Recruiters across the world are getting an unprecedented flood of calls from Credit Suisse Group bankers seeking new jobs as the embattled Swiss lender is set to be taken over by UBS Group.
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 sources from more than a dozen recruiters.
One recruiter in Singapore handled questions from about 30 mostly Credit Suisse private bankers about available jobs on Monday while another talked to more than 20 senior investment bankers since last week, the sources said.
Meanwhile, a company that is focused on hiring executives at the level of managing director said it had received similar calls since Friday, especially for wealth management operations.
A headhunter in London — where Credit Suisse employs about 5,500 people, according to its website — said he had fielded 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 companies going on a Credit Suisse-focused hiring binge is unlikely, with businesses 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 — the investment-banking spin-off at the heart of the Swiss lender’s earlier restructuring efforts.
That now looks unlikely and many will be hoping to join UBS, said Michael Nelson, managing director at New York recruitment company Quest Group.
“If they aren’t going to CSFB, they will have to be emigrated into UBS fixed-income, which is a much smaller business than Credit Suisse,” he said.
“My guess is they will dismiss them and turn them out on to 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”.
However, the search for new opportunities collides with a difficult job market where major banks — from Goldman Sachs Group to Nomura Holdings — are cutting roles as clients stay on the sidelines, whether it is deal-making 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.
“Ultimately, we will do everything we can to ensure an orderly transition and to serve our clients as best as possible.”
UBS referred to its Sunday statement about the deal when asked about the situation.
Will Tan, managing director at Singapore-based recruiter Principle Partners, said the approaches from Credit Suisse staff had intensified over the past month and the company was receiving even more resumes now from the bank across Asia.
“The best ones at Credit Suisse have probably already left,” Mr Tan said.
He pointed to a challenging environment for hiring.
“There’s definitely not enough to go around for everyone,” Mr Tan said.
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”.
Employees in investment consulting, compliance, legal and audit would worry over their jobs, given duplications with UBS, while relationship managers may be in a better position, said the recruiter, who declined to be named.
At the time of announcing the deal, UBS chief executive Ralph Hamers said the combination supported the company's wealth management growth ambitions in the Americas and Asia.
He said UBS looked forward to welcoming new clients and colleagues across the world.
However, UBS was clear there would be job cuts, with the investment bank it is inheriting expected to be particularly affected.
UBS wants to cherry pick top dealmakers from Credit Suisse’s investment bank instead of supporting a plan to build a new independent company, according to sources.
While no figure was given for a job-cut number, a source has estimated that the cuts could be several times the 9,000 roles Credit Suisse had planned to shed.
The two lenders together employed about 125,000 people at the end of last year, with about 30 per cent of the total in Switzerland.
Several Credit Suisse alumni took to social media offering help and advice, with London-based Hanadi Al Hamoui — who spent a decade at the Swiss bank — inviting her former colleagues to reach out if she can be of help, according to a LinkedIn post.
Others in the private equity world, such as Spartan Advisers, are also smelling opportunities to pick up talent, asking affected staff to reach out.