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Even Credit Suisse's best people are only on secondment to UBS

Credit Suisse bankers' time at UBS could be easily erased

As we reported yesterday, UBS doesn't seem all that interested in the finest people from Credit Suisse's equity sales team. Even when it is interested, though, its enthusiasm seems pretty tentative. 

As we predicted, James MacDonald, a Credit Suisse London MD and former executive director at JPMorgan for 10 years, is among those moving to UBS. Like many others, though, MacDonald isn't actually being employed by UBS: he's simply on secondment from Credit Suisse. 

Does this matter? UBS isn't commenting but other Credit Suisse people familiar with the arrangements say it's not a big deal. "This was just the easiest way to do it," says one. "It's a full transfer in all but name." A CS MD who's on secondment to UBS that there's nothing nefarious about the arrangement: "There are thousands of people to shift over globally, and the alternative was sitting at a dead office at Credit Suisse for weeks or months longer. If they want to get rid of people, they clearly can without seconding them."  

Seconded employees in the UK still have full employment rights. Even so, headhunters say the secondments have been a factor in dissuading some Credit Suisse people from moving to UBS, particularly given the lucrative severance payments on offer if they simply take redundancy from Credit Suisse instead.

"Credit Suisse is offering a year's salary for every four year's service as a severance payment in London," says one headhunter. "It's capped at £250k, but if you've been there for 13 years and were an MD you'll get the full amount."

Faced with the secondment arrangement (under which the severance isn't payable), he says a lot of Credit Suisse people are simply deciding to accept redundancy and take some time off. "Who knows, there might still be a risk around the secondments," he says. "Plus there's some uncertainty about the state of relations between UBS and Credit Suisse people and some people don't want to work in that environment."

Some of Credit Suisse's best equities salespeople aren't going to UBS. Tim Carswell is understood to have an offer from elsewhere. 

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Photo by Teo Zac on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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