What better sign of an industry in decline than the fact that people who’ve worked in it choose new roles outside the industry? This is the case with two former managing directors (MDs) at Credit Suisse.
Jonathan Wills and Toby Gruber were both MDs at Credit Suisse in London. Wills joined the Swiss bank from Deutsche as head of global markets strategy in May 2015 and left one year later. Gruber spent five years as a senior structured products banker at Credit Suisse and left on July 1st as the Swiss bank reduced its exposure to the structured products business.
Gruber is throwing in the towel. He’s given up on finance and has joined a fintech start-up which manages MyCommunityBank, an online credit union which allows its members to borrow from their pooled deposits.
“I am not very bullish on the current investment banking model,” Gruber says ominously. “I think the pain will get worse before things get better for what will then be a much smaller industry.” By comparison, he says MyCommunityBank is not only in a growth space, but is a more socially rewarding venture to work for: “I wanted to do something in the social impact space. We are looking to give fairly priced credit to the financially excluded. This is something were I think I can add value with my banking and structuring background.”
Wills hasn’t fallen quite as far from the wholesale finance tree, but is still doing something different. After spending the past 12 months trying to formulate a future for Credit Suisse’s struggling global markets business, he joined consultancy firm Oliver Wyman as a partner in the corporate and investment banking unit in June. Wills didn’t respond to our invitation to comment on his new role, but Oliver Wyman is understood to be helping various banks adapt to the new trading environment and to formulate their post-Brexit strategies. Financial services strategy consulting is therefore a growth area. Wills clearly thinks he’s better off as a consultant than formulating strategy in-house.