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Where to work (and where not to) at Credit Suisse in Asia

Traders at Credit Suisse in Asia might now be casting an envious eye at their investment banking and private banking counterparts, if the firm’s second quarter regional results are anything to go by.

In Wealth Management and Connected (WM&C) – the larger of Credit Suisse’s two APAC units, which houses both IBD and the flagship private bank – compensation and benefits increased 11% to CHF265m year on year in Q2. Both salaries and bonuses contributed to the rise.

What accounts for Credit Suisse’s generosity in WM&C? It is likely that some members of the advisory, underwriting and financing team (AU&F – ie the Asian investment bank ‘connected’ to the private bank) were well rewarded for a strong quarter. AU&F revenues increased 16% to CHF177m year on year, “primarily due to higher financing revenues and debt underwriting revenues”. Equity underwriting revenues were lower, although CS doesn’t break out the figures by product.

Meanwhile, if you work in the other (much larger) part of WM&C, Private Banking, your second quarter was also a fairly strong one. Revenues were up 6% to CHF437m compared with Q2 2018.

But Credit Suisse hasn’t been on a hiring spree in Asian private banking, unlike some of its rivals (UBS, for example, added 101 relationship managers in Asia last year). Credit Suisse’s regional RM headcount inched down by 10 to 600 year on year in Q2.

If you’re an RM at Credit Suisse, however, you’re probably managing more assets than you were a year ago. At the end of Q2 2018, average assets under management per RM stood at about CHF337m, while by Q2 2019 they had risen to CHF365m. Credit Suisse’s Asian private bankers appear to be getting more productive, which potentially bodes well for bonuses.

Meanwhile, if you work in Markets (Credit Suisse’s second and smaller APAC unit, which focuses on equities and fixed income) your second quarter wasn’t quite as rosy. Revenues of CHF299m were 15% down on Q2 2018. Those in fixed income sales and trading fared the worst – revenues decreased 28% to CHF87m, “mainly due to lower revenues from emerging market rates products”. Equity sales and trading revenues fell 8% to CHF212m, driven by lower revenues from prime services.

It’s a mixed bag in Markets when it comes to Q2 pay. Overall, compensation and benefits costs decreased 5% to CHF145m, but while “discretionary compensation expenses” (ie bonuses) were down, this was “partially offset by higher salary expenses”.

Image credit: Chris Mansfield, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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