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Morning Coffee: UBS bankers fear “rancid” Credit Suisse bankers will spoil things. Male banker accused of intimidating female colleagues fights back

If anyone has any doubts about UBS bankers enthusiasm for their fun new Credit Suisse colleagues, an article in yesterday’s Financial Times should help set them right. UBS bankers are not partial to their new adjuncts, and they are not holding back in expressing this.

Credit Suisse is “rancid” place, one senior US banker explains to the FT, deferring to give his name. It’s full of people ‘sharp elbows,’ says another, and they are particularly pointy in the investment bank. At Credit Suisse people have long been in it for themselves and encouraged to take advantage of the bank’s balance sheet in order to maximize their own bonuses, say its UBS decriers. It’s a flashy place, full of people who don’t necessarily like each other.

It's not like this at UBS. There, insiders say it’s “friendly, collegial, team-oriented.” People there have genuine bonds with each other. They keep their heads down.

In an illustration of the outré behaviours at Credit Suisse, the FT says some of Credit Suisse’s bankers were in a corporate box at the John Mayer concert in Madison Square Garden in New York when the news of the UBS rescue broke on Sunday. In a public display of non-penitence, they all began high-fiving each other.

A similar, although less vigorous lack of penitence is in evidence in Tidjane Thiam’s spiel (also in the FT) yesterday. There, the former Credit Suisse CEO often held partly culpable for Credit Suisse’s demise through his blind emphasis on hiring relationship managers in Asia, dumping of senior talent in the prime broking division which subsequently became embroiled in the Archegos scandal, and promotion of Lara Warner, a former equity researcher as chief risk officer, laments Credit Suisse's fate.- And says it was nothing to do with him. 

Despite presiding over a decline in Credit Suisse’s share price from around CHF19 to around CHF10, Thiam remains convinced that he did nothing wrong and that he was instead Credit Suisse’s partial redeemer. “When I stepped down as the chief executive of Credit Suisse, it had just posted its highest profits for 10 years after a deep restructuring,” Thiam wrote in the FT yesterday. He then pointed out all the capital he raised, his emphasis on the bank’s risk systems, his focus on behaviour and his addition of many, many compliance staff. Thiam, it seems, did everything right. It was his successors who flatulated upon his legacy.  

Thiam's self-absolvement has caused some incredulity among his former colleagues. "I am speechless," wrote former Credit Suisse banks analyst Rhupak Ghose on Twitter. Someone else called Bong Capital credited Thiam, saying "I have never before seen a CEO take responsibility as he does here." However, this appears to have been ironic.

Separately, men everywhere who feel maligned by women can get behind Robert Record, a former Barclays wealth manager dismissed in 2020 after 14 years for gross misconduct. 

Record's misconduct followed "disciplinary findings" accusing him of "unwelcome physical contact with a female colleague, sexual harassment of another colleague and language and behaviour which reasonably could be taken to be a racial slur." The accusations ranged from excluding a female colleague from a scavenger hunt, staring at breasts, inappropriate touching, and generally behaving in an "intimidating way."   

Record says this is all wrong and is suing Barclays for $720k. He says his female colleagues made it all up because they wanted to get rid of him. All will become clear.


Credit Suisse hired Kwong Kin Mun, the former wealth management head at Deutsche Bank as its new vice chairman for SE Asia. (Bloomberg) 

PJT Partners hired Elisa Bianco, a managing director who lead Credit Suisse's coverage of luxury and consumer health companies in Europe. (Financial News)

Mark Taylor, Credit Suisse's head of European compliance, is leaving. (Financial News) 

Credit Suisse executives spent $2.4m on Credit Suisse shares in the final few months of 2022. Chairman Axel Lehmann accounted for half of that. (Bloomberg) 

JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citi, and Bank of America told employees not to make the situation worse at American regional banks. "We do not make disparaging comments regarding competitors," said JPMorgan. "We should refrain from soliciting client business from an institution in stress." (Reuters) 

Macro hedge funds have been having a hard time. Some were down 20% last month. (WSJ) 

Coinbase shares fell 13% after the SEC warned it was considering potential enforcement action. (FT) 

When trading crosses into immorality. - London power traders are gaming a "balancing mechanism" which allows them to turn off supply from large power plants during cold spells and force the sale of energy at higher prices. (Bloomberg) 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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