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BNP Paribas moves on Credit Suisse prime broking staff

Now that Credit Suisse is unofficially giving away its prime broking business to BNP Paribas, for what appears to be no money at all, it stands to reason that BNP Paribas might want to recruit some of Credit Suisse's talent.

BNP needs to act fast: some people are already leaving. 

Credit Suisse insiders estimate that the Swiss bank's prime broking business employs around 400 people, of whom around 150 are in Europe, including Dublin. Many of the others are based in New York, where the Archegos errors appear to have originated. 

Credit Suisse ejected John Dabbs and Ryan Nelson, the U.S.-based heads of its prime brokerage business, in April. Dabbs officially left in May according to his FINRA profile; Nelson officially left in August. Neither has resurfaced. It probably doesn't help that a subsequent independent report accused the leadership of the unit of incompetence. Parshu Shah, the New York-based ex-prime brokerage salesman who was head of risk in the prime brokerage business at the time of the Archegos loss, also slipped out quietly in August. 

Not everyone in the business was implicated in the Archegos affair, however. As the independent report noted, the unit was understaffed and even when issues were raised, senior management didn't act upon them. The issue came from the top - not the middle or the bottom.

This means that some of those 400 people in the CS prime broking unit might be of interest to BNP Paribas, which is already in the process of ingesting all its new hires from Deutsche Bank. We understand that Ashley Wilson, the global head of prime services at BNP, plans to visit New York soon to familiarize himself with the CS business. 

If Wilson wants to hire, he will need to act quickly. Credit Suisse insiders say comparatively few people have left the prime broking division so far, but their efforts to move are likely to increase now that CS has definitively confirmed its lack of interest in the business. Other banks are interested: in the UK, Vincent Vandenbroucke, a director in prime consulting at CS for seven years, has just joined Citi. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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