Saturday 23 March 2019

Credit Suisse scales back expansion plans for Ireland

Tm O’Hara, CEO of Global Markets, Credit Suisse, at the official opening of the trading floor in Dublin. Photo: Conor McCabe
Tm O’Hara, CEO of Global Markets, Credit Suisse, at the official opening of the trading floor in Dublin. Photo: Conor McCabe

Gretchen Friemann

Credit Suisse has scaled back its expansion plans in Ireland as the bank focuses more of its resources on its chief Brexit locations of Madrid and Frankfurt.

Having suffered a string of high-level departures from its Irish arm recently the bank has been without a local country head in Dublin for six months.

However, the Irish Independent understands it has now signed up a replacement to Manish Vekaria, who served as CEO of the investment bank’s Dublin branch and acted as the Irish head of its European prime services division.

Mr Vekaria quit his post in December last year, leaving Jeff Jennings, the London-based head of European prime services, to shoulder the additional responsibilities. Sources say Credit Suisse will unveil the new hire within the next few weeks.

The bank also lost its chief operating officer in Dublin, along with a handful of other top-tier executives. The departures come in the wake of Credit Suisse's curtailed expansion strategy for Ireland, which included considering both the establishment of a subsidiary unit, and the application for a full banking licence.

Sources familiar with the lender's local operations said management had envisaged beefing up staff numbers to over 300 and intended to put more business lines into Dublin, including some fixed income and fintech operations - which may have attracted R&D grants from the Government.

It is understood Credit Suisse ultimately rejected the proposals partly due to the greater regulatory burden such a move would entail. Others argue the plans also fell victim to a 2016 restructuring effort, from CEO Tidjane Thiam, intended to return the bank to profitability.

Credit Suisse is now unlikely to radically upscale its operations here. The bank also intends to shift the bulk of its Brexit-related jobs to Germany and Spain.

Mr Jennings said Credit Suisse's plan for "our Irish hub remains unchanged, and we remain committed to our presence here." He said the bank is recruiting "permanent Dublin-based candidates for the country head and chief operating officer roles" and continues to investigate a multi-location solution in the event of a hard Brexit.

Irish Independent

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