Speculation has been building all year about the extent and timing of a new Credit Suisse hiring drive in Asian wealth management. Now it seems we don’t have too much longer to wait – Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag, citing anonymous sources close to the bank, reports that CEO Tidjane Thiam will reveal new plans on 21 October that will lead to job cuts in Switzerland and new jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Credit Suisse has been tirelessly talking up its Asian private banking recruitment this year. Back in March, Francois Monnet, chief operating officer, private banking Asia Pacific, told us that “hiring top talent from the market” was a key “strategic focus”, although he didn’t provide a headcount target. And in July when Thiam took control of the bank, he announced a strategy review focused on generating more business from wealth management, particularly in Asia, at the expense of investment banking.
What type of wealth management jobs will be created at Credit Suisse in Asia? It seems we will have to wait until 21 October for the details, however, Schweiz am Sonntag says that Thiam wants to “decentralise” the bank’s global operations, drawing on his previous experience as head of insurance firm Prudential. This suggests that product and IT jobs, currently largely based in Switzerland, could soon be opening up in Singapore and Hong Kong. Credit Suisse has already doubled the size of its portfolio solutions team in Asia over the past 12 months and last week it added two new people to its fund selection team.
More obviously, Thiam may announce a plan to hire a specific number of relationship managers (RMs) in Asia. As we’ve pointed to before, however, setting ambitious recruitment goals in Asian private banking is difficult because of talent shortages and the potential that too many of the RMs’ clients refuse to move to the new platform. Thiam may therefore choose to reveal longer-term hiring goals than some of his competitors have done recently – UBS has set itself a tight timetable to bulk up its new Hong Kong office, for example.
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