Credit Suisse staff from S’pore to London flood headhunters with calls

A headhunter in London said he’s been fielding calls all weekend, particularly from those in the equities division where the overlap with existing business at UBS is extensive. — Bloomberg

SINGAPORE: Recruiters across the world are getting an unprecedented flood of calls from Credit Suisse Group AG bankers seeking new jobs as the embattled Swiss lender is set to be taken over by UBS Group AG.

From Singapore to London to New York, headhunters and rival lenders have been fielding calls over the past few days from anxious Credit Suisse staff, according to people from more than a dozen firms with knowledge of the matter.

One firm in Singapore handled questions from some 30 mostly Credit Suisse private bankers about available jobs on Monday, while another recruiter in Hong Kong has been talking to more than 20 senior investment bankers since last week, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Meanwhile, a firm that’s focused on managing director hires said it has received such calls since late Friday, especially for the wealth area.

A headhunter in London – where Credit Suisse employs about 5,500 people, according to its website – said he’s been fielding calls all weekend, particularly from those in the equities division where the overlap with existing business at UBS is extensive.

But the prospect of other firms going on a Credit Suisse-focused hiring binge is unlikely with firms looking to make a limited number of hires the most likely scenario.

In New York, one headhunter said several thousand people at Credit Suisse had been hoping to join Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) – the investment-banking spinoff at the heart of the Swiss lender’s earlier restructuring efforts.

That now looks unlikely to happen and many will be hoping to join UBS, according to Michael Nelson, managing director at recruitment firm Quest Group in New York.

“If they aren’t going to CSFB they will have to be migrated into UBS fixed-income, which is a much smaller business than Credit Suisse,” he said in an interview. “My guess is they will dismiss them and turn them out onto the street.”

The flurry of calls highlight the heightened anxiety by Credit Suisse’s staff amid a takeover that has been described by UBS chairman Colm Kelleher as an “emergency rescue.”

Their search for new opportunities, however, collides with a difficult job market where major banks from Goldman Sachs Group Inc to Nomura Holdings Inc are cutting roles as clients stay on the sidelines, whether it is dealmaking or trading.

“We are encouraging colleagues to continue to the best of their abilities against a difficult backdrop,” a Singapore-based Credit Suisse spokeswoman said in response to queries from Bloomberg.

“Ultimately, we will do everything we can to ensure an orderly transition and to serve our clients as best as possible.”

UBS didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Will Tan, a managing director at Singapore-based recruiter Principal Partners Pte, said the approaches from Credit Suisse staff have intensified over the past month and the firm is seeing even more resumes now from the bank across Asia.

“The best ones at Credit Suisse have probably already left,” Tan said. He pointed to a challenging environment for hiring. “There’s definitely not enough to go around for everyone.”

An Asian headhunter said one director wanted to know if it was a good time to move now, or whether staff would be perceived as a “distressed asset.” — Bloomberg

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