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Credit Suisse Singapore bankers fear harsh cuts

As Credit Suisse presses ahead with its restructuring, it's said to be cutting between 10% and 15% of headcount in its investment banking and capital markets division in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

Sources say that the cuts are understood to be happening this week as Credit Suisse pulls the trigger on its plan to cut 2,700 jobs representing 5% of the bank’s workforce in the fourth quarter. This is part of a bigger plan to slash overall headcount by 9,000 by the end of 2025.

While it’s not apparent yet which specific roles are being cut, what’s clear is that the bank’s APAC operations are not being spared as Credit Suisse starts the painful process of carving out its investment banking and capital markets division into a new entity called CS First Boston, to be run by Michael Klein.

When CEO Ulrich Koerner announced the plan at Credit Suisee’s investor day on October 27, he said that CS First Boston would operate a capital markets and advisory business in the US and APAC, and focus more on advisory in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. But no region is safe from job cuts. “We’re hearing 10% to 15% of headcount cuts in Apac starting this week,” said one headhunter. 

The cuts could hit Singapore and South-East Asia harder than Hong Kong and onshore China. Credit Suisse's Singapore-based Asia Pacific chief executive Edwin Low said last month that Credit Suisse is evaluating its presence in 13 locations in Asia Pacific with an aim to "simplify" operations in each location.

"If I look at Asia Pacific headcount in the next five years, China and Hong Kong will be the biggest growth market for us," Low told Reuters. "It's very clear that the market is bigger in China than it is in Southeast Asia, Australia or India."

The bank trimmed headcount in Hong Kong earlier this year as a result of a slump in deal-making activity. It also revamped the leadership of its Apac IBCM business in June, when it appointed Singapore-based Kuan-Ern Tan and Joe Lai, who is based in Hong Kong, as co-heads. Around the same time, the bank appointed Low as CEO for APAC. Under the new plan, the bank has appointed Hong Kong-based Ken Pang as co-head of markets - Pang was most recently co-Head of Global Trading Solutions and Co-Head of the Investment Bank for APAC.

A spokesperson for Credit Suisse declined to comment on specific details of any job cuts but said: “Asia Pacific represents exciting opportunities and remains a key pillar of growth for the bank globally. We have a leading Wealth Management business with one of the most successful localized franchises in the region. We remain fully committed to the region with a differentiated value proposition. The decisive actions announced to transform the bank will strengthen our franchise in the region with a laser focus on serving our clients.”


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Photo by Stephanie Yeh on Unsplash

AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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