suisse results suggest that onboarding 100 new RMs has not dampened the productivity of its Asian private bank.
Assets under management at Credit Suisse were up 22% year-on-year, a larger increase than front-office headcount (18%), as the table below shows.
And the average AUM of each relationship manager in Asia increased from CHF253m ($259m) in Q3 2005 to CHF260m ($267m) a year later.
This indicates that the newly hired RMs were able to bring a sizeable amount of their clients’ assets to Credit Suisse. Client conversion is the ultimate litmus test as to whether any expansion is worth the effort in wealth management.
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