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Credit Suisse's Swiss bankers think Oswald might save them

When Credit Suisse and UBS complete their merger in around four years time, over 30,000 of their combined employees will have disappeared, 11,000 of them in Switzerland. Faced with this fate, Credit Suisse's Swiss insiders are hoping that a familiar figure will rescue them.

The fervent rumour in Zurich is that Oswald Grübel, the veteran German banker who was once CEO of UBS (2009-2011) and who spent nearly three decades at Credit Suisse, where he was at one point co-chief executive, has a plan. Grübel's plan, which may be entirely spurious but which is being discussed by hopeful Credit Suisse MDs, is thought to involve Christoph Blocher, a Swiss billionaire and member of parliament. 

"There are rumours that they're putting together a bid to buy Credit Suisse's Swiss business from UBS," says one Credit Suisse insider, referring to Grübel and Blocher. "Credit Suisse's Swiss universal bank could be sold for a lot more than UBS paid for it."

After UBS acquired Credit Suisse, Grübel, who is in his 70s, but is a known workaholic with a passion for Aston Martins, told the FT, it was "shocking to lose a 167-year-old bank in 72 hours.” In late December, Grübel declared that Credit Suisse was on safe ground after buying shares in the bank in October. 

Blocher, meanwhile, has made his opposition to the UBS/Credit Suisse merger clear, stating that it would be "a bad thing for the Swiss workplace, especially for bank customers."

Credit Suisse insiders say the merger with UBS was the worst possible outcome for Swiss staff. "Julius Baer would have been our preferred partner," says one. "Credit Suisse could have brought their institutional and corporate clients to Julius Baer, plus a much more sophisticated markets business. It would have been a far more complementary merger."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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