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Morning Coffee: Credit Suisse creates 1,200 jobs in cost-cutting drive. From strawberry-picking refugee to fintech CEO

Raleigh Skyline

Like most European investment banks, Credit Suisse continues to hire in the U.S. even as it reshapes it London operation. Senior bankers take time to bed in, and just about every European bank – including Rothschild, which has just poached from Credit Suisse in California, and Deutsche Bank – are competing for talent as they seek to grab more market share from domestic firms.

But while Credit Suisse has been hiring front office bankers in New York and San Francisco, it’s also tapping into another Wall Street trend – moving jobs out of New York. Credit Suisse is creating 1,200 new jobs in Raleigh, North Carolina. Some people will be hired locally, others in technology, finance and operations will be asked to transfer from New York.

Big banks are offered tax breaks to create jobs in locations not readily associated with financial services, and it’s decidedly cheaper to house employees outside of New York. Goldman has been rapidly building its office in Salt Lake City, which includes tech, operations and, now, even some investment banking roles. Morgan Stanley has an office in Maryland, while J.P. Morgan has tech hubs in Tampa, Dallas, Delaware and shifted over 2,000 jobs from New York to New Jersey back in 2015.

Credit Suisse already has around 1,500 staff in North Carolina, and will invest $70.5m as part of the expansion. However, it’s also eligible for a $40.2m in reimbursements as part of a government grant programme. Credit Suisse said in December that it was cutting $1bn in costs, so this is a drop in the ocean. But perhaps it’s also part of its stated aim to “protect” its full-time staff even if they have to work in cheaper locations.

Separately, if you think crowd-funding your own business at university is the way to impress banking recruiters, stand back and admire the story of Ismail Ahmed, CEO of London fintech firm WorldRemit, which has 300 staff in the capital. Ahmed fled war-torn Somalia in 1991 for the UK and had to provide for his family back home while also studying for an economics degree at the University of London. He worked three jobs at once during this time, including picking strawberries outside of London, so he could send money back home.

“My family had lost everything,” he told Bloomberg. “So now I became the one who sent money back.”

After studying for a PhD, he started a job in the UN helping money transfer firms with counter-terrorism finance rules, but soon discovered that his boss dodgy – awarding contracts to firms where he had a business interest. He blew the whistle and eventually landed a $200k settlement with the UN, which he then used to get WorldRemit off the ground.

Meanwhile: 

U.S fund managers are setting up in London even after Brexit (Financial News)

Lloyd Blankfein would like to roll back Volcker (Bloomberg)

The problem with never ending assessments: “We would kind of start to sit down…and not really know what the check-ins were meant for.” (WSJ)

“The more complex the organisation, the longer it is going to take to create workable contingency options, and so investment banks in particular are putting their plans on record.” (Financial Times)

More bankers coming to a government near you (Dealbreaker)

Time to join a family office (Finalternatives)

Credit Suisse has hired Tim Joyce as head of FX options trading in London. He comes from Deutsche Bank (Finance Magnates)

Canadian investment banks want to crack the U.S. (Bloomberg)

Jes Staley needs to rein it in: “He has a highly developed level of moral outrage . . . he’s got to take a cold shower when that happens” (Financial Times)

Five words in a chatroom got a Citi FX trader fired. He’s claiming unfair dismissal (Bloomberg)

Compliments and attention, how to handle narcissists at work (Quartz)

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

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